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Tag Archives: Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Composer for VMware Horizon View

At some point, every View administrator who uses a linked clone pool is going to need to do some troubleshooting. Most linked clone troubleshooting involves a component called Composer.
What is composer, and what does it do?
Composer is an add-on for VMware Horizon View and is used to build linked clone desktops. Details about linked clones and Composer operations can be found in my previous posts, What is a linked clone? and part II of that topic.

Today we will focus on troubleshooting Composer when it breaks.

We are in the process of compiling a KB which will serve as the go-to article for Composer. This will contain links to important KBs, common issues, and procedures for repair. In the meantime, I thought this tactic would be good to share.


Compatibility is more important than many admins realize. VMware builds, tests, certifies and supports components that are built to work together.

The Connection Server talks to:

  • Composer
  • View Agent
  • vCenter
  • Security Server
  • and the clients

Composer in turn, talks to:

  • vCenter,
  • Connection Server
  • The hosts
  • Active Directory
  • The guest OS

As you can imagine, it’s easy for problems to balloon out of control if a component doesn’t talk properly to another. So, you need to ensure that every component is compatible and is designed to work with every other.

Here’s how-

Identifying where a problem exists is the first step to solving it. Composer can be nonfunctional because of factors that are entirely outside of Composer itself. For example, View doesn’t build desktops, that step is done by vCenter through API calls. If you are trying to build desktops and nothing is happening, it doesn’t mean View or Composer are at fault. vCenter needs to be fully functioning properly for View to be able to provision desktops. Along the same lines, Composer needs to be able to talk to all of the hosts in a cluster plus your Active Directory to be able to customize VMs, so if you have a dead host, Composer will fail.

Is Composer at fault then if it doesn’t work? Well, what about the guest VM? Does it get an IP address? Does it boot? If the answer to any of these is no, then Composer can’t do its job.

One of the tactics I take when Composer fails is to manually step though all of the processes involved.

  • Can I clone the base image?
  • Can I change customize it?
  • Can I activate it?
  • Is it network accessible?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, the problem is outside of Composer. Understanding where the linked clone process fails is the key to resolving problems.

Top 20 vSphere 5.5 Support Topics

Here’s our Top 20 vSphere 5.5 Knowledgebase articles for vSphere 5.5 and VMware Hypervisor 5.5

These KBs address the bulk of calls into our call centers for these products. See anything familiar in this list?

  1. VMware ESXi 5.x host experiences a purple diagnostic screen mentioning E1000PollRxRing and E1000DevRx
  2. Installing async drivers on ESXi 5.0, 5.1, and 5.5
  3. Determining Network/Storage firmware and driver version in ESXi/ESX 4.x and ESXi 5.x
  4. Collecting diagnostic information for VMware ESX/ESXi using the vSphere Client
  5. Re-pointing and re-registering VMware vCenter Server 5.1 / 5.5 and components
  6. Unmounting a LUN or detaching a datastore/storage device from multiple VMware ESXi 5.x hosts
  7. Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 best practices
  8. Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.5 best practices
  9. Investigating virtual machine file locks on ESXi/ESX
  10. Creating a persistent scratch location for ESXi 4.x and 5.x
  11. Reducing the size of the vCenter Server database when the rollup scripts take a long time to run
  12. Broadcom 5719/5720 NICs using tg3 driver become unresponsive and stop traffic in vSphere
  13. Methods for upgrading to ESXi 5.5
  14. Permanent Device Loss (PDL) and All-Paths-Down (APD) in vSphere 5.x
  15. Installing vCenter Server 5.5 best practices
  16. Restarting the Management agents on an ESXi or ESX host
  17. Powering off a virtual machine on an ESXi host
  18. Migrating the vCenter Server database from SQL Express to full SQL Server
  19. Resetting the VMware vCenter Server 5.x Inventory Service database
  20. Methods of upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5

Using esxtop to identify storage performance issues in ESX/ESXi

Today we have a new vSphere video that demonstrates how to use esxtop to identify storage performance issues in a vSphere ESX / ESXi environment.

The esxtop utility and the latency statistics that it provides are very useful when troubleshooting performance issues with SAN-connected storage. Watch our latest video and learn!

For additional information see VMware Knowledge Base article Using esxtop to identify storage performance issues for ESX / ESXi (multiple versions) (1008205).

Uploading diagnostic information for VMware through the Secure FTP portal

VMware recently launched the new VMWARE Secure Data Transfer portal which offers the ability to upload diagnostic information and files to VMware in a safe and secure way.

To address a Support Request, VMware Technical Support may request diagnostic information from the affected VMware products. Our video today provides a demonstration of the procedures necessary to upload diagnostic information to VMware using the Secure FTP (sftpsite.vmware.com) portal.

