Ok, I admit that my hw setup is a non supported one
(laptop with ahcpi SATA ICH7M Controller, 2x 100GB SATA local datastore, 4GB RAM, Intel Dualcore T7600 @ 2.33GHz.
But in case someone from dev might look inside the code I have recorded the offending stack trace.
This kernel panic can be reproduced every time I choose to shutdown via the VIC console.
If I go to the command line and enter halt, the system to a partial shutdown without kernel panic and ending with the line
requesting system halt. nothing more.
frame=0x3a2bdb4 ip=0x62b060 cr2=0x0 cr3=0xb66d9000 cr4=0x16c
es=0xffffffff ds=0xffffffff fs=0xffffffff gs=0xffffffff
eax=0xffffffff ebx=0xffffffff ecx=0xffffffff edx=0xffffffff
ebp=0x3a2bf10 esi=0xffffffff edi=0xffffffff err=-1 eflags=0xffffffff
0x3a2bf10:[0x62b060]Panic+0x17 stack: 0x82c239, 0x3a2bf2c, 0x3a2bf34
0x3a2bf20:[0x62b060]Panic+0x17 stack: 0x82c239, 0x8682dc, 0x26c
0x3a2bf34:[0x7eaf7e]Hardware_PowerOff+0x31 stack: 0xa, 0x83105e, 0x62818c
0x3a2bf5c:[0x6282c1]Init_VMKernelShutdown+0x128 stack: 0x4, 0x1, 0x0
0x3a2bf70:[0x628b39]Init_VMKernelShutdownHelper+0x30 stack: 0x4, 0xb434a, 0x0
0x3a2bfac:[0x657e83]helpFunc+0x2d2 stack: 0x1, 0x14a0088, 0x0
0x3a2bffc:[0x74e42a]CpuShed_StartWorld+0x109 stack: 0x0, 0x0, 0x0
0x3a2c000:[0x0]uhci_interrupt_info+0xfd71190f stack: 0x0, 0x0, 0x0
VMK uptime: 0:10:01:47.032 TSC: 84039065259324
0:10:01:45.537 cpu1:74427)UserLinux: 906: Powering down the system
0:10:01:47.030 cpu0:1034)VMKAcpi: 1800: Failed to prepare for power off
Starting coredump to disk using slot 1 of 1... Disk dump FAILED.
Waiting for debugger... (world 1034)
Debugger is listening on serial port ...
Press Escape to enter local debugger
Remote debugger activated. Local debugger no longer available
That panic indicates that the ACPI method for putting the system into the S5 sleep state failed. More specifically it failed while executing the _PTS (prepare to sleep) method. Probably the box is unhappy with something we are trying to do to enable wake-on-lan but I couldn't say exactly what. I'm afraid this does fall into the "unsupported platform" category.