I have a strange issue with VMs having Windows 2003 Standard Edition, 32 Bit (not R2) as guest OS. They won't install from an ISO file and won't start after upgrading from ESXi 5.1 to ESXi 5.5 (free hypervisor). The console Screen stays black or when installing a new VM the install process stays at "Setup is checking the hardware configuration...". The virtual hardware version is vmx09. All other VMs with Linux, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional and Windows 8 didn't have the same issue. And for more confusion this issue is only happening on one hardware platfom of my two ESXi Hosts running ESXi 5.5.
On this ESXi platform everything works fine:
CPU: 2x AMD Opteron 2378, QuadCore, 2,4 GHz
Board: Supermicro H8DM3-2
RAM: 16 GB
RAID-Controller: Adaptec 5805 Hardware-SATA-RAID-Controller with 8 SATA-Ports and BBU
NIC: 2x Intel Pro/1000 MT (PCI-X), 2x Nvidia MCP55pro (onboard)
On this platform the issue is happening:
CPU: 2x Intel Xeon E5420, QuadCore, 2,5 GHz
Board: Intel S5000VSA
RAM: 16 GB
RAID-Controller: 3ware 9650SE hardware SATA-RAID-Controller with 8 SATA ports and BBU
NIC: 2x Intel Pro/1000 MT (PCI-X), 1x Intel Pro/1000 PT (PCI-E), 2x Intel onboard
On the Intel based Server everything worked fine with ESXi 5.1. After a downgrade from 5.5 back to 5.1 everything worked fine again. I tried the following VMX file parameters which I got from http://www.vmware-forum.de:
monitor.virtual_mmu = "software"
monitor.virtual_exec = "software"
But these parameters didn't have success. I have attached the Log files of th two VMs that aren't working any more.
Hopefully you can help me.
after the second PSOD on my ESXi 5.5 Server environment yesterday and today and a lot of issues (the issue I described above was only one of them) I decided to go back to ESXi 5.1 which is stable, performant and uses less memory (in my case it uses 3 GB less memory comparing to ESXi 5.5).
Please do not use ESXi 5.5 in a production environment! There are too many issues, which have to be fixed by VMware first!
Here is a list of the issues I found out:
I hope I can prevent you from spending a lot of time with testing before going back to ESXi 5.1.
Its a bit early advising people to stay away from 5.5.
I have been running it for a few months and have not seen any of the problems you are mentioning and I have a number of customers that have updated to 5.5 without any issues at all.
So, some initial questions for you:
Have you worked with VMware support to report and resolve the issues?
Have you checked that your hardware are on the VMware HCL?
Yes, I checked my hardware platform against the HCL and there was no restriction.
And no, I didn't work together with the VMware support because I'm using the free hypervisor for my home environment. So I don't have a support agreement with VMware.
Looking around some websites and forums there are lot of people having issues with ESXi 5.5. And they often gone back to ESXi 5.1. After a few hours after downgrade to ESXi 5.1 I can say that the virtual machines have more system performance than they had on ESXi 5.5 on the same hardware.
I could not find the Intel S5000VSA or the 3ware 9650SE on the HCL for vSphere 5.5. (3ware 9650SE was supported with vSphere 5.1U1)
Are we looking at different HCL:s?
OK, you are right, these components are not in the HCL, but they are working. I only had a closed look for the AMD System, also not for the board, but for the chipset. A Windows XP VM (32 bit) is booting on the Intel system. And Windows XP and Server 2003 have the same code basis, right? And Linux based VMs are working too.
OT: I have hit HCL hard too. Seems to me support of *a lot of* hardware components has been dropped in 5.5. I have bought Intel server-board (S1200v3RPL) two months ago (just about 4 months on market). Quite new and supported in 5.1U1, but suddenly not supported in 5.5. The same with the whole xeon e3-1200 series cpu...
Honestly I do not understand what VMware is following by this. ESXi is very "choosy" when it comes to hardware, and what is worse, even new components goes suddenly "out of VMware favour". Why???
TheExpert I agree, there is no reason for that not to work and I am sure we can get it to work with the help of the community here.
My point was that you are advising fellow community members to stay away from vSphere 5.5 based on your experience with the software on unsupported hardware.