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We have a server with VMWare ESX4.1 installed on it. The physical machines has 2 quad-core CPUs and 16GB memory. We already have up and running 2 VMs, each configured with 2 CPUs (=2 cores) and 8GB of RAM. We have RadHat 5.5 installed on them. We are now configuring 2 additional VMs with similar configurations.

The problem is that after installing the servers with the RedHat Linux OS, they won't start at all. As if there is no OS on the VM. At the 3rd attempt (of re-install) one VM started without a problem.

Does anyone have a similar experience? Is this a bug in ESX4.1 or some other problem? Is there a way to prevent this from happening?

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Can you provide any additional info about what exactly is happening? Any messages on the screen? Did you check the boot settings of the VM in the virtual BIOS? – Agrajag9 Feb 23 '12 at 15:24
Nothing appears on the screen. Only a line-cursor. Looks the same as when you try to boot a VM without an installed OS. We verified the boot sequence, and put the Hard-drive first. – Zottek Feb 23 '12 at 15:49
@Zottek: When you boot an VM with no OS available, you eventually get "No Operating System Found" on the screen. If you're not getting that, then something else is going on. How did you install RedHat? I assume the installer was an ISO that booted correctly. – kbyrd Feb 23 '12 at 19:16
I don't get a "No Operating System Found" message. The OS was installed from an ISO and there were no notable problems/errors during install. – Zottek Feb 26 '12 at 14:14

The reasons I can think of for this failure are :

  1. Media error : The ISO is bad, or maybe wrong VMware Tools.
  2. Hardware error : The computer where you are creating the VMs is faulty.
  3. Software : ESX is having some issues.
  4. Procedure error : You are making some configuration mistakes, such as bad partition allocation.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless with the little information that you have furnished. You need to debug the boot process to find out more, or maybe try a simplified configuration for Redhat.

There are many articles regarding the analysis of boot problems. See for example :
Using The Red Hat Rescue Environment.

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