I recently came across a problem that was causing the "VMware VirtualCenter Server Service" to fail to start.
The windows event log showed the following:
The description for Event ID ( 1000 ) in Source ( VMware VirtualCenter Server ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: Failed to intialize VMware VirtualCenter. Shutting down....
The VirtualCenter log showed the following:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Logs
Log for VMware VirtualCenter, pid=1312, version=2.5.0, build=build-104215,
option=Release, section=2
[2008-11-24 08:36:34.432 'App' 4372 info] Current working directory:
[2008-11-24 08:36:34.432 'Libs' 4372 info] HOSTINFO: Seeing Intel CPU,
numCoresPerCPU 2 numThreadsPerCore 1.
[2008-11-24 08:36:34.432 'Libs' 4372 info] HOSTINFO: This machine has 2 physical
CPUS, 4 total cores, and 4 logical CPUs.
[2008-11-24 08:36:34.432 'App' 4372 info] Log path: C:\Documents and Settings\All
Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Logs
[2008-11-24 08:36:34.432 'App' 4372 info] Initializing SSL
[2008-11-24 08:36:34.432 'Libs' 4372 info] Using system libcrypto, version 90709F
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] Vmacore::InitSSL: doVersionCheck = true, handshakeTimeoutUs = 120000000
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] Starting VMware VirtualCenter 2.5.0 build-104215
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] Log directory: C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Local Settings\Application Data\VMware\vpx.
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] Account name: SYSTEM
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] [VpxOsLayer] Enabled low-frag process heap.
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] [VpxOsLayer] Enabled low-frag crt heap.
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] [VpxLRO] 34 max LROs
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] [VpxLRO] 6 reserved internal LROs
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] [VpxLRO] 6 reserved blocker LROs
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] [VpxLRO] 6 reserved short LROs
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] [VpxLRO] 4 reserved long LROs
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.135 'App' 4372 info] [VpxLRO] 600-second task lifetime
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.197 'App' 4372 error] [Vdb::IsRecoverableErrorCode] Unable to recover from 42000:195
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.197 'App' 4372 error] [Vdb::IsRecoverableErrorCode] Unable to recover from 42000:8180
[2008-11-24 08:36:35.197 'App' 4372 error] [VpxdVdb] Failed to init tableDef: Column VER_ID does not exist in table VPX_VERSION. Database version may be incompatible.

[2008-11-24 08:37:35.260 'App' 4372 error] Failed to intialize VMware VirtualCenter. Shutting down...
[2008-11-24 08:37:35.260 'App' 4372 info] Forcing shutdown of VMware VirtualCenter now

Looking at the VirtualCenter database the VPX_VERSION table did have a column named "VER_ID" and it had the correct value for the virtual center version. So there was no corruption of data.
In the end the problem was found to be SQL Server database permissions and the "VMware VirtualCenter Server Service" started to work again once the vCenter DB User was granted the sysadmin role.
I investigated further and found this info from VMware:

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 - Make sure that the database user has the db_owner fixed database role on the VirtualCenter database and the MSDB database. The db_owner role on the MSDB database is required for installation and upgrade only. You can revoke this role after the installation or upgrade process is completed. Do not grant the System Administrators server role to the database user. However, if the System Administrators role was previously granted while the database was used with VirtualCenter Server 2.0.x, do not revoke the System Administrators role. Leave it as is.




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