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VMware patches iSCSI bug in vSphere 5

The first patch for vSphere 5 has been issued, a fix for a bug that was causing long boot times for virtual machines attached to iSCSI storage systems.

The issue affected vSphere 5 virtual machines connected through software-based iSCSI initiators, and occurred, according to VMware’s Knowledge Base, because “ESXi 5.0 attempts to connect to all configured or known targets from all configured software iSCSI portals. If a connection fails, ESXi 5.0 retries the connection 9 times.”

According to the Knowledge Base article, “VMware is delivering an ISO file for this patch release due to the nature of this issue. This is not common practice and is only done in special circumstances.”

In some cases, this bug led to boot times of up to 90 minutes. Bill Hill, infrastructure IT lead for a Portland-based logistics company, said it took some of his servers that long to boot with the buggy version of ESXi 5.0.

This would be an open-and-shut case of a simple bug fix, Hill said, but it remains a mystery to him, as well as to some VMware insiders, why the original buggy ISO file remains available for download on VMware’s website as of today.

“It’s a frustrating situation,” said Hill. “Why leave a time bomb out there?”

VMware’s PR representatives did not have an official response as of this post.

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