VMware Update Manager and Scratch Partition

A couple of weeks ago I came across a similar problem as in my previous post with update manager, this was a different problem however:

I took another shot at examining the logfiles of vCenter Update Manager on the vCenter Server aiming at confirming the issue with the metadata at “C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Update Manager\Logs”:

Vmware-vum-server-log4cpp.log => Gives us the following error:
2012-02-17 13:52:22:279 ‘scanHost20’ 2876 INFO] [scannerImpl, 187] Scan Complete, disabling ruleset now…
[2012-02-17 13:52:22:279 ‘SetFirewallConfig’ 2876 INFO] [hostUpdateBase, 743] No changes to firewall configuration for: updateManager
[2012-02-17 13:52:22:279 ‘scanHost20’ 2876 INFO] [scannerImpl, 191] Ruleset disabled
[2012-02-17 13:52:22:280 ‘HostUpdateDepotManager’ 2876 ERROR] [scanHost20, 348] result for host: esx14.mz.local (entity: host-2872) shows error :
—–Result Begin (esx14.mz.local)—–
<error errorClass="FileIOError">
<errorDesc>Unable to create, write or read a file as expected.</errorDesc>
<errorDesc>Cannot create dir /var/tmp/cache/metadata1974253129: [Errno 17] File exists: ‘/var/tmp'</errorDesc>
<message>Cannot create dir /var/tmp/cache/metadata1974253129: [Errno 17] File exists: ‘/var/tmp'</message>

    —–Result End (esx14.mz.local)—–
    [2012-02-17 13:52:22:280 ‘HostUpdateDepotManager’ 2876 ERROR] [scanHost20, 392] esx update returned errors
    [2012-02-17 13:52:22:295 ‘SingleHostScanTask.SingleHostScanTask{638}’ 2876 ERROR] [singleHostScanTask, 321] SingleHostScan caught exception: esxupdate error, version: 1.30, operation:
    10: Cannot create dir /var/tmp/cache/metadata1974253129: [Errno 17] File exists: ‘/var/tmp’
    with code: 129
    [2012-02-17 13:52:22:311 ‘SingleHostScanTask.SingleHostScanTask{638}’ 2876 ERROR] [vciTaskBase, 548] Task execution has failed: integrity.fault.HostPatchESXUpdateFailure
    [2012-02-17 13:52:22:313 ‘ChainedTaskContainer.ChainedTaskContainer{637}’ 2876 INFO] [vciTaskBase, 579] A subTask finished: SingleHostScanTask{638}

It shows an issue with creating directories and files.

One of solutions was removing the scratch partition data, but it shows that /var/tmp is not accessible.


It’s a symbolic link to the “scratch partition”.


I found the following articles which applied to our situation:



For ESXi it is recommended, but not required, to have a persistent scratch location available for storing temporary data including logs, diagnostic information and system swap.

When the scratch partition is not available, ESXi stores this temporary data on a ramdisk, which is constrained in space and will result in the situation described above.

I performed the following actions using the vSphere client to create a scratch partition

1. Create a Scratch Partition location using the Datastore Browser on another location (I picked the ISO-STORE for it) and create a “.locker-<Hostname>” directory where you point the scratch partition to.


2. Using the host advanced settings under software select ScratchConfig and edit the location of the ScratchConfig using the ScratchConfig.ConfiguredScratchLocation using the location you created in the previous step.


3.To effectuate the new scratch partition, put the host in maintenance mode and do a reboot.

VMware Update Manager shows “unknown” compliance status before the relocation of the scratch partition:


VMware Update Manager after applying the scratch partition best practice:


The unknown compliance status is gone now and it shows the real statuses.


After applying a persistent scratch partition the installation of patches ends successfully!

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