Browsing VMware Logs for Troubleshooting

When VMware Horizon administrators need to troubleshoot, it is essential that they know where to find relevant information about the causes and fixes to their problems.

One of the best ways to determine causation is to use VMware troubleshooting logs, which include event logs and log files.

Finding VMware Horizon Event Log Files

IT administrators rely on the VMware Horizon Administrator Console web interface to perform management tasks. When problems arise in the environment, it makes sense that VMware administrators to browse the interface to find what they need. VMware recommends that you configure a database for event logging.

If you have this log database in place, Horizon will store informational messages, warnings, and error messages in this database. These entries are found in the Events menu option (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Events section showing relevant warnings and information sorted by recency

Note that the most recent events are at the top of this log. You may see an error message for a machine where customization failed on the fifth and sixth lines. This is the most convenient place to find such problems.

It is also possible to find these messages in the log files of the Connection server. These logs can also contain more detailed information than a simple error message. Additionally, there are issues that VMware Horizon reports in the log files, but which would not appear in the graphical web console. For example, the same administration interface event log message for the machine with the customization error would display in the Connection Server (Figure 2).

The code that displays the same error message as Figure 1
Figure 2. Connection server display of an error code concerning the timeout of an operation

In this case, the reason for the personalization error is that the machine could not obtain an IP address. Therefore, the machine could not contact the domain controller. In this example, the log entry would not contain information about the root case, but this is the benefit of more detailed troubleshooting logs.

One of the advantages of accessing logs through event database records is that you can send these logs to a centralized logging server. If you use VMware vRealize Logs Overview, you can configure the environment to trigger an alert when Horizon receives certain log entries. While this may not be feasible for all VMware administrators due to various factors such as licensing, it is certainly worth considering this automation.

VMware Log File Locations

All VMware products store log files on individual machines and without centralized logging you can still access them at these locations.

You can find log files in the most common locations for the given operating system. For Windows, it’s in c: programdata in a folder for your application. For Linux, in / var / log it resides either directly in this folder or in a sub-directory of your application. However, sometimes the log files are in unexpected locations and it can be difficult to find them.

VMware administrators have a useful central Resource which allows you to find all the log files for VMware Products and Services. VMware Horizon log files are available on every machine in the environment, including clients, agents, and servers.

VMware Horizon Connection Server Logs

Log files for each Connection Server live at C: ProgramData VMware VDM logs. By default, Connection Servers only log informational messages. You can change this logging level with a menu option in the Start menu on the Connection Server (Figure 3).

Horizon Connection Server logs from the Windows Start menu
Figure 3. Horizon Connection Server logs

This runs a batch file named support.bat, which is located at C: Program Files VMware VMware View Server DCT with parameter logging levels. This opens a menu that asks for the new log level (Figure 4).

The menu with the loglevels parameter displaying the results of the execution of the batch file
Figure 4. The results of running the batch file

Be aware that when you change logging to Debug Where Full, Horizon will generate more data, which may result in excessive resource usage on your Connection Server. You should only increase the level when checking for problems on the Connection Server. Remember to change the level back to informative when you are done troubleshooting.

Figure 5 shows an example of the log file details on the Connection Server. A warning about a database 96.58% full is highlighted in blue.

A log file on the Connection Server with a datastore warning in blue and a debug message circled in red
Figure 5. A log file on the Connection Server

A debug message framed in red in Figure 5 refers to a data store 36.25% full. When you investigate problems with Horizon that does not create virtual machines, these messages can help you find the root cause of the problem.

The above support.bat batch can also generate a log bundle on your connection server. This is also a shortcut on the server’s Start menu, but this batch file is available on most Horizon machines. VMware Support may request a set of logs when you open a case with them because it contains the entire collection of configuration and log files, which VMware support team can analyze. You can also extract this log group yourself, as it allows you to browse the configuration and logs.

This method of collecting log files and this set of logs work with all versions of Horizon. This is particularly useful for administrators running VMware Horizon 7. If you upgraded to VMware Horizon 8, you have other options to access these logs.

VMware log files in virtual desktops

Virtual Desktop and Remote Desktop Services (RDS) hosts with an existing Horizon Agent store connect C: ProgramData VMware VDM logs. You can find these logs there, but there is a useful feature with the vdmadmin.exe utility available on Connection Server in the following folder: C: Program Files VMware VMware View Server bin tools.

Functioning vdmadmin.exe -help -A displays the options of the Agent function, which generates output with useful information (Figure 6).

The output for running vdmadmin.exe -help -A, which is displayed as multiple dialog lines showing information relevant to a virtual desktop
Figure 6. The output that allows you to download the full log set

For example, this output shows that you can download the full log set with the following components: -getlogfile parameter and machine name the current date log file, which you can retrieve with the -getDCT setting.

This is useful because you can now access these files without interacting with the end user working from this virtual desktop.

VMware log files on Windows client computers

You can find the log files for computers running Horizon Client on Windows in C: Users % username% AppData Local VMware VDM Logs. These logs are located in the user’s local profile folder. Since the worker is using the client, you can’t always spend a lot of time on the machine itself investigating the logs. To avoid this, you can also collect an offline log set with support.bat located in C: Program Files (x86) VMware VMware Horizon View Client DCT.

VMware Log Files in Unified Access Gateway

Unified Access Gateway runs in a Linux appliance. If you have root level access to this machine, the application logs are at / opt / vmware / gateway / logs. You might not have this level of access, but there is an even more convenient way to access the machine directly from your administration web interface. Under the Assistance settings, there is a link to download a file named (Figure 7).

The Unified Access Gateway interface showing the .zip file that you can download to analyze offline logs
Figure 7. The log level settings in Unified Access Gateway, which you can download as a .zip folder

This file contains all of the appliance log files that you can download for offline analysis. In this interface you can also find the option to change the logging level. You can set it from the informational level to the debugging level when you are investigating a problem in your environment. As always, don’t forget to return it to the standard setting when you are done. avoid excessive use of resources.

Collecting logs from Horizon Console

Starting with the release of Horizon 8 in 2012 – sometimes referred to as 8.1 – you can also retrieve Agent and Connection Server logs from the Horizon administration console. The option is found under the Troubleshoot tab in the Horizon main menu. First, you need to create a role with the necessary privileges, such as a Agent type in the Marketing pool – before being able to access this functionality (Figure 8).

The Log Collection tab in the VMware Horizon interface showing the different collections that you can access
Figure 8. The journal collections that you can access with the appropriate configurations

After granting yourself the appropriate permissions, you can download the logs from a Connection Server, virtual desktops, or RDS hosts.

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