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ESXI 5.1 Diagnostic Tools

Posted on 2014-04-10
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Is there a non convoluted way of diagnosing ESXI hosts in order to determine what issues they could be having?  Or is it all shell based read only and not repair integrity options/upload your diagnostic info to VMware for analysis options?

One of our ESXI 5.1 hosts is having some sort of issue where the two server 2008 VMs are no longer booting as a result of getting stuck classpnp.sys file holding the boot process up (server 2008 boot disk repair utilities dont work).  But a Ubuntu VM is running fine...well it was for a few days, now it is not running anymore.  Finally when I select the host within VMware Vsphere and then navigate the the running VMs the entire Vsphere client locks up.

I have no idea what the hell is going on, so I would love to be able to run diagnostics on this host.  I guess I am relegated to the shell and copy and pasting long volume ID numbers, with many non intuitive switches.

thanks
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Question by:CnicNV
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by:Zephyr ICT
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You can connect to the esxi host using ssh and read/check the logs there, the location of the logs can be found here: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2032076

You should consider using a syslog server, it's more convenient for checking logs: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2003322

Maybe it's an issue with storage?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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So, lets rewind a bit here...

are the server hosts on the HCL ?
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by:CnicNV
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Its a Vostro 430 Core I5, running ESXI 5.1 so I am guessing no...

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

I have inherited this network.  However things were working with this setup since I have been here.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Unfortunately, running ESXi on any equipment which is not certified is NOT Supported, this is not to say it work, but support may be limited.

You must calculate the RISK to your business in running a commercial enterprise class hypervisor on a desktop computer, and all your servers for your business.

Whether it was running when you inherited it, will make it more difficult to fault find.

So, have any changes been made to the desktop computer?

what storage are you using? local or shared? what type SATA or SAS?

vSphere Client locking up could be a local client issues, have you tried from another computer?

do you use vCenter Server?

has you company, hired more staff?

do you backup VMs?

what software?

Are VMs running on a snapshot?

What is the Host CPU, Memory?

How much is allocated to VMs? e.g. vCPUs and Memory?
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by:CnicNV
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I am going to generate a proper response to your question above soon, but in the interim I have another question.  Is it possible to get ESXI 5.5 host to work with vsphere 5.1 or will i need to upgrade the vcenter server to 5.5 as well?

thanks
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Author Comment

by:CnicNV
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To answer your questions below (in bold) but also noting, these servers are just development servers and not production, everyone knows that and are mostly ok if they fail, they just get reset up from scratch.  But I would like to avoid that and understand the issue as much as reasonably possible.

So, have any changes been made to the desktop computer?

-not physically, but I did add the Ubuntu VM with 4 GB of RAM and two VCPU cores, the other 2 Windows 2008 servers have the same resources assigned.  The system is an i5 with 16 GB of RAM, So I have left more that 1GB for the ESXI host...these servers ran well together for about a week and a half without issue

what storage are you using? local or shared? what type SATA or SAS?
- It is local, one physical hard drive SATA based

vSphere Client locking up could be a local client issues, have you tried from another computer?
-Yeah, it will lock up when I remote into the vcenter server itself and open up vsphere client, as well as when I open up vsphere client on my laptop.  It's clearly the client freezing because when I close and re-open its fine again, until I repeat the process.

do you use vCenter Server?
-yes, it is running on a physical server and is not a VM

has you company, hired more staff?
-no more staffing load or hires

do you backup VMs?
-I am trying to implement this, but prior, this was done on and off

what software?
-Not really sure what they are running

Are VMs running on a snapshot?
-no

What is the Host CPU, Memory?
it is an i5 with 16 gb of memory

How much is allocated to VMs? e.g. vCPUs and Memory?
-3 vms, each with 2 vcpu core (not sockets) and 4 GB of RAM each

I am thinking that this is related to some windows update that was installed yesterday.  I am removing them with windows shell right now.  I was able to get the VM to start by putting the host into maintenance mode and then booting the VM brought up a windows splash screen saying installing updates.  I bet if I restart it now without first removing the updates, it will not come up again and get stuck on that classpnp.sys file.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 250 total points
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A few observations, I would not leave an ESXi host with 1GB free, and would want at least 2-3GB.

A single hard drive, SATA does not provide much in terms of performance, it's very low. Approx 40 IOPS.

The Windows Updates is hammering the disk datastore, and you have very little IOPS and performance!

Add more disks, SSDs and Host Memory.
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by:gheist
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3600 drive will provide 60 iops - enough for 2 concurrent VMs...
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CnicNV earned 0 total points
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Turns out that in this case, it was the Ubuntu 64 bit VM.  

Simply shutting it down got the other two VMs stabilized.  Also, I don't think it was over provisioning of RAM or hard drive as checking the real time performance on the host seemed to have compute to spare (well, with just under 2 GBs left for the host). I suppose it could have been over provisioning of CPU's, though again the performance wasn't all that high on those, like 40% or less, average.  It may have been related to the two very different filing systems those OS's us as virtual disks all residing on the same shared hard drive.  I don't know really.

I will in future keep linux vms on their own hosts, for legitimate or superstitious reasons.
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Author Closing Comment

by:CnicNV
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My solution was the one that solved this particular problem, for details, see my closing comment.
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