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lingering .sphere-ha heartbeat files in datastore but no cluster / HA anymore

Posted on 2014-04-12
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Last Modified: 2014-04-19
I inherited an environment where the Previous Owner had started a migration from VMware esx5.1 to HyperV 2012. Once upon a time there were 3 esx 5.1 hosts managed with a vsphere server for high availability and vmotion. Now only one of those hosts remain, and the vsphere management server is long gone.

I want to delete a volume assigned to this esx host, but I found these lingering HA folders (I believe they are the heartbeat servers). I've attached a pic.

Normally Id probably just leave the volume out of an abundance of caution until I was all through with the esx host, but to complete the migration it would be MUCH easier if I could reclaim that volume space.

What I don't know is 1) Can I move these files in some way 2) Can I delete these files without further risk to the 2 VM guests and the host that remain, given that HA / clustering isn't working anyway 3) how is the best way to go about doing any of that.
vm-03-vspherejunk.jpg
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Question by:Eric_Price
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Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39996469
If you have no vCenter Server, and VMware vSphere HA Cluster no longer exists, you can safely remove the datastores, as these files will no longer be required.

However, if you have any ESXi servers left, they may still have the HA Agent (FDM Agent) installed, and could still have a lock on these files!

1) Can I move these files in some way

Yes, Cut and Paste from Datastore browser from vSphere Client.

2) Can I delete these files without further risk to the 2 VM guests and the host that remain, given that HA / clustering isn't working anyway

Yes, certainly, see my notes above about the HA Agent.

3) how is the best way to go about doing any of that.

Select the files and folders and delete using vSphere Client.

Let me know, if you get a locked or read only?
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Author Comment

by:Eric_Price
ID: 39996491
So yes, when I go to download them to client I get an error (seriously, nothing more than that)

Also, when I attempt to just delete them I get

Error caused by file

/vmfs/volumes/4f428e27-32bb4ed1-7df9-d4856475b436/.vSphere-HA/FDM-6898blahblahblah-vcsvr-01
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Author Comment

by:Eric_Price
ID: 39996505
Removing the server that was on that volume from inventory eliminated SOME of the files there, but I still cant delete. Now the error is

Error caused by file

/vmfs/volumes/4f428blahblahblahblah/.vSphere-HA
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Assisted Solution

by:Eric_Price
Eric_Price earned 0 total points
ID: 39996566
From  your FDM comment and my own issues trying to delete I found this

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2013249

which tells how to stop the FDM service. Which I did.

Then I could delete the files, and subsequently unmount and delete the volume.

I'll leave this here for anyone else who wants to chime in on anything I should have done differently, but otherwise Ill close it tomorrow and award points.
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LVL 124

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39996685
Yes, if the Agent is still running, it will lock the file!

It depends on HOW, your previous Admin person, uninstalled, or clearly did not uininstall VMware HA before they started to remove ESXi and vCenter Server.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Eric_Price
ID: 40010164
Has a link to the document that explicitly covers how to turn off FDM service
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