Monday, November 15, 2010

Problems using VMware vCenter Server 4.0 with bundled Converter to P2V (virtualize) servers

I’ve been meaning to write a post about an issue we experienced in a project for a client earlier in the summer but kept forgetting or was too busy so now that I have a bit of time, I figured I’ll quickly write it.

During a datacenter project in the summer for a client, one of their consultants emailed us about having problems when virtualizing servers with the vSphere 4.0 Update 1 that we built. While they were experiencing some other network connectivity issues, it seemed clear that VMware vCenter 4.0 Update 1's bundled Converter would consistently fail with a generic 'network failure' message in the logs. The server the consultant was trying to virtualize was a Windows 2003 Server and as per the release notes he found, there weren’t supposed to be any constraints. What ended happening was that after further digging, he was able to find some more details in the release notes that there was a known issue with Distributed Switches and the Nexus 1000v (which they were using) for P2V-ing servers.

With that information and knowing that vSphere 4.1 was recently made available, I ended up posting a message on the VMware community forums to see if anyone has had this issue. The post can be found here:

http://communities.vmware.com/message/1604773#1604773

Graham Daly posted the following reply:

Hi Terran0925,

According to the "Known Issues" section on the release notes for "VMware vCenter Converter for vCenter Server 4.0 Update 1 19 November 2009 Build 206170" at http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere4/doc/vsp_vcc_41u1_rel_notes.html#resolvedissues , the issue was still present.

There is no mention of the issue on the release notes for VMware vCenter Converter for vCenter Server 4.1. The release notes can be viewed at http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere4/doc/vsp_vcc_42_rel_notes.html

The details for this build are;

VMware vCenter Converter 4.2 13 Jul 2010 Build 254483

vCenter Server 4.1 13 Jul 2010 Build 258902

As we did not have any clients with vSphere 4.1, I filed this information away and kept it in mind for future deployments. Fast forward to November 2010 and here I am in another datacenter virtualization project deploying vSphere 4.1. Seeing how I still couldn’t find any documentation on whether this issue was addressed or not, I went ahead and created port groups on regular vSwitches and told the client we’ll migrate all the servers over to a Nexus 1000v after we’re done the P2V-ing.

During the deployment of the Nexus 1000v for this project, we experienced an issued with an orphaned DVS and ended up contacting support for assistance and since we had the engineer on the line, I figured I’d ask him about the known issue with P2V and Distributed Switches/Nexus 1000v issue and what I was told off the top of his head was that it should work but he’ll do some more research internally to confirm. The response I got shortly was the following:

The PR I have is xxxxxx… this looks like it is fixed in vCenter 4.1 (Which contains Converter 4.2). There have been no updates on that PR since May, so customers do not appear to be calling in and telling us it’s broken still. Let me reach out to Cisco for more info from his side.

I’m still waiting for a firm answer so I’ll update this post when I get more information.

As a side note, the VMware engineer was Chris K. and definitely great to work with. The experience we had while troubleshooting the Nexus 1000v and another issue was nothing short of exceptional.

Update – December 1, 2010

A Cisco engineer in Australia emailed us about his test result in the lab and it appears it has been fixed. The following is the information he provided for his lab environment:

ESX/ESXi 4.1
vCenter 4.1
VMware converter 4.2
Nexus 1000v 4.0.4SV1(3b)

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