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The commands vicfg-dumppart.pl (esxcfg-ntp.pl) are used to configure the dump partition for ESXi. To properly run, ESXi must have a diagnostic (or dump) partition defined and this is used to store core dumps for support and debugging purposes. ESXi requireds a dump partition of 100 MB and this can be on local storage or a SAN LUN. If using a SAN LUN, you must provide each host with it's own LUN and you can not access that LUN via the software iSCSI initiator.*

The dumppart command has the following options.

--activate <partition> (-a <partition>) - This option is similar to the set option in that it will activatie the dump partition on the configured partition.

--set <partition> (-s <partition>) - This option will both set and activate a partition to serve as the hosts dump partition. When you use this option, there is no need to seperately activate the dump partition.

--smart-activate (-S) - This option will activate the dump partition if one has been set and is currently available. This options is not officially supported in Update 2 of the RCLI for ESX(i) 3.5 (version .278).

--deactivate (-d) - This option will disable the currently activated diagnostic partition. The vmkernel of your host will not be able to create a core dump file should the host suffer a kernel exception or purple screen of death (PSOD).

--list (-l) - This option will cause your host to rescan all LUNs that the host has access to and provide a list of partitions that would be appropriate for use as a dump partition. There can be some performance degradation should your host have access to a large number of LUNs.

--find (-d) - This option acts like the list option to find all partition suitable for use as a dump partition. The command will display the partition in order of their desirability as a diagnostic partition. That order is: parallel adapter, block adapter, FC LUN, hardware iSCSI and lastly software iSCSI

--get-active (-t) - This will show the active dump partition for your host and will be displayed in the format of vmhbaX:X:X:X). In no partition is active, then 'none' will be displayed.

--get-config (-c) - This will display the configured dump partition. Unlike the --get-active option, this option will not show if the partition is enabled or disabled, nor will it show if the host has access to the partition (i.e. if the host has lost access to a SAN LUN).

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Sample Session

vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -d

Dump Partition Deactivated

vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -l


vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -f

Partition number 8 on vml.0000000000766d686261333a43303a54303a4c30 -> vmhba3:0:0
Partition number 7 on vml.0200000000600508e000000000f881e4e840e52a084c6f67696361
-> vmhba2:0:0:7

vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -c


At this point both vmhba3:0:0:8 and vmhba2:0:0:7 were deleted with fdisk at the console of the host. The -l and -f options would return no partitions as none had a partition type of FC (VMKcore). Should your host show no suitable partition to use, then it may be necessary to create one with the VI client or with fdisk (create a 100+ MB partition and then set the system type to 'FC'). Once a diagnostic partition was created in the VI client, the -f and -l options would again list a partition.

vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -f

Partition number 2 on vml.0200000000600508e000000000f881e4e840e52a084c6f67696361
-> vmhba2:0:0:2

vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -d

Dump Partition Deactivated

vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -c


vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -s vmhba2:0:0:2

Dump partition set.

vicfg-dumppart.pl --server -c


* The VI client for ESXi 3.5 does allow for the creation shared diagnostic partition (see images below). The vicfg-dumppart.pl will also return iSCSI LUNs accessible via the software iSCSI initiator despite documentation for ESXi that states the dump partition can not be on this type of LUN.

Creating a diagnotic partition with the VI client

1) Select Configuration \ Storage and then client on Add Storage. If no diagnostic partition has been created, then the Diagnostic option will be shown as an available storage type. Otherwise, only Disk/LUN and Network File System will be displayed.

2) One of the following partition types may be selected. Note the option for Shared SAN storage.

3) Select an appropriate LUN for the partition.

4) Click Finish to complete the wizard.


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Copyright © 2011 - Dave Mishchenko