Configuring Remote Syslog in ESXi 4.1 via the Linux RCLI

Groundhog

First thing you need to know about ESXi is that it rolls its log after a reboot, meaning if your ESXi server crashes there will be no logs to review and no way of knowing what when to hell and where.

For this reason it is imperative that you setup a remote syslog server and send your logs there. Vmware support will tell you this and shame you if you have not setup remote syslogging.

Fortunately the first hit on google for “ESX syslog how to” will take you directly to the VMware KB article. You can find it here. However this page does not contain directions on how to do this via the Linux rcli, it only contains directions on how to do this via the VMA (management appliance) and from Windows PowerCLI. Really Vmware?

Follow the directions below if you run a real operating system and are not a Windows Admin.

First configure your remote ESXi host to forward syslog to your syslog server.

esxcfg-syslog –server esx04 –setserver vsyslog02 –setport 514

Then verify your settings

esxcfg-syslog –server esx04 –show

Output will appear as follows if everything worked right.

Current remote syslog server settings:
Server name : (vsyslog02)
Server port : 514

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Patching ESXi 4.1 via the Linux RCLI

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Great Balls of Frustration… could the documentation be anymore confusing and convoluted regarding the process of patching an ESX server via the Linux remote cli.

No, I am not running windows, and no I am not on the local ESX console, and no I am not running the Vmware Management Appliance, and most of all, no I do not want outdated instructions from 2008. I just want to download some patches to my local linux destop and patch my ESX servers. Specifically I want to install the latest and greatest Qlogic drivers to troubleshoot a SAN connectivity issue that I will probably blog about at a later date.

Anyway here is how I did what I needed to do without resorting to using a windows box.

First download the driver isos to your local Linux desktop and mount the isos up locally,

mount -o loop vmware-esx-drivers-scsi-fnic_400.1.4.0.201-1vmw.2.17.00000.491446.iso /mnt

Second locate the offline-bundle directory. I moved mine off to another directory that I created specifically for the Qlogic Driver. This way I dont have to unmount and remount the iso when i patch my other boxes.

Next put the host in maint mode.

vicfg-hostops –username root –server esx04 -o enter

Then navigate to the offline_bundle directory and run the following command, replace the bundle name that I used with the bundle name in your directory

vihostupdate –server esx04 –install –bundle 841.k1.16.2-1vmw-offline_bundle-340223.zip

Wait for the following message

Please wait patch installation is in progress …
The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.

Then reboot

vicfg-hostops –username root –server esx04 -o reboot

Enabling SNMP in ESXi 4.1 using the Remote CLI

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Based on the fact that ESX 4.1 is the last major release of ESX, I decided that I would make myself familiar with managing ESXi hosts.  Since I monitor all my hosts via Zenoss, I figured that I needed to get snmp up and running first.

So I first when out and installed the remote cli for ESX on my ubuntu desktop.  The rcli can be downloaded here. The remote cli allows you to run command administrative commands against ESX/ESXi systems. Its availbile for Windows or Linux.

Configuring on ESXi 4.1, Licensed

First configure your community string, target, and port:

vicfg-snmp –server <ESXi_ip> -c <communityname> -p 161 -t <destination_host>@161/<community name>

Then enable it using the command below:

vicfg-snmp –server <ESXi_ip> -E

Next verify your settings:

vicfg-snmp –server <ESXi_ip> -s

Now test your settings:

vicfg-snmp –server <ESXi_ip> -T

These settings are written out to /etc/vmware/snmp.xml. Sample file below.

/etc/vmware # cat snmp.xml
<config>
<snmpSettings>
<communities>pubic</communities>
<enable>true</enable>
<port>161</port>
<targets>10.1.xx.xx@161 public</targets>
</snmpSettings>

Configuring on ESXi 4.0, Free/Foundation

I had a couple of ESXi 4.0 free hosts to configure, but my attempts to configure them using the cli failed as the snmp settings via cli were read only. So the first thing that you need to do is enable the unsupported console. Instructions can be found here.

Once you are able to ssh to the ESXi box, you need to edit the following file by hand, /etc/vmware/snmp.xml. Use the sample file above as a template and modify your ip, port, and string as needed. I use vi to edit mine.

Then run the command below

services.sh restart

You can then verify your settings using the remote cli by running the command below against your esxi box.

vicfg-snmp –server <ESXi_ip> -T