Pushing Virtual Limits

Virtual Infrastructure Client – Black Screen of Death (With VIC 2.5)
April 30, 2008, 5:00 pm
Filed under: VM, vmware

I just wanted to post a quick update to the earlier problem I discussed and that I am still working on. Based on some VMware forums posts I had hoped that the 2.5 client upgrade might help with this issue. It did nothing to alleviate the problem.

Everything that I have accumulated in testing and working with VMware has given me the following information –

1. VIC is not designed to operate over long distances (ie Don’t expect someone in Cambridge, MA to be able to reliably access a system in Toronto)

2. Bandwidth is the critical factor here. Even though my networking support folks have tested the link and continue to assure me that the connectivity is acceptable it clearly is not. (Note: They never said it was good or great – it has always been within spec.)

3. VIC Console View is very sensitive to network saturation. When running backups and other network intensive applications over the LAN we can experience similar issues.

4. Routing is critical. This has also shown up when DNS entries weren’t being populated from our data center to the corporate systems. When this occurs it is an intermittent black screen that seems to just clear itself up. Modifying the hosts file to contain the ESX hosts information resolved it.

So the short answer is that VMware said – This isn’t designed to do that and slapped my hands.

I have worked around this limitation by making geographically conscious deployment choices to support the end users. Life would be infinitely simpler if everything was down the hall but having hosts in Cambridge, Loveland, Pleasanton, and Toronto made a SIGNIFICANT difference in latency and availability of the VIC Console screen. All the hosts still connect and validate to the virtual center in Cambridge which does simplify things on the administrative and reporting end.

Also, has anyone else noticed that the loading inventory screen in 2.5 seems a bit slower?


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