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ESXi hosts experience intermittent lockups and purple screen errors after upgrading to ESXi 3.5 Update 4 (1012575)

Symptoms

If you upgrade to ESXi 3.5 Update 4, you may experience these symptoms:

  • ESXi hosts experience intermittent lockups
  • Prior to upgrading to Update 4, no lockups were experienced
  • Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) locks up after entering the username and password
  • The ESXi host is pingable, but connections using SSH or VMware Infrastructure (VI) Client fail
  • Running the vm-support command from Tech Support mode fails
  • Some or all of the running virtual machines may lose connectivity to the network
  • The ESX host experiences the following purple screen error within 5 minutes of booting:

    Exception type 14 in world x:sfcbd @ 0x673a1b

Resolution

This issue is related to updated components within the CIM agent (sfcbd) that are installed on the system. The CIM agent allows ESX to monitor the hardware status of the physical server and provide this hardware status information back to the administrator either through vCenter Hardware Status or Health Status views. If this service is disabled or otherwise not available, no updated hardware status information is received until it is available again.

Verification and Workaround

To verify whether this behavior is the cause of problem and temporarily workaround the issue: 
  1. Using VI Client, connect directly to the ESXi host experiencing the issue. Log in as root.

    Note: These steps can be performed using an Administrator account logged into the VirtualCenter Server as well.

  2. Click the Configuration tab.
  3. Click the Advanced Settings link.
  4. Navigate to the Misc Category.
  5. Find the Misc.CimEnabled parameter from the list and change the value to 0.

    Note: The default value of Misc.CimEnabled is 1.

  6. Click OK.
  7. Restart the ESXi host for the change to take effect. This change is persistent across reboots. For more information, see Rebooting an ESX Server host (1003530).

    When these steps are complete, no lockups or purple screen errors are experienced if the issue is caused by the CIM agent. 

Permanent Resolution

To permanently resolve this issue, apply patch ESXe350-200910401-I-SG. For more information, see VMware ESXi 3.5, Patch ESXe350-200910401-I-SG: Updates Firmware (1014761).

Additional Information

Please note that this issue only affects ESXi 3.5 Update 4. Any previous version of ESXi 3.5 and ESXi 4.0 are not affected.

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.

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