First, I haven’t been ignoring my duties to this blog by not posting articles, the time at my job has kept me away from posting regularly scheduled articles but it hasn’t stopped me from producing some great topics for future articles, this being one of these.
ESXi5.5 Purple Screen of Death = Oh My!
In our quest to migrating our environment to ESXi 5.5 and View 5.3 we had to do some maintenance on some of our file servers, the quick and dirty was to build massive TB VMDK’s for robocopy jobs as we migrated to newer File Servers. Part of this process included kicking off Veeam backups of these temporary File Servers. During the course of the reverse incremental job (multiple rounds of robocopy!) we encountered some PSOD’s (purple screen of death) on the temporary cluster where the file servers were located.
Seeing as this was my first experience with a PSOD, yes I know I’m so lucky! I proceeded to establish a SR, support request, with VMware and Veeam. Then I began retracing my steps, trying to understand if it was a misconfiguration, something I didn’t enter correctly, etc. The cause of the host failures surprised me, considering it is such a big selling feature of ESXi5.5. What we discovered is that when you have a VMDK that is larger than 1.9TB, snapshots are in the SESparse format. There can be a memory heap issue related to ESXi5.5 that can cause host failure. So when we kicked off our Veeam Backups, Veeam uses the VMware Snapshot model for backups, the snapshot files were in the SESparse format and after 45 minutes the hosts failed.
The resolution from VMware was to reduce all VMDK’s to below the 1.9TB threshold and to wait patiently for the release of a upcoming patch to ESXi5.5 coming in July. Which brings me to my final thoughts, I have flashbacks of Jerry Springer: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should
One of the big selling points for me about ESXi5.5 was the support for larger than 2TB VMDK’s think of the possibilities that this could bring an organization: Large File Servers, Exchange Datastores, SQL Databases, etc. But why? Why would you want to subject yourself, your company to the risk of placing all of your important files on one big drive, why not spread that risk out across multiple stores, servers, etc. It flies in the face of KISS, keep it simple stupid, that my friend Brad Christian constantly reminds me of!
So going forward, tread cautiously with each new feature a software comes out with, it may be great on paper, but does it really fit for your organization, your initiatives, your systems?