WTF!? - Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: A general system error occurred

This can by far be one of the most frustrating error messages you will run across in a vSphere environment.  I was at a customer site yesterday and the customer ran across it while I was working through some other things.  He asked if I could fix it for him.  :) I immedieatly dove into the issue and started looking at the problem he was having and the error message was very generalized in nature.  "Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: A general system error occurred"  I wasn't able to change any settings on the VM…

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vSphere 5 Upgrade: PSOD for vSphere 4.1.0 Hosts

I had a customer get ambushed by this last week and wanted to put this out there so hopefully no one else will run into this huge problem.  There is a VMware KB article out regarding the issue, however none of the release notes or upgrade documentation has been updated to reflect the information in the KB article.  Bottom line: DON'T UPGRADE VCENTER TO V5 IF YOU ARE RUNNING VSPHERE 4.1.0 (NO UPDATES) ON YOUR HOSTS! The KB article can be found at the link here: clicky Most of us have read through the upgrade guide for vSphere…

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vCenter 5 Database Move: Update the tomcat DB pointer

Ran into a weird issue the other day and was totally perplexed.  I moved a vCenter database from one SQL server to another, as I have done numerous times before without issue, but this time something else cropped up.  The old SQL server kept receiveing login attempts from the vCenter server.  What?!?   My DSNs for vCenter and Update Manager had been changed to point at the new DB server.  All apps and plugins that query vCenter use these DSNs, WTF is going on? The "VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices" service utilizes tomcat to connect…

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vSphere Customization Specification Manager Bug

I've been working at a client the past few weeks and one of my tasks was to begin the process of upgrading their infrastructure to vSphere 5.  As we all know, the first step is to upgrade vCenter.  So I walked through the upgrade across all three vCenter servers and everything seemed to be ok until we went to deploy a new VM using a customization specification that had been created previously under vCenter 4.1. During the customization process for the VM we received the infamous "Windows Setup encountered an internal error while loading…

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NFS Large Disk Support in vSphere

I've run into this issue with a couple customers the past couple weeks, and there isn't anything definitive out there that I could find, so I thought I'd write about it.  These customers have a need for disks in a VM larger than the 2TB - 512 bytes that is currently supported.  They have a couple options to get around this limitation but these solutions cause a tad bit more complexity in their environments.   One nugget of knowledge that I confirmed with @VMwareStorage last week was that an NFS volume size…

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