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Location of ESXi 3.5-4.1 log files (1021801)

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This article provides the default location of the most common ESXi log files in ESXi 3.5.x and 4.x.

For information on log files in ESXi 5.x, see Location of ESXi 5.0 log files (2004201).


Logs on an ESXi host can be reviewed from:

ESXi 3.5 and 4.x Host Log Files

  • /var/log/messages: Core VMkernel logs, including device discovery, storage and networking device and driver events, virtual machine startup, and a merged copy of the hostd and vpxa management service logs.

    Note: If it is desirable to remove hostd and vpxa management service logs from the combined messages log, see Disabling hostd and vpxa output to /var/log/messages in ESXi (1030672).

  • /var/log/vmware/hostd.log: Host management service logs, including virtual machine and host Tasks and Events, communication with the vSphere Client and vCenter Server vpxa agent, and SDK connections.

  • /var/log/sysboot.log: Early VMkernel startup, module loading, and host initialization.

  • /var/log/esx_install.log : ESXi installation logs

Logs from vCenter Server Components on ESXi 3.5 and 4.x

When an ESX host is managed by vCenter Server or VirtualCenter Server, two components are installed, each with its own logs:

  • /var/log/vmware/vpx/vpxa.log: vCenter Server vpxa agent logs, including communication with vCenter Server and the Host Management hostd agent.

  • VMware High Availability logs, including HA cluster communication.

    • If managed by vCenter Server 4.1 or earlier: /var/log/vmware/aam/*. The main aam/* logs are:

      • vmware_<host Name>.log: Logs all information about the AAM Agent and Rule start/stop/restart. Also contains information regarding internal node connectivity, such as which nodes are responding to other nodes.
      • agent: All activities performed by the AAM Agent including failure detection, sensors and actuator information.
      • ruleInt: All information regarding virtual machine triggers, as well as state and policy updates.
      • backbone: Information about the weight of the cluster, quorum information and any changes in weighting of the cluster.
      • addnode.log: Information about nodes participating in the vSphere HA cluster.
    • If managed by vCenter Server 5.0 or later: /var/log/vmware/fdm/* .For more information on log files in ESXi 5.x, see Location of ESXi 5.0 log files (2004201).

Note: The logs on an ESXi host may be placed only on a ramdisk if there is no persistent scratch location or remote syslog server configured. Non-persistent logs will not be present following a reboot of the ESXi host, which may impair troubleshooting. VMware recommends configuring one or both of these options for persistent logging:

Additional Information



See Also

Update History

03/28/2011 - Added information on scratch partition for the log files and sysboot.log file. 06/02/2011 - Updated documentation links.

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