Analysing vCenter Server Logs

The default log file location for the vCenter Server differs with the version of vCenter Server installed and also depends on the operating system you chose to install. Here is the list of the Log file locations for different vCenter server versions on a different operating system.

When vCenter Server 5.x and earlier versions were installed on operating systems like Windows 2003 the default log file location is: 

%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Logs\ 

When vCenter Server 5.x and earlier versions of vCenter is installed on Windows 2008, Windows 2012 then the default log file location is: 

C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\Logs\ 

If you look at the  vCenter Log files location you will find a big list of logs each has its own significance that includes the log files like vpxd.log, vpxd-profiler.log, profiler.log and scoreboard.log, vpxd-alert.log, cim-diag.log, ls.log:, stats.log, sms.log, eam.log, catalina.<date>.log and localhost.<date>.log, jointool.log, manager.<date>.log, host-manager.<date>.log. 

Out of the above mentioned log files the very two critical log files are the vpxd.log and vpxd-profiler.log files which are useful for troubleshooting the issues that are related to the configuration and performance.

What is vpxd.log? 
vpxd is vCenter service which runs on the Windows Server where the vCenter Server is installed. The logs for the vpxd service are stored in the default log file location path. When you locate the log files folder you will see so many vpxd files with a number appended to the log file. This is generally happens with log rotation, which means that whenever the log files reaches 5MB or when the vpxd service is restarted then the log file would be automatically archived.

What is vpxd-profiler.log file?
The vpxd-profiler is mainly used to gather the performance-related information, which is useful for troubleshooting the performance related issues. Just like vpxd all the logs would be automatically archived when reaches 5 MB or when the services are restarted. You can navigate the two active logs from the vSphere client and it stores about 10 old logs by default in the vCenter server log file location.

What are the different log files you find the vCenter Server and their usage?

  • vpxd-alert.log: Non-fatal information logged about the vpxd process.
  • cim-diag.log and vws.log: Common Information Model monitoring information, including communication between vCenter Server and managed hosts’ CIM interface.
  •  drmdump\: Actions proposed and taken by VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), grouped by the DRS-enabled cluster managed by vCenter Server. These logs are compressed.
  • ls.log: Health reports for the Licensing Services extension, connectivity logs to vCenter Server.
  •  vimtool.log: Dump of string used during the installation of vCenter Server with hashed information for DNS, username and output for JDBC creation.
  • stats.log: Provides information about the historical performance data collection from the ESXi/ESX hosts
  •  sms.log: Health reports for the Storage Monitoring Service extension, connectivity logs to vCenter Server, the vCenter Server database and the xDB for vCenter Inventory Service.
  • eam.log: Health reports for the ESX Agent Monitor extension, connectivity logs to vCenter Server.
  • catalina.<date>.log and localhost.<date>.log: Connectivity information and status of the VMware Web management Services. 
  •  jointool.log: Health status of the VMwareVCMSDS service and individual ADAM database objects, internal tasks and events, and replication logs between linked-mode vCenter Servers.


How do you Change the default log location for VMware vCenter Server? 

  • Stop the Virtual Center Server service and VMware Virtual Center Management Webservcies services.
  • Back up the vpxd.cfg file.
  • Open the vpxd.cfg file using a text editor.

 Add this entry within the <log> and </log> tags:

<!– vpxd log directory –>
<directory>[Preferred directory]</directory>

Where [Preferred directory] is the directory within which you want to save the logs.

For example:

<!– vpxd log directory –>

  •  Save the vpxd.cfg file.
  • Restart the VMware VirtualCenter Server service and VMware Virtual Center Management Web services service.

How do you view the vCenter Server logs?

  • The vSphere Client connected to vCenter Server 4.0 and higher – Click Home > Administration > System Logs.
  • From the vSphere 5.1 and 5.5 Web Client – Click Home > Log Browser, then from the Log Browser, click Select object now, choose an ESXi host or vCenter Server object, and click OK

 How do you export the Logs? 

  • Login to vCenter Server and Select File > Export > Export System Logs.
  • If you are connected to vCenter Server, select Include information from vCenter Server and vSphere Client to download vCenter Server and vSphere Client log files and host log files, and click next.
  • Select Gather performance data to include performance data information in the log files. Click Next.
  • Click Browse and specify the location to which to save the log files.
  • The host or vCenter Server generates .zip bundles containing the log files. 
  • The Recent Tasks panel shows the Generate diagnostic bundles task in progress.