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Log Insight 3.3 for vCenter Server

A major announcement with Log Insight 3.3 is that everyone with a supported vCenter Server Standard, Enterprise, or Enterprise Plus license gets an edition of Log Insight for free. If you own vCenter Server you should definitely take a look at Log Insight now that you are entitled to it. I would talk about everything you need to know on my blog, but I helped co-write the Log Insight for vCenter Server FAQ. Note the FAQ went live on February 10, nearly a month before the GA of Log Insight 3.3. It has received a major overhaul as of yesterday (2016-03-21) so even if you have seen this post in the past, please read it again from top to bottom.

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I will reiterate some of the most important pieces here:

  • If you have a vCenter Server 6.0 Standard, Enterprise, or Enterprise Plus license then Log Insight 3.3 will accept it to enabled Log Insight for vCenter Server edition.
  • If you have a vCenter Server 5.0, 5.1, or 5.5 Standard, Enterprise, or Enterprise Plus license then on the vSphere download page you will see a link to Log Insight — the read more link for the Log Insight virtual appliance contains a key that can be used — Log Insight 3.3 will NOT accept keys from vCenter Server 5.x.
  • Only one Log Insight for vCenter Server key can be applied per Log Insight instance and it must be the first license added (e.g. before evaluation license) — you cannot downgrade to Log Insight for vCenter Server edition.
  • Log Insight for vCenter Server limits you to a standalone Log Insight node (no clustering/VIP), one vSphere integration (no auto configuration of ESXi), VMware product content packs (based on namespace not author), and disabled enterprise features including event forwarding, archiving, and SSL.
  • The Log Insight for vCenter Server license entitles you to 25 OSI, which can be used for any device logging whether physical or virtual, application or OS, etc.
  • If a standard license is added to a Log Insight instance with an existing vCenter Server license then the vCenter Server license is converted to a standard license as well (i.e. you get 25 OSI of standard for free with the purchase of any standard license).

Configuring Remote Syslog on vSphere Using vCenter Log Insight

Now that you have vCenter Log Insight deployed and configured, you need to configure sources to send their log messages to Log Insight. If you enabled vCenter Server integration then you should start to receive log messages, but this is only the beginning of configuring remote syslog sources.

IMPORTANT: Configuring vCenter Server integration does not configure vCenter Server or ESX/ESXi hosts connected to vCenter Server to send remote syslog to Log Insight. For more information continue reading!

Let’s start by going over what Log Insight supports today and what mechanisms it has to configure vSphere devices for you.

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Automating VCSA Configuration

If you have deployed the VCSA a couple of dozen times like me then you quickly realize that it is necessary to script the initial configuration of the device. I would highly recommend taking a look at William Lam’s blog for some great setup scripts including:

Something that I noticed was missing from William’s scripts was the ability to configure application layer services such as NTP and Syslog. As such, I put together a couple quick scripts shared below.

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Host is not responding

I was recently deploying a Cloud Foundry instance and was experiencing errors during the deployment. From the several failed deployments, I received the following BOSH error messages:

Error 100: Unable to communicate with the remote host, since it is disconnected.

mysql_node/54: Unable to communicate with the remote host, since it is disconnected.

Error 100: A general system error occurred: Server closed connection after 0 response bytes read; SSL(TCPClientSocket(this=000000000de625e0, state=CONNECTED, _connectSocket=TCP(fd=-1), error=(null)) TCPStreamWin32(socket=TCP(fd=23280) local=10.23.6.17:59642, peer=10.17.0.156:443))

Looking at the events on the ESXi host I saw the following:

Host is not responding

What was causing the issue and how can it be fixed?

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Cannot install the vCenter agent service. Cannot upload agent

During a recent change ticket in a non-production environment I was called into an All Paths Down (APD) situation on some ESXi hosts. For those who do not know what an APD is, it is when an ESXi host loses all paths to its shared storage. The ESXi hosts impacted in my particular case were hosting several virtual vCenter Server (vCS) instances. The virtual vCS VMs were being used by a group of developers for SOAP calls in order to provision, modify, and delete VMs. Once all the vCS instances had been recovered and vSphere client sessions verified that the instances were operational, the instances were turned back over to development. The developers immediately began complaining about SOAP commands failing to the vCS instances.

What was going on?

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A general system error occurred internal error vmodl.fault.HostCommunication

I am in the process of building my home lab. I recently purchased two servers and installed ESXi 4.1 on them. In addition, I deployed a test vCenter Server instance so I could run VUM. With vCenter Server up, I attempted to add the two ESXi servers. The first one added without issue, but the second one failed with the error messages:

Cannot complete the configuration of the HA agent on the host. See the task details for additional information.

Misconfiguration in the host network setup

I verified that the hosts were in fact configured identically and then tried to add the host again, but the same error messages were displayed. Based on the error messages, I found the following KB article: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1019200. Unfortunately, the link did not help.

Next, I removed the ESXi host from vCenter Server and tried to re-add it. This time I got a different error message:

A general system error occurred internal error vmodl.fault.HostCommunication

From this error message I found KB article: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1012154. This article pointed to name resolution (i.e. DNS) being my issue. I know of the importance of DNS with VMware products and was sure I had verified its configuration, but decided to double check. As suspected, DNS was configured and working as expected.

At this point, I decided to restart the management services as that fixes a majority of ESX(i) issues. Upon doing so and trying to add the ESXi server to vCenter Server, I received another new error message:

Unable to access the specified host, either it doesn’t exist, the server software is not responding, or there is a network problem

This error message pointed me to KB article: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1003409.

Again I tried everything suggested and was still receiving the same error message. At this point, I was frustrated. I decided to reboot the server just in case that fixed the issue. Upon restarting, the error message want back to the vmodl.fault.HostCommuncation one.

What was going on and how could this be fixed?

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