Protect Linked-Clone Replicas and show with Replica a desktop is based on

I had a strange behavior in a vSphere Cluster with View Linked-Clones. The problem was that it was not possible to vMotion a Linked-Clone VM to an other host. The error was like:

Cannot open the disk '/vmfs/volumes/11111111-22222222-3333-444444444444/VDI-1/-VDI-1-000001.vmdk' or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.

I could not find any problems by checking snapshot chains. So I investigated Replica-VMs. vCenter allowed tasks like Power On and Editing which is normally not allowed for Replica-VMs. This state of related Replica-VMs seems to prevent vMotion tasks. I took the following steps to solve the problem.

  1. List VMs and there used Replica-VMs by doing this:
    • Log in into a ESXi console and change to a temp-folder
    • execute: find /vmfs/volumes/ \( -size -1500c \) -name *.vmdk -exec grep replica {} -H \; | grep 'parentFileNameHint=' > Replica-temp.txt and sed s/:/'-->>'/ < Replica-temp.txt >Replica-List.txt. Now you can find a VM to Replica mapping in Replica-List.txt
  2. Check that Replica-VMs are in the right vSphere VM folders. These folders are defined in pool settings in View Administrator.
  3. Log in into a the Windows machine that hosts View Composer and go to directory C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware View Composer using cmd.exe
  4. Protect Replica-VMs by executing:
    • SviConfig.exe -operation=protectentity -DsnName=DSN_of_Composer_DB -VcUrl=https://vCenter/sdk -VcUsername=vCenter_User -VcPassword=password -InventoryPath=/Datacenter/vm/Folder_tree/replica-aaaaaaaa-bbbb-cccc-dddd-eeeeeeeeeeee.
    • If you do not use Windows authentication for DB login, use additionally parameters for login:
      • -DbUsername
      • -DbPassword
    • If everything works fine you get an output like:
      VC server connection established successfully.
      Looking for the entity on the VC server.
      VirtualMachine found.
      VirtualMachine with MoId vm-3161 sucessfully protected.

      and a protected Replica-VM that you cannot edit or power on.
  5. Test vMotion again.
  • To find unused replicas, you can use SviConfig.exe -operation=FindUnusedReplica -DsnName=DsnName -Username=username -Password=password -Move=true. -Move is optional and moves the unused replicas to the folder UnusedViewComposerReplicaFolder. Furthermore the command creates files unused-replica-*.txt that contains unused replica names.

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