Uploading diagnostic information to VMware using the Secure FTP portal includes these methods:

  • Using your web browser and the HTML Interface
  • Using your web browser and the Java Applet
  • Using the command-line from a Linux operating system
  • Using third-party clients


  • Internet Explorer 9 and above is supported.
  • Other supported browsers include Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.
  • When uploading with Internet Explorer 10/11, you may have to switch to compatibility mode.
  • Do not use the HTML interface to upload files larger than 2 GB.

This video is based on VMware Knowledge Base article Uploading diagnostic information for VMware through the Secure FTP portal (2069559).

Manually collecting diagnostic logs from the Android VMware switch

In today’s new video tutorial, we discuss and demonstrate the process for manually collecting diagnostic logs from the Android VMware Switch.

The normal method to collect the logs from a VMware Ready device is using the VMware Horizon Mobile Server console or through the Horizon Workspace console to which the device is connected. However, if the device fails to connect to the server, you may have to collect the logs from the device itself.

This video provides steps to collect the logs from a VMware Ready device on which the VMware Switch application is installed when other methods are not applicable.

For additional information, see VMware Knowledge Base article Manually collecting diagnostic logs from the Android VMware Switch (2058741).

Troubleshooting virtual machine performance issues

Here is our third Support Insider Live video episode with tips straight from the mouths of our front-line Technical Support Engineers.

Our video today features Sajjad Siddicky talking about his go-to tools for troubleshooting performance issues with virtual machines. Performance of our vms is something we are all concerned with, but where does one start?

Check out this two minute video:

Sajjad recently wrote a piece about VisualEsxtop you can read here. VisualEsxtop is an enhanced version of resxtop and esxtop.

Additional information relating to virtual machine performance issues can be found in KB article: Troubleshooting ESX/ESXi virtual machine performance issues (2001003).

Read more about our new Support Insider Live video series here.

Troubleshooting wiki

We recently ran a survey that sampled customers who opened support requests with us, and one of the questions asked if you would be interested in a new troubleshooting wiki to supplement our other self-help resources. The results are in and we are now discussing.

This got us thinking… perhaps that question needs to be refined. Are you responding to the troubleshooting aspect of the question, or are you responding about the prospects of a wiki?

Whenever we post something here on The Support Insider that indicates it is a troubleshooting tool, we see a lot of interest. Customers like you want to be able to quickly deal issues you encounter, and VMware approved tools or methods are very popular. For instance, our Resolution Path KB articles. We know you’re very interested in anything new we can produce in this area, and a wiki is just one approach. We want to consider all options and use the best tool for the job.

In our next survey, we’ll be sure to be a bit more specific in asking what it is you’d like to see. Maybe you’d like to tell us in the comments below what you’d like most from us?

Protip: When we post a blog topic here that touches on troubleshooting, we tag it. You can view all of our troubleshooting related posts using this URL: http://blogs.vmware.com/kb/tag/troubleshooting. You can use the same URL construct for any of the tags we use in our posts (listed right underneath every post), for example: http://blogs.vmware.com/kb/tag/sso


Top 20 Articles for May 2013

Here is our Top 20 KB list for May 2013. This list is ranked by the number of times a VMware Support Request was resolved by following the steps in a published Knowledge Base article.

  1. Downloading and installing VMware Fusion (2014097)
  2. Uploading diagnostic information to VMware (1008525)
  3. Collecting diagnostic information for VMware ESX/ESXi using the vSphere Client (653)
  4. Installing async drivers on ESXi 5.x (2005205)
  5. Installing Windows in a virtual machine using VMware Fusion Easy Install (1011677)
  6. Broadcom 5719/5720 NICs using tg3 driver become unresponsive and stop traffic in vSphere (2035701)
  7. Troubleshooting Fusion virtual machine performance issues (1015676)
  8. Repointing and reregistering VMware vCenter Server 5.1.x and components (2033620)
  9. vSphere handling of LUNs detected as snapshot LUNs (1011387)
  10. Unmounting a LUN or Detaching a Datastore/Storage Device from multiple ESXi 5.x hosts (2004605)
  11. Creating a persistent scratch location for ESXi 4.x and 5.x (1033696)
  12. Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.1 best practices (2032756)
  13. Purging old data from the database used by vCenter Server (1025914)
  14. Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 best practices (2021193)
  15. Installing VMware Tools in a Fusion virtual machine running Windows (1003417)
  16. Cannot log in to vCenter Server using the domain username/password credentials via the vSphere Web Client/vSphere Client after upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1 (2050941)
  17. Accessing VMware downloads (2006993)
  18. Collecting diagnostic information for VMware vShield Manager (1029717)
  19. Manually deleting linked clones or stale virtual desktop entries from VMware View Manager 3.x and 4.0.x (1008658)
  20. Recreating a missing virtual machine disk (VMDK) descriptor file (1002511)

Collecting diagnostic information from vSphere using the vSphere Web Client

When working with VMware Technical Support you will routinely be asked to provide diagnostic log bundles from your vSphere environment.  Our technical support staff use these in their investigation of your reported issues and in some instances to determine root cause.

