VMware SSO Upgrade Bug – VM_SSORenameDir 1603 solved!

Hello all – just solved a difficult problem where my vSphere SSO upgrade failed with mysterious error 1603.

My situation is this: today I am completing an upgrade of  vSphere infrastructure. This is a royal pain as patches to vCenter Server can’t just be applied easily. Instead, there is an elaborate process to upgrade vCloud Director, vShield Manager (now renamed vCloud Networking and Security), the vSphere components (SSO, Inventory Manager, vCenter Server), and other solutions (VMware Upgrade Manager, vCenter Operations Server, lots more). To add even more confusion, just to update the vSphere components one uses the 222-page “vSphere Upgrade” document. Phew!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, after following all directions carefully I ran into a known problem during the Single Sign-On (vSSO) upgrade. I made the mistake of mounting the downloaded ISO as a CD to the vCenter Server; there is a known problem (KB1006565) where this doesn’t work…intead, you must extract the ISO contents to a *local folder* on the machine where you are doing the install. This is not just for vSSO but for any of the vSphere components.

Unfortunately, I had not done that but run the SSO update directly from the mounted ISO. So I extracted the ISO contents to a local folder and ran again.


“Hmm,” I thought, “Perhaps it wants a reboot. After all, the upgrade did mention something about a reboot, right?” So I rebooted the vCenter Server where I had the SSO component installed.

Nothing started. No SSO Service. No vCenter Server service. No Update Manager service. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

“Hmm,” I thought, “Methinks perhaps another stab at the old install will solve the problem.” So I run the SSO update again from the local disk.

Failure very quickly.

I do another reboot and verify that the same problem shows up again (services do not start). Then I try the SSO update again with the same error. I finally think to look at the Event Viewer and see I got “Error 1603”. This leads to a Microsoft article (KB834484) that tells me permissions are probably wrong, or I’m using an encrypted drive, or a SUBST’ed drive letter. None of this is true, of course 🙂

Then it occurs to me to look at the actual MSI log file. this happens to be in the local user’s TEMP folder and it was named vim-sso-msi.log. I opened the file and – voila! – I found that the failing issue was a task called VM_RenameSSODir. This was failing with error 1603. So…why???

I looked deeper into the log file and saw an interesting set of information. First, I saw that the action started as below:

Action 10:38:36: VM_RenameSSODir. 
Action start 10:38:36: VM_RenameSSODir.
MSI (c) (A8:D8) [10:38:36:189]: Invoking remote custom action. DLL: C:\Users\SABAEB~1.ADM\AppData\Local\Temp\MSI8603.tmp, Entrypoint: VMRenameSSODir
MSI (c) (A8!BC) [10:38:36:925]: PROPERTY CHANGE: Adding SSO_RENAME_DIRS_TIME property. Its value is '518bb4ec'.

Looking further I saw another property with a list of directories:

Property(S): SSO_RENAME_DIRS = lib;thirdparty-license;utils\jars;utils\lib;utils\bin\windows-x86;utils\bin\windows-x86_64;webapps\ims\WEB-INF\lib;webapps\sso-adminserver\WEB-INF\lib

So I took a wild guess that these were backups being made of the folders to be updated within the SSO program directory. Now…here’s the money shot! Take a look at the following:

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>dir
 Volume in drive C is OSDisk
 Volume Serial Number is 7C5F-C550

 Directory of C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer

05/09/2013  09:45 AM    <DIR>          .
05/09/2013  09:45 AM    <DIR>          ..
09/10/2012  01:43 PM               422 .ims.files.txt
12/04/2012  01:55 PM    <DIR>          bin
12/04/2012  01:56 PM    <DIR>          conf
10/18/2012  02:08 PM               126 config.properties
12/04/2012  01:55 PM    <DIR>          endorsed
03/12/2013  03:42 PM    <DIR>          lib.518ba878
05/09/2013  09:47 AM    <DIR>          logs
10/18/2012  02:08 PM           348,160 msvcr71.dll
10/18/2012  02:08 PM               584 rsaIMSLiteMSSQLDropUsers.sql
10/18/2012  02:08 PM             1,080 rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupUsers.sql
12/04/2012  01:56 PM    <DIR>          scripts
12/04/2012  01:56 PM    <DIR>          security
10/18/2012  02:08 PM               130 setsapassword.sql
12/04/2012  01:55 PM    <DIR>          sso-replication-cli
12/04/2012  01:55 PM    <DIR>          ssolscli
05/08/2013  03:10 PM    <DIR>          temp
03/12/2013  03:41 PM    <DIR>          thirdparty-license.518ba878
09/10/2012  01:43 PM             3,458 thirdparty.txt
10/18/2012  02:10 PM            57,846 TOMCAT_LICENSE
10/18/2012  02:10 PM             1,228 TOMCAT_NOTICE
10/18/2012  02:08 PM           114,688 unzip.exe
05/09/2013  09:45 AM    <DIR>          utils
03/12/2013  03:41 PM               510 vmtcsConfig.txt
10/18/2012  02:08 PM            25,214 vpx.ico
12/04/2012  01:55 PM    <DIR>          webapps
12/04/2012  01:55 PM    <DIR>          work
              12 File(s)        553,446 bytes
              16 Dir(s)  23,591,739,392 bytes free

Do you see what I see? Look at the bolded lib.518ba878 above. That folder is *supposed* to be simply “lib”. As in “library.” As in…the stupid SSO update program that failed did not properly rollback its directory renames! (The logic is obviously: rename all folders that will be modified as a backup, then perform the update, verify correct operations, then delete the backup folders.)

The solution? I could have restored from snapshot (I of course made one) but this irritated me (the snapshot is very time-consuming due to me using thick-provision eager zero for disks). So I instead simply renamed the files! Here are my commands:

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>move lib.518ba878 lib
        1 dir(s) moved.

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>move thirdparty-license.518ba878 thirdparty-license
        1 dir(s) moved.

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>move utils\jars.518ba878 utils\jars
        1 dir(s) moved.

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>move utils\lib.518ba878 utils\lib
        1 dir(s) moved.

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>move utils\bin\windows-x86.518ba878 utils\bin\windows-x86
        1 dir(s) moved.

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>move utils\bin\windows-x86_64.518ba878 utils\bin\windows-x86_
        1 dir(s) moved.

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>move webapps\ims\WEB-INF\lib.518ba878 webapps\ims\WEB-INF\lib

        1 dir(s) moved.

C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer>move webapps\sso-adminserver\WEB-INF\lib.518ba878 webapps\sso
        1 dir(s) moved.

Then I re-ran the SSO upgrade and – hey, presto! – everything worked.

What a disaster! But it’s another bug identified and solution offered.

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12 Comments on “VMware SSO Upgrade Bug – VM_SSORenameDir 1603 solved!

  1. Thank you very much! I have just had exactly the same issue and this has saved me hours of messing about.

  2. Excellent post. This also saved me some time and hassel. I’ve been using VMware products for almost a decade and since upgrading from vSphere 4.x to 5.x, I have never had so many installation/upgrade issues – most of them have been related to the new single-sign on feature.

  3. Hello,
    i am trying to fix this issue by restoring the SSO-folder by a backup but problem still exist.
    Which folder need to be restored to fix this issue by doing a restore?


  4. We ran into this tonight on our upgrade. We were rolling on the floor laughing because the whole thing sounded like us tonight (it’s almost like we went back in time and wrote it).

    Thanks for the write up!

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