ESX –> ESXi Separation Anxiety

October 25th, 2008 by jason Leave a reply »

For me, this topic could easily be part two in a series of many (Part one would have been my recent blog on ESXi partitioning). I’m an ESX guy. I grew up on the Service Console. But I must get familiar with ESXi. I firmly believe ESXi is the future and ESX will be put out to pasture. If you pay attention to what VMware has been saying lately, you’ll pick up the subtle hints. Maybe you have heard some of them:

  • Smaller hypervisors mean faster deployment times
  • Smaller hypervisors mean less code vulnerability, less risk to the environment, and less time spent patching the hypervisor
  • Smaller hypervisors can be embedded in server hardware
  • ESXi is free, lending itself well to rapid and wide spread implementation
  • Development efforts for scripting and automation are getting away from the Service Console (PowerShell, Host Profiles, Distributed Virtual Switch, etc.)

So my latest adventure in ESXi once again involved the “Tech Support Mode” console. I should really just stay out of there for my own good. Each time I go in there, I come out battered and bruised with more questions than I had going in. This time I was trying to troubleshoot an NPIV issue (future blog post). /var/log/vmkernel is what I wanted to take a look at but it wasn’t there. I searched the ESXi forums and found several hits referencing the vmkernel log and path validating my assumption that it did indeed exist in the spot where I was looking for it. Well, it doesn’t exist and the various posts in the ESXi forum referencing the existence /var/log/vmkernel are inaccurate, not to mention misleading. A quick conversation with helpful VMware employee dilpreet on the VMTN forums summed it up nicely:

All logging previously logged in vmkernel, vmkwarning is logged in /var/log/messages. There is no cron or dmesg log since they are not needed.

On that note, the supported method for viewing the Messages log is via the ESXi host console. Hit <F2>, enter the necessary credentials, choose the View System Logs menu option, and from the menu on the right, choose <1>. You get a forward and backward scrollable consolidated log file. For those who pride themselves on their grep or vi skills, your search capability has been reduced to simply hitting the </> key in the log viewer for RegExp Search.

I’ll get there eventually with ESXi. I’m just a little behind on the adoption and need to catch up with what others have already learned months ago. Admittedly, some of this is a pride issue.


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  1. Roger Lund says:


    You could already do this, but you can setup forwarding to a syslog server. Then use your syslog server to read your loggs, still new to it but here, and still testing it, but are the settings


    How to setup SYSLOG’s in VMware EXSi

    Install remote CPL for vmware
    CMD to C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware VI Remote CLI\bin>

    ———to Set syslog server

    C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware VI Remote CLI\bin> –url https://ipaddressofserver/sdk/webService –setserver ipaddressofcentralsyslogserver
    Enter username: root
    Enter password:

    —————- to Dispay settings

    C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware VI Remote CLI\bin> –url https://ipaddressofserver/sdk/webService –show