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gunnarwb
Contributor
Contributor

VM Unresponsive - Exchange 2007

I'm running a single Exchange 2007 server with all roles on the single server in a production environment (hold laughter we are moving to CCR soon enough). We've been experiencing an issue for a few months where in the morning the Exchange server is completely unresponsive, Outlook starts moving slowly (loss of connection to Exchange server) but then it comes back. This goes on throughout the morning, but for the most part Outlook works. What doesn't work is we can't log into the server from the Service Console, RDP, VNC, and RPC commands don't work, however Exchange is up and running and I'm receving email right now.

I've looked at "top" and "esxtop" and don't see any processes taking any RAM/CPU it's very quiet as far as that's concerned. What we have noticed is that if we disable Maintenance tasks within Exchange this problem goes away. Microsoft of course says to replicate the issue on a Physical box so they are no help. I don't understand why Maintenance tasks would stop RPC/VNC/RDP from working so I really don't like pointing the finger at Microsoft anyway. It seems more likely that I have some NIC issue with VMWare (but then again Outlook is working).

Has anyone seen this issue or have any suggestions about how to go about troubleshooting?

Gunnar

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mvarre
Contributor
Contributor

What kind of disks do you have yoru single esx server hooked up to? Sounds like an IO problem.

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gunnarwb
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There is minor IO on the LUN. every once in a while there is a spike but overall it's very consistantly flat. The issue continues to occur during low IO and (moderately) high IO - although I wouldnt' say our "high IO" isn'y really that high. It's attached to a iSCSI SAN.

Gunnar

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VMmatty
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I agree it sounds like an I/O problem. What does the I/O stats look like from esxtop when this is going on?

One other point. What operating system are you running on that server? Microsoft certifies and fully supports their applications running in a virtual machine even on 3rd party hypervisors. Provided you meet the requirements, they should fully support you and not pull the "reproduce it on a physical machine" excuse. Go here and put in your requirements and see if you meet the criteria for Microsoft support:

http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/svvp.aspx?svvppage=svvpwizard.htm

Right now Windows 2008 is the only support OS for running Exchange 2007 on a VM regardless of the hypervisor. If you meet that criteria there is no reason why they shouldn't support you.

Matt | http://www.thelowercasew.com | @mattliebowitz
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gunnarwb
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It's 2008 Server so it should be supported. I'll have to call them and give them hell. I think I found something and it may be OS related, Event ID 1031. I enabled higher logging and should have more info on Monday. Thanks!

Gunnar

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VMmatty
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

If you're running Server 2008, don't let them tell you that you need to reproduce it in a physical environment. Make sure you point out their own support policies for virtualized Exchange and that your configuration is covered in the SVVP.

This is another link to have handy when you speak with them:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc794548.aspx

Matt | http://www.thelowercasew.com | @mattliebowitz
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gunnarwb
Contributor
Contributor

I found an issue with higher logging enabled in Exchange. The problem seemed to be related to a permissions issue with OAB. However, after completely rebuilding the OAB and thinking this issue had gone away. Today when I came in my Exchange server was locked again. It still works for email and such but I can't access it. Normally it only takes 4 hours for it to come back , however today it's been 6 hours and it still hasn't come back. So it's getting worse not better. I may need to bring in MS as I really don't think this is a VM issue anymore.

Thanks for the suggestions though.

Gunnar

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gunnarwb
Contributor
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This issue has nothing to do with VMWare that I can tell. My Exchange Server is not communicating with my Domain Controller, I highly doubt VMWare is to blame so I'm closing this. Thank you for your responces.

Gunnar

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gunnarwb
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Just in case someone is googling and finding this thread I'll give the answer to the problem. What ended up being the case was that Windows 2008 servers all had issues autheniticating to the DC (also 2008). The firewall was enabled on the DC and I had to open up a series of ports in order for it to not have issues communicating back and forth. This article helped me figure out which ports needed to be opened, I didn't follow the article to the 'T' because it pertains to 2003 but it was enough to get me going.

I found errors when running DCDIAG on any of my 2008 servers "RPC server unavailable" but would not get the same error running DCDIAG on 2003 servers. I don't know what 2008 does differently but opening up these ports on my DCs fixed the issues.

As I said it's not VMWare related (good job microsoft in not helping me!) but figured I'd post my answer just in case someones runs across it.

Gunnar

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