Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is Microsoft’s preferred tool for managing Hyper-V. Even so, VMM is finicky and tricky to troubleshoot. That’s because it’s a remote management tool that doesn’t operate in the same local environment. It uses queue tasks and agents to operate. When something fails, it can stop the whole queue or has repercussions on routine operations.
In this article, I’ll show you how to use clues found within the VMM jobs window to troubleshoot errors that you may receive. On the surface, this seems simple but understanding failed jobs can be a challenge.
Let’s delve into the jobs window to understand what it does.
The Jobs Window
In VMM, the Jobs window acts as an error logger for all the actions you’ve recently performed within the manager. It’ll show you if an administrative action has succeeded or failed. If a particular action fails, the Jobs window will give you a reason why.
When you start an action within the VMM console, the console will automatically open the Jobs window. You can also access the Jobs window at any time by clicking on the console’s Jobs workspace.
In the screenshot above, many jobs are failing. In this case, many failures result from an error called Reads Storage Provider Properties. What’s the cause? It often links to premature or unscheduled storage server shutdown.
Clicking on a job within the Jobs workspace will cause VMM to display more information about the job. Three tabs contain this information, Summary, Details, and Change Tracking.
Below we’ll take a look at the console’s 3 main tabs and what insights they can offer you.
1. The Summary Tab
The Summary tab provides basic information about the error. It also displays recommended actions for fixing the error. A column in the window on the left will give you the job status–completed or failed. It’ll also tell you the command run and job’s start time, duration, and owner.
Here are two details I recommend you look at within the basic summary information. First, look at the Result Name tab, which will point you directly to the problem in most cases. Here, a server, FileServer, shows as offline. The Result Name reflects the server name that’s failing to process the job correctly.
The second thing is the job duration. If the job fails immediately, it’s almost always a sign that VMM can’t find a resource the job needs.
In the basic summary information window on the right, you’ll see the full error message and recommended action. These are often misleading. That’s why I recommend coming back to this later if you can’t find the problem through other means.
2. The Details Tab
The Details tab is the tab I usually find the most helpful when troubleshooting problems with VMM. That’s because, often, the Details tab will break down the individual steps that make up the job and show you the step at which the failure occurred. Note that the steps listed vary depending on the job’s complexity.
If you’re trying to do something simple, like reading the storage provider properties, you’ll only find one step. If you’re trying to do something more involved, like adding a new host or deploying an agent, VMM has many steps. You can see a multi-step job example in the following image.
In the image above, you’ll notice the Details tab lists three steps for the selected job. That said, VMM jobs often contain many more steps. Steps and substeps make up a job. Notice the first step listed is step number 1, and under that, you’ll find sub-steps named 1.1, 1.2, and so on.
In this case, step 1 has failed, and when you look at the sub-steps, you can see which sub-step led to the failure. The manager tried to install the Virtual Machine Manager agent onto the target system. When I intentionally powered down the host to show the resulting error.
3. The Change Tracking Tab
The Change Tracking tab can be helpful as it provides information about the changes that VMM was trying to make when the job failed. Keep in mind that the Change Tracking tab doesn’t necessarily point to the failure, but it can help provide clues.
In the figure below, for example, you can see the virtual manager was trying to use SSL TCP Port 5985 for this job. If the job keeps failing, you might want to make sure this and any other required ports are open on my firewall.
It’s very common to receive errors when you’re working with VMM. Usually, the error messages can be misleading. That said, you can piece together clues found within the Summary, Details, and Change Tracking tabs in the Jobs window to get to the root cause.
When you’re working on the system, remember that VMM uses a queue system due to its remote nature. Good system management practices, like keeping DNS lists up-to-date, can help reduce the problems you may encounter.
Why does VMM use a jobs window?
VMM is a remote management tool. Since it doesn’t run commands locally, all tasks use jobs and place them in queues. This can cause challenges when jobs fail to execute correctly and the queue stalls. That’s the most common reason for some errors you find in the wild.
What is the most common cause of failed VMM jobs?
Every organization is different, but outdated DNS records are the most prevalent failure you’ll likely encounter. They make it impossible for VMM to locate the corresponding resources it needs to run correctly. Waiting for the queue to clear is a challenge for any business, so it’s good to remember to check your DNS practices.
Can’t you just go online and look up the VMM errors that occur?
Every failed job has an error number showing on the Summary tab. While you can do a Google search on the error or the error number, the results will typically say the same thing as the summary. It’s rare for online documentation for a specific error message to point to the error’s actual cause. To fix these errors, understand how the system works to find out how to resolve challenges.
What does it mean if a failed VMM job has a duration greater than 0?
Usually, a failed job with a long duration executes multiple steps before failing. The error number is usually the same as the job sub-step VMM failed on. That’s why it’s so important to look at the Details tab.
Are the Summary, Details, and Change Tracking tabs displayed for successful VMM jobs?
Yes, but they only contain status information since the job didn’t have errors. That said, a completed job may include a warning message. These tabs are useful to check and assess your VMM system’s health.
Find a beginner’s guide to VMM here.
Using PowerShell to Monitor VMM
Learn how to use PowerShell to monitor VMM jobs here.
VMM Guided Tour
Take a look at the console here.
Microsoft’s VMM Troubleshooting Guide
Find Microsoft’s troubleshooting guide here.
VMM Agent Deployment Challenges
Read about agent deployment issues here.
Running Scripts and Remote Hosting
Find out how to use VMM to run scripts and manage remote hosts here.