VMware 3.5 won’t start any VMs if the Licensing server is down

Published On: 2008-12-24By:

So tonight I finely got around to patching the fourth VMware ESX 3.0.2 server to 3.5 Update 3.

The other 3 servers went just fine, quick reboot when done and back up and running in no time.

So experience said that the fourth one would be no problem…

This was not the case.  Apparently in their infinite wisdom VMware has decided to make it so that ESX won’t restart any guest OSs if it can’t find the Licensing server.  Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, as your licensing server is normally on your Virtual Center server.  Well we are a small shop and VMware is used to run mostly dev servers so I have our Virtual Center Server as a VM on the first virtual server in our farm (these machines aren’t on a SAN to there’s no VMotion).  In the past when I’ve rebooted the host is has never been a problem.

This time not so much.  When I’d try to start the guest machines I was greated with an unknown error. Not exactly helpful.

Searching the net didn’t bring me anything useful, everyone was just bitching and complaining about the ESX 3.5 Update 2 bug where it expired all licenses on 8/12/2008.

So I did a little digging into the /var/log/vmware/hostd.log file and I saw something about it couldn’t find the license.  Well I happen to have the origional license from before we had Virtual Center so I told the ESX host to use that, and I was able to start the guest machines right up.

I guess a project for next week will be to put together a dedicated machine to use as a Virtual Center server.  That just sounds like fun doesn’t it?  Until then I’ll leave the VMware host with the local license file.


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