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ESXi 5.x boot delays when configured for Software iSCSI

Cause

This issue occurs 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. This can lead to a lengthy iSCSI discovery process, which increases the amount of time it takes to boot an ESXi 5.0 host.

Resolution

Resolution

This issue is resolved in ESXi 5.0 Express Patch 01. For more information, see:
  • VMware ESXi 5.0, Patch Release ESXi500-201111001 (2008017)
  • VMware ESXi 5.0 Patch ESXi500-201111401-BG: Updates esx-base (2008018) 
Notes:
  • When you are upgrading to ESXi 5.0, there are two ISO files: one for systems without software iSCSI configured and one for systems with software iSCSI configured. If you have configured software iSCSI devices, or if you think you might use software iSCSI in the future, ensure that you choose the ISO image for systems with software iSCSI.
  • This express patch ISO contains all of the fixes in ESXi 5.0 Patch 01, plus the software iSCSI fix.
  • 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.

Note: The ISO containing ESXi 5.0 Patch 01 is only available to licensed customers, and is not available for download without an entitlement. However, non-licensed customers can download Patch 01 to upgrade an existing version of ESXi 5.0 to resolve this issue. 

Workaround

To minimize the amount of time the boot process spends discovering iSCSI targets, you can reduce the number of network portals and the number of targets. Also populate only the static target(s) which are required to access the VMFS volume and do not unnecessarily fill up all the static targets which may increase the overall boot times of ESXi.

To list the current number and configuration of an ESXi host's network portals, run this command:

esxcli iscsi networkportal list

The output is similar to this:

vmhba34:
Adapter: vmhba34
Vmknic: vmk6
MAC Address: 00:1b:21:59:16:e8
MAC Address Valid: true
IPv4: 192.168.1.206
IPv4 Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
IPv6:
MTU: 1500
Vlan Supported: true
Vlan ID: 10
Reserved Ports: 63488~65536
TOE: false
TSO: true
TCP Checksum: false
Link Up: true
Current Speed: 10000
Rx Packets: 656558
Tx Packets: 111264
NIC Driver: ixgbe
NIC Driver Version: 2.0.84.8.2-10vmw-NAPI
NIC Firmware Version: 0.9-3
Compliant Status: compliant
NonCompliant Message:
NonCompliant Remedy:
Vswitch: dvSwitch0
PortGroup: DvsPortset-0
VswitchUuid: 26 46 30 50 c0 cf df 1e-52 ef ab d7 a2 ab 96 f9
PortGroupKey: dvportgroup-78003
PortKey: 1731
Duplex:
Path Status: active

Note: This is an example of one network portal (HBA34).

To list currently running targets, run this command:

vmkiscsi-tool -T vmhba##

For more information on reducing number of network portals and the number of targets, contact your array vendor.

Based on VMware KB 2007108

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