VM may unexpectedly reboot when using HA with Virtual Machine Monitoring

As mentioned on Scott Lowe and Duncan Epping’s sites, an issue has been uncovered with VMware ESX 3.5 Update 3 in regards to Virtual Machines rebooting when using VMware HA with Virtual Machine Monitoring enabled.

To stay up to date on this VMware KB, please visit their website; VMware KB 1007899

Virtual Machines may unexpectedly reboot after a VMotion migration to an ESX 3.5 Update 3 Host OR after a Power On operation on an ESX 3.5 Update 3 Host, when VMware HA feature with Virtual Machine Monitoring is active.

A virtual machine may reboot itself when the following conditions exist:

  • Virtual Machine is running on ESX 3.5 Update 3 Host, either by virtue of VMotion or a Power On operation, and

  • Host has VMware HA enabled with “Virtual Machine Monitoring” option active.

Virtual Machine monitoring is dependent on VMware tools heartbeats to determine the state of the Virtual Machines.

With ESX Server 3.5 Update 3 after a VMotion or Power On operation, host agent running on the ESX server may delay sending the heartbeat state of the Virtual Machine to the Host. VMware HA detects this as a failure of the Virtual Machine and attempts to restart the Virtual Machine

To work around this problem:

Option 1: Disable Virtual Machine Monitoring
  1. Select the VMware HA cluster and choose Edit Settings from the right-click menu (note that this feature can also be enabled for a new cluster on the VMware HA page of the New Cluster wizard).
  2. In the Cluster Settings dialog box, select VMware HA in the left column.
  3. Un-Check the Enable virtual machine monitoring check box.
  4. Click OK.
Option 2: Set hostd hearbeat delay to 0
  1. Disconnect the host from VC (Right click on host in VI Client and select “Disconnect” )
  2. Login as root to the ESX Server with SSH.
  3. Using a text editor such as nano or vi, edit the file /etc/vmware/hostd/config.xml
  4. Set the “heartbeatDelayInSecs” tag under “vmsvc” to 0 seconds as shown here:
  5. Restart the management agents for this change to take effect.  See Restarting the Management agents on an ESX Server
  6. Reconnect the host in VC ( Right click on host in VI Client and select “Connect” )

Created on December 12, 2008 by Rick Scherer

Posted under ESX 3.5 Tips, ESXi 3.5 Tips, VMware.

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