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  • Dell PowerEdge T610
  • 2 x Intel Xeon quad-core
  • 16gb RAM

Buckle in and prepare for a long ride, this is not so much a specific question as a shameless attempt to get a free ninja sysadmin instead of trying to hire one I hear a few of them hang around these parts :)

So I'm running VMWare ESXi 4.0 on a Dell PowerEdge. I have:

  • 6 instances of Windows Server 2008,
  • 1 Instance of Windows Server 2003, 1
  • 1 instance of Ubuntu 10, and 1
  • 1 instance of Windows XP.

Randomly, typically a few weeks apart, all vm's will just suddenly cease to respond. I can connect using the VSphere Client but the console tab for each vm just remains a blank black screen. No response to ping on the network.

VMWare has nothing to say about any of it, the syslog appears normal no obvious errors of any kind. If I try and reboot or power cycle any VM using VSphere Client it gets to 95% in the notification area and then... nothing.

If I attach keyboard and mouse to the physical server there's an option F12 to restart but this does... yep you guessed it nothing at all. I have waited up to 20-30 minutes and nothing happens.

I need someone from the school of knocks to take me by the hand and give me some pointers on how to troubleshoot and isolate this issue. I have a sneaking suspicion it might be something to do with the SCSI hard drive array, messages mentioning SCSI are often (but not always) the last thing in the syslog at the time this lock-up happens, although VMWare carries on logging all kinds of mundane fluff after these messages as if nothing's wrong.

I'm a busy dev and as much as I'd love to be a talented sysadmin, unfortunately I'm not so any help or words of advise for getting a handle on my vm issue would be much appreciated.

share|improve this question
Is this ECC Memory? Can you have it down for a bit to run a memtestx86 on the RAM? – Josiah Apr 8 '11 at 19:53

It's either dicky hardware, some sort of code corruption or a very odd bug.

My advice would be to immediately upgrade to 4.1U1, this will ensure the code's up to date and isn't corrupt in any way - if your actual VMs are on a different set of disks I'd wipe the OS disk too before this update.

Other than that it's going to be the usual trick of replacing parts until you gain stability - at least you have a suspicion of what part/s might be at fault.

Of course you can always call VMWare and/or Dell if you have support contracts.

share|improve this answer
OK thanks i'll look at upgrading first. – HollyStyles Apr 8 '11 at 14:47
It's the quickest/easiest way, plus it has the benefit of bringing you up to date too! – Chopper3 Apr 8 '11 at 14:51

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