Service “VMware vSphere Profile-Driven Storage Service” crashes after start

After upgrading vSphere vCenter 5.1 to 5.5 U2 I got the problem that the service VMware vSphere Profile-Driven Storage Service crashes after starting or at least after click onto Storage View in vCenter. Among others I got errors in vws.log like:

I did a lot of research and tried and checked everything on VMware KB, but nothing worked. I started a case at VMware. The support did similar things and had no success either. So support suggested to re-install vCenter. The steps are to uninstall vCenter, rename the following folders:

  • C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\Profile-Driven Storage
  • C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VirtualCenter Server
  • C:\ProgramData\VMware\Infrastructure\Profile-Driven Storage
  • C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter

and install vCenter again. Even Horizon View Composer should not be harmed.

Because, you don’t want to lose you vCenter SSL-certificate, I suggest the following steps to do the re-installation:

  1. Do a lot of backup
    • The SSL folder itself (C:\ProgramData\VMware\SSL)
    • vCenter SQL DB
    • If applicable: View Composer DB
    • If you plan to re-install SSO too, back SSO-data (here)
      I did it, but did’t need it afterwards
  2. (Optional) Shut down vCenter VM and create a snapshot
  3. Uninstall VMware vCenter Server.
  4. Rename folders as listed above, except C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter
  5. These steps helped me to keep the SSL-certificate
    1. Duplicate the folder C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter. I did this step to keep the necessary permissions.
    2. Delete everything within C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter, except the folder SSL. So the folder C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\SSL exists and contains the certificate used by the last instance of vCenter
  6. (Optional) Shut down vCenter VM and create a snapshot
  7. Install vCenter Server again. This time, Simple Installation is not possible, because parts of the vCenter suite is still installed. Therefore more questions are asked during installation. It is very important to select the right DSN that points to you vCenter DB and to keep the DB when asked.
  8. Check everything works – even after a reboot
    1. Log in and check that ESXi hosts are connected
    2. Check Update Manager is connected
    3. If applicable: Check vCenter in Horizon View
  9. And finaly check, vSphere Profile-Driven Storage Service is still running and working.
  10. Do not forget to delete created snapshots.
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Service “VMware vSphere Profile-Driven Storage Service” crashes after start

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