Virtualization Pro

Aug 28 2008   3:45PM GMT

ESX 3.5 Update 2 and VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 1 configuration note

Rick Vanover Rick Vanover Profile: Rick Vanover

For those of us who determined we were smart by not being so quick to upgrade to upgrade to ESX 3.5 Update 2 after the product expiration debacle, I should point out an important note so that you do not make the same mistake that I did. Given that VMware corrected the issue with the initial release of Update 2 (build 103908), I determined it was a good time to look at the new version in a test and development capacity. Today, I stood up two ESX 3.5 Update 2 host systems in my development cluster that are managed by the same VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 1 server that manages all clusters.

The build of the 3.5 Update 2 system was painless and indistinguishable from that of the previous releases, and it added into VirtualCenter just fine. The issue was that while I could add the ESX 3.5 Update 2 hosts into VirtualCenter, they were not listed as a compatible solution in the release notes compatibility matrix.

What is missing from the release notes is that by not compatible, VMware actually means “will break your VirtualCenter”. While yes, it is “not compatible,” my expectation was that it would either not permit the system to be added or it would not deliver the incremental functionality. The issue occured when I tried to restart the VirtualCenter service. Due to some scheduled database maintenance, I had planned to stop the service and restart it. The restart of the VirtualCenter (vpxd) service would not succeed, and I found this log file entry:

[2008-08-26 23:25:15.325 'App' 1872 error] [VpxdMain] Failed to initialize: not well-formed (invalid token)

The newer version of ESX within the VirtualCenter environment causes this issue. So, the following options were presented to this situation:

-Upgrade to VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 2
-Restore the database to a point in time recovery of before the addition of the two newer hosts (and shutdown the newer hosts)

If you are contemplating the Update 2 products, hopefully this gentle reminder to start with VirtualCenter will save you some surprises.

4  Comments on this Post

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  • beb4vm
    I find this article interesting because of the fact that the author brought the problem on himself. VMware has ALWAYS stated that any implementation, upgrade, or install should always be staged with the Virtual Center version equal or higher than the host version. The FIRST thing the author should have done was upgrade Virtual Center to Update 2.
    10 pointsBadges:
  • Rick Vanover
    Beb4vm: VMware says a lot of things, but most importantly in this post is that release notes did not explicitly say such that VirtualCenter will break in this configuration - rather than simply "not compatible"
    20 pointsBadges:
  • Shokk
    Wow, sorry for your pain, but thank you for saving my skin. Was going to make that mistake as past of an upcoming change control, where we have VC 2.5 U1.
    15 pointsBadges:
  • Rick Vanover
    [B]Shokk[/B] - That is exactly where I was. Glad I saved you the 'emergency upgrade' Cheers.
    20 pointsBadges:

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