Autostart Virtual Machines

We have an old VM host in production that I’ve been wanting to replace for months, and earlier on this year I finally managed to!

Of course the main problem is that you have your servers in production for a reason, so there is a chance that your brand new sparkling server sits on a shelf largely un-used due to the fact that all of the servers absolutely have to be on 24/7.

So the impetus for our new VM host was tied in with a Mitel system upgrade, two of the three servers required previously were virtualised, so knowing that the upgrade process would be as simple as 1) grab backup, 2) install new environment 3) restore backup, I took the decision to go for the upgrade.

Nice new HP box now sits in the server room, 2 x Quad core processors and 20 gb of ram; the system is designed to accept 8 windows servers, in other words a processor each with a bit more than 2gb of ram. The actual requirement is for 4-5 servers (I know!) so there’s some room for growth.

The two Mitel servers were created from scratch on Windows 2003 SP2 VMs as per the requirements, and a third VM was moved from its previous home on the old host, mainly to dry run the upgrade process (which is, I can say, effortless and trouble-free!) before moving some more mission-critial systems.

All of this went extremely well, so now half of our VMs reside on the new server, everything was going along with no problems, until we had an enthusiastic 3rd party tech reboot the server due to not being able to access one of the VMs remotely. The eventual fault was traced to a network cable that was missing its locking clip that had worked loose, but in the interim the VM host was rebooted.

Of course this is a standard installation of VM Server (the gratis version) and as such the VMs did not automatically wake themselves up, despite being told there were .ini files that needed hacking etc, there is a far simpler way of making your VMs autostart;

Open the web admin console, click on the VM host name in the Inventory, on the right-hand side under the commands section click the Edit Virtual Machine Startup/Shutdown Settings, from the box that appears tick the Allow virtual machines to start and stop automatically with the system option, click OK and that ought to fix it for you.

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