ESXI 7.0 U2 freezing on lower-performance boot media - heads up on potential issue and fix

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I run my main NAS on ESXi which has been progressively upgraded from 6.5 to the current 7.0U2 version released a few months ago. Over the past weeks, I have begun to encounter odd crashes where the NAS VM becomes essentially unresponsive (although it does ping). Other VM's running on the host become sluggish and eventually hang. Looking at load averages etc on the VMs, they are being starved for CPU and eventually lock up.


While the ESXi console and web tools remain responsive, they are unable to control the VMs.  Attempting to force shutdown guests and/or reboot the host eventually results in ESXi itself hanging.  The only solution is a hard reset.


I believe these articles describe the problem and solution:


I have VMWare installed on a USB drive which seems to be susceptible to the issue along with SD cards.  So far, since moving VMWare Tools to ramdisk, I have yet to encounter another hanging event, although it was not clear what triggered it or how long it might take to occur again.


Posted for community benefit, in the case this issue is affecting others.

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