Planned maintenance for VMware Guest Introspection drivers

  • Last updated on: 2018-10-22
  • Authored by: Scot Stine

Rackspace has identified a potential issue with the VMware® Guest Introspection drivers for Microsoft® Windows® devices. Windows VMware virtual machines (VMs) with NSX® Network Introspection drivers (vnetflt.sys and vsepflt.sys) might temporarily lose Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) network connectivity for new connections. To mitigate potential future issues, Rackspace is performing a maintenance to disable these drivers on Windows VMware VMs.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Will my devices be rebooted as part of this remediation?

A: No, Rackspace will not reboot your devices as part of our remediation plan. However, a reboot is required for the changes to take effect.

Note: Your servers will likely reboot during your normal, scheduled patching cycle to apply the patches. Full remediation is complete after the reboot.

Q: Only some of my Windows VMs are listed in my support ticket. Why is this?

A: Following are two reasons that devices don’t appear on that ticket:

1) For all devices provisioned after April 20, 2017, the Guest Introspection Driver is disabled by default during the provisioning process. As a result, only devices provisioned before this date have been identified for remediation.

2) If your devices are on Rackspace patching and scheduled for different weeks (pre/default/post cycles), you will receive a new ticket for devices in each of the patching cycles. This is by design for both automation and the reboots that occur naturally as part of the patching process.

Q: Why is Rackspace aligning the remediation plan to Windows patching cycles?

A: Rackspace understands that unexpected downtime is impactful to customer solutions. We force reboots only when we believe they must occur. Microsoft patching using cumulative updates naturally requires a reboot. Because this remediation effort also requires a reboot to be effective, we are scheduling the automation to set up remediation and allow the reboots to occur in accordance with your normal patching schedule.

Q: Do I need to take any action?

A: It depends on your patching solution:

1) If your devices are configured for automated patching on the Rackspace schedule, no additional action on your part is required. Our automation maintenance will run on your servers to remediate the issue. During your prescribed patching schedule, Windows patches are applied, and the device reboots automatically.

2) If you are on your own patching schedule, the automation will still run on your servers to remediate the issue. At your discretion, either (1) wait until the next set of patches are applied to your servers (devices will reboot automatically), or (2) schedule reboots through the MyRackspace Portal.

Q: Can I reboot devices myself after the maintenance?

A: Yes, you can reboot devices any time after the maintenance window. You know your operational requirements and when your devices can incur downtime. If you keep patching up to date, your servers will reboot the next time they are patched. You can also schedule reboots through the MyRackspace Portal or do them manually.

Q: Do I need to respond to this notification?

A: No. However, if you have questions that have not been answered here, please update the ticket or contact your account team – we’re always happy to help.

Q: Can we upgrade VMWare Tools to a later version?

A: Updating or upgrading is not a valid path to resolution. VMware has indicated the issue might be present in all versions of these drivers. The drivers are not in use in your environment because only certain VMware vSphere add-on products use this feature of VMware Tools. Proper resolution of the issue is removal of the offending drivers. Because our goal is to prevent disruption to your environment to the extent possible, we’ll disable the driver during the automation maintenance and utilize your normal scheduled patching process to reboot the device to effectively remediate this issue.

Q: How will I know if automation has been successfully run on my device?

A: Rackspace will be updating tickets informing you that the automation has succeeded.

Q: Where can I get more information?

A: If you would like more information on this issue, see the documentation provided by VMware.

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