Crucial Data In Your VMware ESXi 5 Log Files

As an Escalation Engineer, part of my daily work is reviewing log files of various systems and vendors. In my first blog post, I would like to show which VMware ESXi 5 log files are most relevant for troubleshooting storage and networking related problems.

All current ESXi 5 logs are located under /var/log and as they rotate, they’ll be available under /scratch/logs




  • VMkernel related activities, such as:
    • Rescan and unmount of storage devices and datastores
    • Discovery of new storage like iSCSI and FCP LUNs
    • Networking (vmnic and vmks connectivity)


  • Extracted warning and alert messages from the vmkernel.log


  • Logs related to the host management service
  • SDK connections
  • vCenter tasks and events
  • Connectivity to vpxa service, which is the vCenter agent on the ESXi server


  • VMkernel observations
  • Useful for network and performance issues

Also, if you have a VM which is affected in particular, it might be worth looking into the vmware.log which is stored with the Virtual Machine. You can find the log under /vmfs/volumes/datastore_name/VM_name/vmware.log.

For the location of ESXi 3.5 and 4.x log files, can be found here.

InfoSight – Manage Case Creation Efficiently

Nimble Storage’s InfoSight changes how storage administrators manage and monitor their arrays in today’s environment. InfoSight includes many great features for free. Just to mention a few, the Assets tab provides a basic overview of your array’s storage and cache utilization as well as it’s configured pro-active health mechanisms. The Capacity tab shows the current usage as well as projected usage for the upcoming weeks.

Today, we’ll cover how to manage case creation through InfoSight’s Wellness tab.

By default Nimble Storage creates pro-actively cases for any condition on the array which causes an issue or could potentially cause headache for the storage administrator. However, not all pro-active cases might be important to you. If you want to get a list of all pro-active cases which are available on InfoSight, please follow the steps as shown below.

Note: Unchecking a condition equals disabling it.

Please login to Nimble Storage’s InfoSight and go to the Wellness Tab. .


When clicking on Case Creation Options, you’ll get an overview of all case creation conditions and can either set a snooze period or disable them.

Note: Snooze Period indicates after how many days a new case for an existing problem will be created. If Snooze Period has been set to 1, this will create a new case every day until the actual problem has been resolved.

Manage Case Creation


Basically, InfoSight is a great all-in-one tool which even allows you manage Nimble Storage’s pro-active case creation more efficiently. My next post will be about common log files on your ESXi host and how you can use them to your benefit while troubleshooting.

Silicon Valley VMUG – Double-Take & VSAN

Today, I attended my first Silicon Valley VMUG at the Biltmore Hotel and Suites in San Jose, CA. Vision Solutions presented their software DoubleTake which provides real-time high availability. Joe Cook, Senior Technical Marketing Manager at VMware, provided an overview of VSAN and its requirements.


I took a couple of notes for both presentations and summarized the most important points below:

Double-Take Availability

  • Allow migration P2V, V2P, P2P, V2V cross-hypervisor
  • Provides HW and Application independent failover
  • Monitors availability and provides alerting functionality by SNMP and Email
  • Supports VMware 5.0 and 5.1, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V Server and Role 2008 R2 and 2012
  • Full server migration and failover only available for Windows. Linux version will be available in Q4.

Double-Take Replication

  • Uses byte-level replication which continuously looks out for changes and transfers them
  • Either real-time or scheduled
  • Replication can be throttled

Double-Take Move

  • Provides file and folder migration
  • Does NOT support mounted file shares. Disk needs to show as a local drive


VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) by Joe Cook

Hardware requirements:

  • Any Server on the VMware Compatibility Guide
  • At least 1 of each
  • 1Gb/10Gb NIC
  • SAS/SATA Controllers (RAID Controllers must work in “pass-through” or RAID0
  • 4GB to 8GB (preferred) USB, SD Cards

Implementation requirements:

  • Minimum of 3 hosts in a cluster configuration
  • All 3 host must contribute storage
  • vSphere 5.5 U1 or later
  • Maximum of 32 hosts
  • Locally attached disks
    • Magnetic disks (HDD)
    • Flash-based devices (SSD)
  • 1Gb or 10Gb (preferred) Ethernet connectivity

Virtual SAN Datastore

  • Distributed datastore capacity, aggregating disk groups found across multiple hosts within the same vSphere cluster
  • Total capacity is based on magnetic disks (HDDs) only.
  • Flash based devices (SSDs) are dedicated to VSAN’s caching layer

Virtual SAN Network

  • RequiredadedicatedVMkernel interface for Virtual SAN traffic
    • Used for intra-cluster communication and data replication
  • Standard and Distributed vSwitches are supported
  • NIC teaming – used for availability not for bandwidth
  • Layer 2 Multicast must be enabled on physical switches

Virtual SAN Scalable Architecture

  • VSAN provides scale up and scale out architecture
    • HDDs are used for capacity
    • SSDs are used for performance
    • Disk Groups are used for performance and capacity
    • Nodes are used for compute capacity

Additional information

  • VSAN is a cluster level feature like DRS and HA
  • VSAN will be deployed, configured and manages through the vSphere Web Client only
  • Hands-on labs are available here

Mind The Virtualization – What Is It About?

Welcome to, by Jan Schwoebel.

You are probably thinking “Well, another blog about virtualization and all this stuff”.
So, how will this blog be different from all the other ones out there?

I have worked in the IT industry for roughly 7 years and have spent some years in Technical Support for storage vendors. During my journey within Technical Support, I have developed an extensive interest in data center virtualization and VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). Within the last couple of years, my main focus has been VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen.

Server virtualization, virtualized desktops, virtualized networking, virtualized storage and now virtualized data centers. We all know it, virtualization plays a major role in today’s business. Due to the nature of my job, I have to troubleshoot different environments every day and I love it. However, to be successful, you have to constantly expand your knowledge.

Anyway, let’s go back to the question of how this blog will be different than others. There are several blogs out there which provide an overview of new products and how you should design your VDI solution or how to virtualize your datacenter. Nevertheless, I feel like nobody really covers how to troubleshoot Hyper-V, ESXi, Xen and so on. I believe that knowing how to troubleshoot your environment is at least as important as studying the best practice guides of all the vendors out there. Unless, of course you like to spend hours working with your vendor’s  technical support center. 🙂