How To – Collect IBM DSA Logs from ESXi Hosts

If your VMware hosts are running on IBM hardware, then you may at some point have to collect IBM Dynamic System Analysis (DSA) logs if something goes wrong.

To do this check out the steps below…

Quick Intro – What is IBM DSA?

Direct from the IBM website, here is a quick explanation about IBM DSA logs:

IBM Dynamic System Analysis (DSA) collects and analyses system information to aid in diagnosing system problems. DSA collects information about the following aspects of a system:

  • System configuration
  • Installed applications and hot fixes
  • Device drivers and system services
  • Network interfaces and settings
  • Performance data and running process details
  • Hardware inventory, including PCI information
  • Vital product data and firmware information
  • SCSI device sense data
  • ServeRAID configuration
  • Application, system, security, ServeRAID, and service processor system event logs
  • Additionally, DSA creates a merged log that allows users to easily identify cause-and-effect relationships from different log sources in the system.

How To – Collect IBM DSA Logs from ESXi Hosts

There are two ways to collect DSA logs. The first one requires that you reboot the host and boot using the IBM DSA Pre-Boot ISO. Alternatively you can use the portable version of the IBM DSA tool.

Using the portable version does not require that your reboot the host. Follow the steps below to collect the IBM DSA logs using the IBM DSA VMware portable tool:

  1. Download the appropriate version of the IBM VMware portable DSA utility. You can download it from here
  2. Using VI Client, locate the host and browse one of its datastores:
    • Right Click datastore
    • Browse Datastore
  3. Upload the downloaded file to the datastore above, using the Datastore Browser
  4. Open a putty session and connect to the host (Note: You might need to enable SSH on the host first before you can do this).
  5. If you are not connected with root, run su root
  6. Via the putty connection, browse to the datastore you copied the IBM utility file to:
    cd /vmfs/volumes/
  7. Copy the DSA utility file to the local file system of the host:
    cp / /tmp
    cp /ibm_utl_dsa_310p_rhel3_i386.bin /tmp
  8. Navigate to /tmp directory:
  9. Change the attributes of the file to allow the file to be executed:
    chmod +x 
    chmod +x ibm_utl_dsa_310p_rhel3_i386.bin
  10. Run the IBM utility to collect the DSA logs:
  11. Once the DSA logs have completed collecting, copy the output file to the same datastore you copied the IBM utility to:
    cp /var/log/IBM_Support/ /vmfs/volumes/
  12. Remove the IBM utility from the local file system:
    rm /tmp/
  13. Using the VI Client, locate the host and browse the datastore you copied the output to (as per Step 1 above)
  14. Download the DSA log file and send to IBM
  15. Delete the IBM DSA utility and DSA log files from the datastore


  1. Trying to run DSA 6.1 for VMware on an ESXi 5.1 host. When I try to copy the bin file to the temp directory using cp / /tmp, I get the message” -sh:can’t create /tmp: Is a directory”. Further to this if I do a /tmp command, I get “permission denied”
    Is there a way past this?

    1. Hi Henderson,

      It sounds like you have permission issues. Can you confirm that you when you ssh to the host you are logging in with root user? If you are not then once you log in you can run the following command to switch to root – su root

      Once you have logged in as root then you should have full access to /tmp directory.


  2. hello when I try to do this on a VMware 5.0 on 7945 machine I get a error saying that the software is not compatible. Thanks

  3. I tried running DSA by following the same steps provided in the article but it is giving an error.
    Error: sh: ./dsacli: not found

    1. Hi Ishant,

      Are you sure you downloaded the IBM VMware portable DSA utility?

      Also on what command do you get the error?


  4. I get also get dsacli: not found
    I have ESXi5.5, using the latest vmware portable (ibm_utl_dsa_dsyte1d-9.61_portable_vmware_4.x.bin)

    /tmp # ./ibm_utl_dsa_dsyte1d-9.61_portable_vmware_4.x.bin -v
    WARNING! This package doesn’t appear to match your system.
    It is likely that it will not properly execute.
    The following information was determined for your system:

    distribution = Unknown
    release = -1
    processor architecture = Unknown

    IBM Dynamic System Analysis
    (C) Copyright IBM Corp. 2004-2014. All Rights Reserved.
    This Program is licensed under the terms of the agreement available by invoking
    this utility with the -l option. By extracting, copying, accessing, or using
    the Program, you agree to the terms of this agreement. If you do not agree to
    the terms, please remove the software and return it to IBM or the reseller
    from whom you acquired the software for a refund, if any.

    sh: ./dsacli: not found

    1. Hi Wayne,

      You need to get the correct version of IBM DSA, which is dependant on your hardware specifications. From the IBM DSA download website, you can see all the models the version of the software is compatible with by simply clicking on the Show Supported Systems button for the version you are looking at. You can do this for all of the different IBM DSA versions of the software.

      Alternatively, if this doesn’t work then you will need to download and use the DSA PreBoot software which requires you to boot your server off the media created by the DSA PreBoot software. This will then allow you to collect the logs and then either send them via FTP or copy them to a usb or local hard drive.

      All of the different IBM DSA versions can be downloaded here >>>

      Hope this helps

  5. With regards to the ‘dsacli: not found’ error.

    If you read the changes log for the latest version of the dsa portable (currently 9.61 as I type this), it says the following:

    Operation System support list:
    VMware ESX Server 4.0 (Up to U3)
    VMware ESX Server 4.1 (Up to U3)
    VMware ESXi 4.0 (Up to 4.0 U3) (via –vmware-esxi option only)
    VMware ESXi 4.1 (Up to 4.1 U3) (via –vmware-esxi option only)
    VMware vSphere Hypersivor 5.0 (ESX5) (Up to u3) (via –vmware-esxi option only)
    VMware vSphere Hypersivor 5.1 (ESX5) (Up to u2) (via –vmware-esxi option only)
    VMware vSphere Hypersivor 5.5 (ESX5) (Up to u1) (via –vmware-esxi option only)

    If you scan down further for ‘vmware-esxi’ you’ll come across this little tidbit.

    6.0 Collecting VMware ESXi 3.5/4.x/5.x System Information

    Collecting VMware ESXi system information is only supported remotely
    via the –vmware-esxi option. Running DSA via the ESXi Local and
    Remote Tech Support consoles is not supported.

    Here are the recommended steps to run the function:
    a. Boot VMware ESXi Server on the supported System.
    b. Press F2 to enter Configuration
    c. Set password
    d. Get IP with DHCP or static IP.
    If you can’t get IP, try to “Restart Management Agents” and then
    “Restart Management Network”.
    e. Select “Test Management Network” to verify network connectivity

    o Be sure to enable DSA to pass through your firewall to connect to the remote system (if needed).

    So basically, you can’t run this command from the ESXi shell (within an SSH session) as the required components are not found. You can however run this portable tool from a compatible Linux system (Red Hat / CentOS or SUSE). Which raises the question, is it going to give you any more or less information than running the Windows agent against a host in the same fashion.

    1. Interesting. Thanks David for the info. The only other way then would be to use the DSA PreBoot, which collects the most detailed information. For this one, you create a bootable USB and then you have to boot the host off the USB and collect the logs that way. When using the DSA PreBoot, you can either send the logs straight to IBM via FTP (requires internet access) or you can store them onto the USB. If you choose the second option, make sure you format the USB as FAT32 as the utility doesn’t support NTFS partitions (or at least the versions I have used didn’t – not to sure about the latest version though).

  6. I am not getting any DSA portable version for Vmware Esxi 6.0. Which version is compatible, please let me know

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