Purging old data from the database used by VMware vCenter Server 4.x and 5.x (1025914)


  • The vCenter Server service starts, but eventually crashes.
  • The transaction logs are working correctly.
  • You notice excessive growth of the VPX_EVENT table, and this error message in the Microsoft SQL Event log:

    Could not allocate space for object 'dbo.VPX_EVENT'.'VPXI_EVENT_USERNAME' in database 'VCDB' because the 'PRIMARY' filegroup is full. Create disk space by deleting unneeded files, dropping objects in the filegroup, adding additional files to the filegroup, or setting autogrowth on for existing files in the filegroup.

  • Viewing the Disk usage by tables report shows the VPX_EVENT and VPX_EVENT_ARG tables utilizing the maximum space.
  • None of these troubleshooting steps resolves this issue:

    • Purging the old data
    • Truncating tables
    • Shrinking the logs and database
    • Recreating Roll up jobs


vCenter Server stores performance data in the vCenter Server database. Over time, data collection results in growth of the database files and a mechanism is needed to shrink these files. For more information on shrinking databases, see:
vCenter Server has a Database Retention Policy setting that allows you to specify when vCenter Server tasks and events should be deleted. Because this setting does not affect performance data records, it is still possible to purge or shrink old records from the database using the scripts attached to this article.

To access the Database Retention Policy setting in the vSphere Client:
Click Administration > vCenter Server Settings > Database Retention Policy.
The scripts attached to this article support purging the performance data from vCenter Server.

Caution: Do not run the scripts attached to this article against a VirtualCenter 2.x database. For information about purging data in VirtualCenter 2.x, see Purging old data from the database used by VirtualCenter 2.x (1000125).



Note: This video was originally created for Knowledge Base article Purging old data from the database used by VirtualCenter 2.x (1000125). However, the steps can be used for this article as well.

Caution: The scripts attached to this article are intended for execution by database administrators (DBAs) who are experienced with using database client tools to execute SQL commands. The purpose of the scripts is to delete data. VMware strongly recommends that you stop the vCenter Server service and make a full, reliable backup of your database before attempting this process.

These scripts delete rows, in batches, from designated tables in the vCenter Server database. By default, however, it only reports how many rows will be deleted. To actually delete data, a configuration parameter within the script must be modified. This is a safety precaution. Please see the comments in the heading of the script for details. Diagnostic messages are printed that summarize the operations.

The database transaction log may fill up during this procedure if sufficient disk space is not available. For SQL Server, if the required disk space cannot be made available, one option is to utilize the "simple" recovery model on the database for the duration of this operation.

Warning: The VirtualCenter Server service must be stopped while the script is running. For more information, see Stopping, starting, or restarting vCenter services (1003895).

  • If the database is very large it may take a very long time to run this script. Running the script increments by changing the default cutoff days of 180, which represents 6 months. For example, assuming you have one year of data (365 days) you can increase this to a larger value such as 330 at first, and this will purge only about one month of data. You can then run the script with a cutoff date set to 300 to purge another month of data.
  • If the scripts fail to run because of a lack of available database space, you may need to truncate your performance data. If you want to truncate all performance data instead of purging it, see Reducing the size of the vCenter Server database when the rollup scripts take a long time to run (1007453).
  • If the database has reached a 4 GB limit in SQL Express, the database is corrupted, or if vCenter Server is unavailable for any reason, purge the event and event_arg tables either by manually enabling the database retention policy in the database using SQL Studio, or by running the stored procedure to purge the data from these tables.
  • The vCenter Server database is usually named VIM_VCDB, unless it was renamed during initial creation.
To truncate the data in the VPX_EVENT table:
  1. Connect to Servername\SQL Database and log in with the appropriate credentials.
  2. Expand databases > VIM_VCDB > Tables.
  3. Right-click the dbo.VPX_PARAMETER table and click Open.

    : If you are using SQL Server 2008, right-click the dbo.VPX_PARAMETER table and click Edit Top 200 Rows.

  4. Modify event.maxAge to 30, and modify the event.maxAgeEnabled value to true.
  5. Modify task.maxAge to 30, and modify the task.maxAgeEnabled value to true.
  6. Run the built-in stored procedure:

    1. Navigate to VIM_VCDB > Programmability > Stored Procedures.
    2. Right-click dbo.cleanup_events_tasks_proc and click Execute Stored Procedure.

      This purges the data from the vpx_event, vpx_event_arg, and vpx_task tables based on the date specified for maxAge.

    3. When this has successfully completed, close SQL Management Studio and start the VMware Virtual Center Server service.
To ensure that the default Statistics Level is set to 1:
  1. Using the vSphere Client, log into vCenter Server as an administrator.
  2. Navigate to Administrator > vCenter Server Settings > Statistics.
  3. Under Statistics Intervals, ensure the Statistics Level column is set to 1.
  4. To change the value, select the Interval Duration, click Edit and select Level 1 from the dropdown.
  • The execution of dbo.cleanup_events_tasks_proc may take a long period of time depending on the database size.
  • The operation may fail due to the transaction logs being filled up at multiple intervals based on the data to be purged. You must shrink the Transaction logs when required and run dbo.cleanup_events_tasks_proc again.

Additional Information

Note: For more information relevant to vCenter Server 5.1 and vCenter Server 5.5, see Reducing the size of the vCenter Server database when the rollup scripts take a long time to run (1007453).

For IBM DB2 databases, see Reorganizing the database. Engage your database administrator to perform any required changes.

For further assistance, file a support request with VMware Technical Support and note this Knowledge Base article ID (1025914) in the problem description. For more information, see Filing a Support Request in My VMware (2006985).

Note: When the vCenter Database has been purged, you may notice an improvement in the performance of the vSphere Client connected to the vCenter Server.