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Virtual Machines running on two ESX Servers

Written by on . Posted in How to

It is now the second time that our File server has 'crashed' and suddently powered off while vmotion it. The problem seems to be that this Virtual Machines appears to be running or registered on multiple ESX Servers. After this is it not possible for me to shut down te Virtual Machine explaned in this article.


After one of the following, a Virtual machine appears as being registered on more than ESX server. This occurs with the following issues:

- A vmotion fails to complete correctly or times out in VirtualCenter

- A DRS issue where virtual machines are vmotioned automatically

- When a virtual machine is powered on during Vmware HA failover

- The Service Console on an ESX server is low on memory

- In virtualCenter, you see the virtual machine as appearing on one ESX server for a few seconds, then it seems to be on the other.

- Or the virtual machine may appear to jump back and forth among different ESX servers


This behavior indicates that the virtual machine is registered on multiple ESX hosts at the same time, which is not a normal situation.

Before you begin, refer to Restarting the Management agents on a ESX server


  1. Note the virtual machine that disappears every few seconds or having the problems as showed above
    • Login to the service consoles of both affected ESX hosts
    • Type "vmware-cmd –l" to get a list of all VMs and the ones who's having problems (do this on both hosts)
    • Run the "vm-support -x"command to show which virtual machines are currently running on the ESX host (do this on both hosts)
    • Compare results from these commands to determine which ESX host has the virtual machine registered, but is not running it. When you have determined this, you need to unregister the virtual machine from the ESX host on which it is registered but not running
    • Run the following command "vmware-cmd -s unregister </vmfs/volumes/datastore/folder/machine>.vmx" to unregister the virtual machine from the ESX host:
    • If the virtual machine has a process (PID) associated with it, ESX may not allow you to unregister it and the command fails with the error: VMcontrol error -999: Unknow error: SoapError: ServerFaultCode(0): The attempted operation cannot be performed in the current state (Powered On).)
    • In Virtual Center you see the following issue:

  2. If you see the error as above and are unable to unregister the virtual machine do the following to kill the process for the virtual machine.
    • Login to the service console
    • Type "ps -auwwwxx | grep -i <virtual machine name>"
    • The second command, type "kill -9 <PID of the process returned from the above command"
    • Try to unregister the virtual machine from the ESX host again with "vmware-cmd -s unregister </vmfs/volumes/datastore/folder/machine>.vmx"
    • Run the following command to stop the host deamon process by typing "service mgmt-vmware stop"
    • open de next xml file by typing "nano /etc/vmware/hostd/vmInventory.xml"

    • Locate the virtual machine you want to remove (in this example above it's TVUM01)
    • Remove all the information between the <ConfigEntry> tags for the affected virtual machine
    • Run the following command to start the host deamon process again "service mgmt-vmware start"
  3. Log in to the affected ESX servers directly using VI Client.
    • You see the virtual machine on both ESX hosts with a Powered-on status. One host however does not display any details of VMware Tools, IP address, etc in the Summary tab.
    • Get the vmid of the VM you want to kill by typing "vm-support –x" or "cat /proc/vmware/vm/*/names"
    • Kill the VM and generate core dumps and logs by typing "vm-support –X vmid"
    • You will be prompted if you want to include a screenshot of the VM, send an NMI to the VM and send an abort command to the VM. You must answer yes to the abort question to kill the VM. The entire process will take about 5-10 minutes to run. It will create a tar archive in the directory.table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 11pt; font-family: "Calibri","sans-serif"; }
    • You see the virtual machine on both ESX hosts with a Powered-on status. One host however does not display any details of VMware Tools, IP address, etc in the Summary tab.

    • Click the virtual machine on the host that does not display any details in the Summary tab.
    • Ricght-click the virtual machine, and click Power Off

    If all this doen't work. To bad. You have probably to reboot the ESX Host. Try to Vmotion the other Vm's running on this host. Good Luck!
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