Wednesday, September 15, 2010

VM Shuts Off When Taking Snapshot

Here's a really cool one :-)

Have a client that just did a P2V - they took all of their 5 servers and did a P2V of them into a new vSphere implementation. Naturally, they also purchased vRanger so that they could get the best bang for their buck.

They had been continuing to backup using their good old Symantec method after the P2V project, and just now got around to the point of switching over to vRanger. They're a small shop, so they can take a while to move from Point A to Point B.

Well, vRanger ran for the first time last night, and kicked out the following errors on two VMs:

Message: An internal error occurred during execution, please contact Vizioncore support if the error persists.  Error Message: API Call failed with message: Error encountered while restarting virtual machine after taking snapshot.  The virtual machine will be powered off.

Took a quick glance, and remembered that these two boxes were the ones that were already running 2008r2 before the P2V. Because of this, we couldn't use the standard VMware Standalone Converter that we typically use for small shops - it doesn't support 2008r2. Instead we used Acronis to do the P2V using their True Image Echo software. 

Not my first choice, and not my decision either. I didn't even get to play on this project... One of my other techs kept saying "Can I do one? Can I do one? You get to have all the fun! Can I do it?" Obviously I got tired, and said sure; plus I wanted a weekend off to spend with the family. I found out after words what happened, but they were up and running and happy, so I didn't bother following up.

Think it's a coincidence? Not so, according to Quest's tech support - the second call my guys made to get the VMs back up (the first was to me: "HELP!" "I'm at a VMware View Presentation in front of 10 prospective companies. Call Quest or VMware; they have support on both." "Right!")

Apparently, when the Acronis P2V was done, it split up the vmdk files into 2GB chunks, rather than one big one. Not sure if this was an option they picked or if it was default - if the guy who did it was still working for us I would ask... He's gone for different performance reasons.

When the vmdk file is like this on vSphere, snapshotting doesn't work right, and kicks the box off line.

So the fix is to run vmkfstools to convert the multiple vmdk files down to one, then you're good to go. Alternatively, you can just Clone the VM to let it consolidate them for you, then remove the old one.

Ain't life fun!

Next time I'm going to verify the work done a little closer...

Dustin Shaw
Here's some books that should help out:
Maximum vSphere: Tips, How-Tos, and Best Practices for Working with VMware vSphere 4
VCP VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 4 Study Guide: Exam VCP-410
VMware vSphere 4 Implementation

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