A VMware mistake may shutdown thousands of virtual infrastructures

Posted by virtualization.info Staff   |   Tuesday, August 12th, 2008   |  

This morning the VMware’s customers that upgraded their virtual data centers with the new Infrastructure 3.5 Update 2 (build 103908) had an awful surprise: any virtual machine that is turned off cannot be powered on again, and any attempt to execute a VMotion (the live migration of a VM from one host to another) fails.

The reason behind this huge and unprecedented issue is an error in the license expiration time.

The only way to workaround the problem at the moment is to disable the Network Time Protocol (NTP) client and set the date back to August 10, as promptly suggested by a customer here.

Of course this countermeasure has an impact on the log consistency and on any tool that analyzes the VirtualCenter events for different purposes (performance monitoring, trend analysis, capacity planning calculation, etc.).

More than that obviously, this issue has an impact on the availability of those infrastructures where the IT administrators are in vacation (and there are many on August 12) and cannot operate any recovery.

The users from all around the world are reporting failures of part of their systems and in some case even the complete knock-down.

VMware has over 200,000 enterprise customers (100% of Fortune 100 and 95% of Fortune 500), and it claimed that 59% of them use VMotion in production.
The company didn’t provide any statistics about how many already deployed the Update 2, but the license fault could have impacted thousands of them.

VMware is aware of the issue but couldn’t provide any immediate solution.
At the moment it seems that the entire VMware Knowledge Base collapsed.
Calling the support line customers can just receive a brief message saying that the problem will be solved within 36 hours.
Additionally, VMware removed the capability to download any affected product.

The existence of such issue is more than enough to undermine the credibility of the company (which already made some mistakes in the past) in a complex moment of its successful history.
A 36 hours timeframe to provide a solution is just an unacceptable answer for all those enterprises that deploy virtualization in production.

The whole thing may severely damage the stock performance of today.


Update: The license of VMware ESXi 3.5 U2 (build 103909) is reported as affected by the same problem.

Second update: To further aggravate the situation, today is the so called Microsoft Patch Tuesday, so a number of guest operating systems are being automatically (or manually for those unaware of the issue) rebooted.

As this is not enough, any customer running a VDI environment certainly allows its end-users to reboot their virtual desktops any time they want.

Third update: as the VMware Knowledge Base is still unavailable probably due to overload, virtualization.info publishes the original KB article about this issue.

VMwareKB

Fourth update: The issue also impacts ESX 3.5 Update 1 with certain patches. 
The full details are available in the comment section of this post, thanks to the effort of a virtualization.info reader.

Suddenly the problem is no more a matter of early adoption.


Fifth update:
As promptly reported in the comments section, the VMware’s new CEO, Paul Maritz, published on the official blog an apology, informing that a patch has been released:

…I am sure you’re wondering how this could happen.  We failed in two areas:

  • Not disabling the code in the final release of Update 2
  • Not catching it in our quality assurance process 

We are doing everything in our power to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  VMware prides itself on the quality and reliability of our products, and this incident has prompted a thorough self-examination of how we create and deliver products to our customers.  We have kicked off a comprehensive, in-depth review of our QA and release processes, and will quickly make the needed changes…

Maritz couldn’t desire a worst start for its new role in the company. Nonetheless this is a great opportunity: the co-founder and former VMware CEO, Diane Greene, was often accused of being unable to grow her company as a big enterprise, capable of competing against Microsoft.

Handling this incident Maritz has the first chance to demonstrate that he’s the right person to do better than Greene.

Sixth update: VMware is still unable to republish the ESX 3.5 and ESXi 3.5 Update 2 images for fresh installations.
Their availability is expected by August 13, 2008 at 6pm PST.

Seventh update: VMware just informed its customers that it cannot deliver a new, patched image of the product for the planned deadline.

The images are now planned for release August 14, between 2am and 8am PDT.

Eighth update: A number of enterprise customers may be unable to apply the first patch released (see Fifth update above) for a number of reasons:

  • Unable to schedule a maintenance window
  • Internal change control procedures
  • No available server to VMotion running VM’s onto

VMware is aware of these constrain and informed its customers that is developing a second procedure, called U2 Alternative Install Process (U2 AIP), to apply the patch, available on demand calling the Support.
At the moment (August 15, 2008) there is no release date for this new patch installation procedure.

Meanwhile the full patched images are finally available online and all the download links have been reactivated.
The new build numbers are:

  • ESX 3.5 Update 2 – 110268
  • ESXi 3.5 Installable Update 2 – 110271


blog comments powered by Disqus


virtualization.info Newest articles
Paper: VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Encryption Performance

November 22nd, 2016

Encryption of virtual machines is something that has been requested for years by the security community. VMware continued to postpone its implementation due to the negative operational impact that many…

Quest Software leaves Dell

November 1st, 2016

In September 2012 Dell announced to have completed the acquisition of Quest Software, a Californian company with an history in systems management, security, business intelligence and, falling back in our…

Citrix announces Q3 2016 results

October 21st, 2016

Citrix announced its financial results for third quarter 2016.
The revenues for the second quarter were $841 million for an increase of 3% compared to Q3 2015.
Net income was $132…

Release: VMware vSphere 6.5 & Virtual SAN 6.5

October 19th, 2016

2016 edition of VMworld US has been quite turbulent, on the other hand during VMworld Europe, happening these days in Barcelona, the company announced a few more products for the…

Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.0

October 18th, 2016

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analisys tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and now is usually compared with Splunk.
Yesterday VMware announced Log Insight’s new major…

Release: Windows Server 2016 with support for Window Server & Hyper-V containers

October 13th, 2016

Yesterday Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Server 2016 which the company defines as a cloud-ready OS.
Beside fancy definitions, one of the most relevant perks of this release…

Release: Oracle VM 3.4.2

September 22nd, 2016

During Oracle OpenWorld 2016 the company released version 3.4.2 of its enterprise virtualization solution.
Oracle VM is available for both x86 and SPARC based processor architectures and uses the Xen hypervisor…

VMworld US 2016 Wrap-up

September 1st, 2016

Today was the last day of VMware’s flagship conference VMworld in Las Vegas, an highly controversial edition which left a good chunk of the audience disoriented if not properly disappointed….

Gartner releases its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for 2016

August 11th, 2016

Last week Gartner updated its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for the year 2016. The Magic Quadrant for the year 2015 was released in May last year…

Release: Ansible Tower 3 by Red Hat

August 2nd, 2016

Ansible is one of the four main players in the automation market, younger then the well known Chef and Puppet, has been launched in 2013 in Durham, N.C. and acquired…

IBM announces earnings for Q2 2016

July 19th, 2016

Yesterday IBM announced its results for Q2 2016.

If we compare with the same quarter in 2015 earnings per share, from continuing operations, decreased 22%. Net income, from continuing operations,…

Red Hat announces earnings for Q1 2017

June 24th, 2016

Red Hat announced its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.
Total revenue for the first quarter was $568 million, with an increase of 18% from the…

Release: Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 4.0 Beta

June 24th, 2016

Today Red Hat released in beta version 4.0 of its KVM-based virtualization platform Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV).
As a major release RHEV 4.0 ships a wide series of enhancements including:

Red Hat…

WhatMatrix community keeps growing

June 21st, 2016

virtualization.info has been following WhatMatrix since its inception and, after 6 months since the website has been launched, we are happy to report that its community is growing and contributing…

 
Monthly Archive