Saturday, June 18, 2011

Server 2008 VMware and ESET Freezing Problem

***UPDATE***
Literally the day after I posted this, my server locked up again... I will post another update if I get it fixed!
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I have been plagued with a very strange issue that I finally found a solution for. I had a Server 2008 R2 VM running Exchange 2007 that would just totally lock up randomly. The only way to get the box back was to do a reset from within the VM client. My client was running ESET Mail Security as the anti virus on the box. When I removed the anti virus the problem went away. This however, is not the final solution :)

It was extremely difficult to troubleshoot this issue since there were no crash logs at all to debug. I was desperately looking for some kind of a pattern to the crashes but I couldn't find anything consistent. There were no indications in the event log of any problems prior to the crash. I began disabling other agents running on the machine, updating VMware tools, installing the latest service packs etc. but nothing fixed it unless I removed ESET.

I found a post talking about a similar issue (with NO mention of ESET) that recommended increasing the Video Ram on the virtual machine. On this particular box, it was set to 8MB, I increased it to 64MB from the VM client. Since doing this, I have not had this box lock up in the last month. I also reinstalled ESET and everything is working perfectly.

What makes this issue even more bizarre is that I ran this particular server with ESET on it for 4 months prior to deployment and even had a few mailboxes running off of it and NEVER experienced the problem. I was fighting this isue on another Exchange box running Server 2008, not R2. I figured I would try a 2008 R2 box since I was literally out of other options. The problem came back after I got all these users over to the new Exchange server. It appears the issue only occurred for me when the Exchange server actually was servicing a number of mailboxes.

Hopefully this post helps someone else having the same problem.

If you're not sure where to do this, just edit the properties of your VM from within the client and modify the Video Card settings you see here. The VM has to be turned off before you can change this value.

5 comments:

IP Technology said...

hi,
we have the same problem on esxi 4.1.0 381591, win 2008 sp2 (NO R2) exchange 2010..
we just tryed to put in standard vga and 32mb but the freeze randomly occours.. now we are trying to put in wddm the video driver and disinstalled nod32... we will udpate you :)
bye

Craig said...

ESET told me that this was a problem that MS knows about and has already developed a fix for. They said it will be out in the next service pack which sounds like a bunch of BS to me. When I quizzed ESET on a corresponding KB number from MS, they said they didn't get one.

Chris said...

What was the end result of this issue? We run Server 2008 R2 SP1, ESXi 5 (was 4.1), Exchange 2010 SP1, ESET 4 (not the mail scanner, just the OS file scanner).

We have random lockups like between 1-4 times a month. I really think that ESET is causing the problem but ESET support has been no help.

Craig said...

Chris - I never resolved it. I tried for months and months. ESET was unresponsive for me as well. We ended up removing ESET and using a different AV vendor for the Exchange box. It never froze again......

Nielco IT said...

Hi there.
I have had the excact same problems on our company exchange server.
Windows 2008 and Exchange 2007 on a VMWare ESXi 4.x platform.

Now it seems that the problems are gone.
I upgraded the ESXi platform to version 5 and installed the newest version of ESET Mail Security for Exchange. The server has been scalled down i VMWare ESXi from 4 virtual CPU's to two. It runs with 24GB memory configured in VMWare ESXi. The virtual display memory has been changed to 128MB.

The server has run smoothly for a week now. Before the upgrade and changes it couldnt run for even two hours.

I hope you can use me feedback.

Best Regards
John Nielsen