Debugging VMware ESXi purple screen


Debugging VMware ESXi purple screen

Another day another challenge, today I sat down to troubleshoot a purple screen for a customer. He called me last night that the Host crashed while he did a recompose.

Environment

The customer has a VMware Horizon View 6 environment and VMware ESXi 5.5 hosts.
The environment is pretty simple and freshly installed a few months ago.

Purple screen

The purple screen the customer experienced is shown below. 
VMware has a knowledge base article about this issue, read about it here.

Cause

The cause for the issue seems to be a new AIO Library feature to improve SESparse performance. SESparse has been introduced with VMware View 5.1 and is now available in ESXi 5.5 by default.

Resolution/Workaround

Well there seems to be no resolution yet, so I had to go to each ESX host and check the settings for this features. After enabling SSH access to the hosts I go in with Putty and enter the commands to see if the setting is enabled.

The first command gives a 1 back which means the feature is enabled. The second command gives a 0 back. A 0 means the feature is disabled.

The workaround from VMware says I should disable the feature, here it means I only have to disable the writes option. I have to check this with all hosts, not that many but still some to go.
The command shown below disables the feature, it’s a live action that can be ran on a live host.
There is one more command that could be used, here I didn’t need it for it was disabled already…
The command is: esxcfg-advcfg -s 0 /FDS/FDSEnableCoalesceReads

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