Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SOLVED: Windows Storage Server + NAS + NFS + VMWare ESX = Problems

This post is for those out there that are pulling their hair out trying to get a Windows Storage Server NAS device to play nice with VMWare. I set up connections to our NAS device a while ago, but had only used the connections sparingly. Everything seemed to be working fine. However, the other day I decided to set up and test Microsoft DPM.

The problem with DPM is that you need a raw disk that it can format and set up as a protection group. I better get back on topic because if not this entry might end up being a rant on what I don't like about DPM. So, I set up a VM, installed DPM, and created a large vmdk on the NAS datastore to use for my protection group. This is where my troubles began.

First of all, it took me about 5 or 6 tries to even create the vmdk (I guess that was my first warning). Then, when I finally got everything installed, I went to create the protection group and the NFS service locked up on the NAS. All of my datastores went into an 'inaccessible' state, which is awesome for machines with the system drive on the NAS because it shuts them down. The service does not repsond to a restart request or any attempts to stop, start, kill processes, etc. so the only option was to reboot the NAS. Yeah, so I went through this process a couple times before I realized there was no way this was going to work.

Well, after getting discouraged, I turned to the Internet for solutions. Surprisingly, it was not very easy to find solutions to this problem (Unless you count "Use Linux" as a valid solution). Finally, I stumbled upon a hotfix issued by Microsoft that seemed to address the issue. I applied the hotfix and it still did not work. However, after re-reading the hotfix, checking all of the registry settings, linking to another hotfix, installing that hotfix, and fixing those registry entries. I am happy to say everything has been running smoothly for over a week.

Here are the links to the hotfixes:

You will need to install both and don't be fooled by the fact that it states that some of the registry entries are set for you by the hotfix as I found this to not be the case. Verify every registry entry it references. Also, the hotfixes will require a reboot in order for the system to pick up the changes.

One of the hotfixes references network connectivity loss as a reason you may be experiencing the failures so, just in case, check your network equipment for errors and make sure your cabling is ok.


  1. This site is so cool, love reading all the blog and postings, hope to chat with you soon... :)

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  2. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, I quoted this when you say (Unless you count "Use Linux" as a valid solution).

    This is what I'm thinking about it right now.. but again less experiences with Linux led me to choose a GUI flavor of linux.

    I found Windows NFS and VMware is suck in performing good.

  3. I work on windows storage servers. It is interesting how much information can be stored on a little system server. They have incredible processing capabilities as well.