Introduction to vSphere Diagnostic Tool

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While browsing the VMware Flings website, I recently ran across a Fling previously released in November of 2021 titled vSphere Diagnostic Tool that I found to be quite interesting. The tool is a set of python scripts that execute various diagnostic commands against a vCenter Server appliance. The scripts aim to rapidly isolate common known issues with vCenter Server appliances to aid and provide the end-user with information on how to remediate the problems. The Fling provides the user with a Pass/Warning/Fail status for each of the tests and references to KBs and other knowledge sources that can assist with resolving the issue. The Fling currently supports vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 and newer.

Per the documentation, the following checks are included in the latest release (version 1.1.4) of the Fling:

  • vCenter Basic Info
  • Lookup Service Check
  • Active Directory Check
  • vCenter Certificate Check
  • Core File Check
  • Disk Check
  • vCenter DNS Check
  • vCenter NTP Check
  • vCenter Port Check
  • Root Account Check
  • vCenter Services Check
  • vCenter High Availability Check

Deploying the Fling

Deploying the vSphere Diagnostic Tool is extremely simple. The tool is provided for download as a ZIP file which contains all of the necessary scripts. The scripts are executed locally on the vCenter Server Appliance without upstream dependencies. The instructions can be found on the vSphere Diagnostic Tool - Instructions page.

Executing the Fling

When you execute the fling’s script, it will first request your [email protected] credential. While many of the checks can be performed without the credentials, you will need to provide the password to complete the full list of checks. Next, you will see it working its way through the various checks. If you find some checks timeout before completing execution, rerun the script with --force appended to the command.

vSphere Diagnostic Tool - Initial Execution

As the scripts execute, you’ll see a color-coded output indicating each check’s Pass/Warning/Fail status. The screenshot below shows that the Local Syslog Functional Check has failed. The script has also referenced a VMware KB that may help resolve the issue.

vSphere Diagnostic Tool - Example of Script Output

Final Thoughts

The vSphere Diagnostic Tool is listed as being in the “alpha” phase of development, but it has already proven helpful in finding a few issues on the vCenter Server appliance in my home lab. The team responsible for the tool has mentioned that they already have a backlog of over 100 new features currently in development. The team also notes that their long-term goal is to have the tool included in all VMware products that utilize VMware Photon OS and ESXi. I think this is a worthy goal, although I would take it a step further and say that vCenter Server should include these checks as part of its regular health checking.

Unfortunately, not all VMware Flings become productized and are released separately or as part of a VMware product. Having been initially released in November 2021, the vSphere Diagnostic Tool is still a relatively young VMware Fling. Hopefully, we will see this productized in some fashion that benefits everyone in time.

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