We have a new video today which discusses and demonstrates how you can use the vSphere Web Client to collect the diagnostic information for the ESXi and vCenter Server systems, which run in your vSphere 5.1 environment.

This video is specifically geared towards users of our vSphere 5.1 product suite.

In this tutorial you will be guided through the necessary steps for gathering the log bundles from your vSphere 5.1 systems using the vSphere Web Client.

When the vSphere Web Client is connected to the vCenter Server system, you can select hosts from which to generate and download system log files and the option to include vCenter Server and vSphere Web client logs.

For additional information, see VMware Knowledge Base article Collecting diagnostic information for ESX/ESXi hosts and vCenter Server using the vSphere Web Client (2032892).

Note: For best viewing results, ensure that you have the 720p setting selected and that you are viewing using the full screen mode.

VMworld 2013 – Time to Vote!

Voting for VMworld 2013 Sessions is now open to all. Do you believe it’s that time of year already?

There are tons of sessions to choose from, and it’s all up to you to decide on what will make it. You will be required to log in to your vmworld.com account to vote. If you do not have a vmworld.com account, you can set one up for free at http://www.vmworld.com Once you have registered your account, just follow this link: http://www.vmworld.com/cfp.jspa

You will get a list of all of the session proposals, all with a small icon of a white thumb in front of the sessions. You can vote on as many sessions as you’d like. To vote, just click on the thumb. You’ll receive a confirmation window that you voted, and the thumb will turn green. Voting is open April 23 – May 6 until 5:00pm PDT.

Questions? Email: VMworld2013SpeakerSupport@vmware-events.com

A plug for VMware Global Services

The following are sessions submitted for voting by our very own Global Services employees from our offices around the globe. If you see something of interest to you here, be sure to give them your vote!

Title Track/Number Submitter
Architecting a software defined datacenter 4529 David Hill
Deploying a Private Cloud with vCloud Automation Center and vSphere 4517 David Hill & Raman Veeramraju
Monitoring your vCloud Infrastructure with VCenter Operations 4667 David Hill & Aidan Dalgeish
How to deploy a Hybrid Cloud in less than a day 4750 David Hill
The Good, The Bad and the Troubleshooting 4551 – VSA Simon Todd
EUC Application Strategy Best Practices 4610 Ray Dusseault
Mirage 101 4609 Ray Dusseault
Mirage 201 4608 Ray Dusseault
Horizon Mirage Implementation and Design Best Practices 4587 Ray Dusseault
ThinApp Implementation and Design Best Practices 4586 Ray Dusseault
Managed Packaging Services Best Practices 4611 Ray Dusseault
How to Optimally Architect and Implement the VMware Single Sign On 6228 Deji Akomolafe & Deep Bhattacharjee
Demystifying vSphere SSL Certificates Use and Replacement 6229 Deji Akomolafe & Josh Gray
How to Peacefully coexist with Your VMware Infrastructure 4883 Josh Gray
vSphere 5.1 Install and Upgrade Best Practices 4884 Josh Gray
vSphere Identity & SSL Management: Past, Present, and Future 4882 Josh Gray
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?!?!? [vCloud Director] 4495 Jon Hemming
Best Practices for Virtualizing Tier1 Oracle on vSphere, SDDC Platform 5598 Kannan Mani & Matt Scott
Disaster Recovery solution with Oracle Data Guard and Site Recovery Manager 4905 Kannan Mani & Brad Pinkston
Demystifying VMware Mirage – Tips and Tricks for Success 4815 Justin Venezia & Simon Long
Best Practices for Load Balancing and High Availability for the Horizon Suite 4782 Justin Venezia
EUC Design Double Check – Validating Your EUC Solutions 4810 Justin Venezia
Locking Down the Horizon Suite with vCNS/NSX 4825 Justin Venezia & Rob Randall
An Architect’s View of the Horizon Suite – Best Practices for Putting the Pieces Together 4781 Justin Venezia & Stephane Asselin
Ready, set, go! – The race to Operational Readiness for EUC 4591 Kris Boyd
EUC Experts Panel — Successful Implementations 6045 Kris Boyd, Simon Long, Stephane Asselin, Ray Dusseault & Justin Venezia (Panel)
Getting started with Horizon Workspace – Use Cases and configuration 6044 Kris Boyd & Stephane Asselin
College wins student over with EUC 4634 Stephane Asselin & Yves Bourgeois
Load-Balancing and High-Availability for EUC solutions 4624 Stephane Asselin & Justin Venezia
EUC – Putting the Pieces Together 4592 Stephane Asselin & Jared Cook
vCenter Stats for Developers 4840 Melori Arellano & Marcelo Rodriguez
The world in my Postgres : Integrating PostGIS with vFabric Postgres 4829 Marcelo Rodriguez
vFabric Postgres on vSphere: The Virtual-Aware Database 4826 Marcelo Rodriguez
Storage solutions for Microsoft Tier-1 Applications 5432 Alex Fontana & NetApp
Virtualize Active Directory, the Right Way! 5618 Alex Fontana
Successfully Virtualize Microsoft Exchange Server 5613 Alex Fontana
Data Visualization in a Cloud Environment 4492 Faisal Akber
Did you say Mango or Mongo? Best Practices for Running MongoDB on VMware vSphere 4554 Faisal Akber
My name…is NEO! Best Practices for Running Neo4J on VMware vSphere 4573 Faisal Akber
Running Hadoop in a VMware vSphere Environment 4588 Faisal Akber
Troubleshooting tips for VMware vFabric Postgres 4589 Faisal Akber
Performance Tuning VMware vFabric Postgres 4593 Faisal Akber
VMware vSphere CSI – So your host experienced a Purple Screen crash? 4491 Faisal Akber, Alan Castonguay & Jimmie Clinton
Redis in a VMware vSphere Environment 4574 Faisal Akber & Bill Sitchler
Software-Defined Storage, the VCDX Way 4798 Wade Holmes & Rawlinson Rivera
Open up the vCloud hood using PowerCLI, Hyperic, vCenter Operations Manager and vCenter Orchestrator to reveal the inner cloud 5287 Phil Ditzel
A Class on Software Defined Datacenter Integration (3-part session) 5389 Chris Knowles & Thomas Kraus
SAP on VMware Design and Performance Management Guidelines 4926 Vas Mitra & Mohan Potheri
Performance Management of Business Critical Applications using vCenter Operations Manager 4891 Vas Mitra & TBD
Single Sign on To Your Cloud! 5344 Jeremy Sage & Tom Ralph
Managing 5,000 vCloud Users, from the Tenant Point of View 5346 Jeremy Sage & Tom Ralph
7 Design Patterns for vCenter Orchestrator Workflows 5365 Joerg Lew
vCenter Orchestrator Best-Practices 5360 Joerg Lew & Christophe Decanini
How To Build Your Hybrid Cloud and Consume the Public Cloud 4783 Chris Colotti
Technical Deep Dive: ESX Top Tips and Tricks to Keep You on Top of Your vSphere Environment! 5268 Mostafa Khalil & Wen Yu (Nimble Storage)
Deploying VMware vCloud with Amazing Scale: Tips & Tricks 5268 Ford Donald
Virtualizing Highly Available SQL Servers 5932 Scott Salyer
The Role of Overlay Networks in Network Virtualization 4768 Kamau Wanguhu
Addressing your DR IP ails without the need for ale 4804 Kamau Wanguhu & Aidan Dalgleish
Demystifying the Network on the Road to the SDDC 4784 Kamau Wanguhu & Chris Colotti
Firmware Drivers for ESX – Why, and Why Not? 4762 Nathan Small & Steve Sykes
vSphere Performance – Getting the most bang for your buck 5111 Peter Boone
vSphere Security – Protecting your environment and how to CYA 5127 Peter Boone
The Persuit of Security – The vSphere SSL Certificate Story 4794 Jonathan McDonald
vCenter Database Architecture, Performance and Troubleshooting 4645 Jonathan McDonald
Many Moving Parts – Designing Distributed vSphere 5.1+ Infrastructures 4647 Jonathan McDonald
vCenter SSO – a Panel Discussion 4988 Jonathan McDonald, Evelina Krumova, Deep Bhattacharjee, Justin King & Josh Gray (Panel)
Just because you could doesn’t mean you should – Lessons learned in designing vCenter Single Sign On environment 4646 Jonathan McDonald & Josh Gray
Building the Pyramids – A Beginner’s Guide to Demystifying Storage Architecture 4789 Patrick Carmichael
Found by the Side of the Road – Building a Low-Cost, Yet Effective, DR Site 4792 Patrick Carmichael
Just because you could doesn’t mean you should – Lessons learned in Storage Best Practices 4791 Patrick Carmichael
Flash – Architecting for a New Storage Paradigm 5435 Patrick Carmichael & Tee Glasgow (Violin Memory)
How to skin Puppet with Razor: a practical guide to vSphere automation 5383 Fabio Rapposelli & Massimo Re Ferrè