How to run EMC grabs on a VMware ESX host

Posted by on April 9, 2010 in Troubleshooting, VMware | 4 comments

This is something that I have to do on Windows boxes all the time, but less on our ESX boxes. In the past we used to just run the vm-support to collect the support logs and turn those over to the storage team. They no longer are happy with those and since EMC now has a grab that supports both vSphere and VI3.5 it’s hard to deny them now. In case you do not know what a grab is, it’s a log collection utility that will provide the storage admin with all of the details about WWN’s, paths and which LUN’s a host can see. They can use this for planning upgrades and troubleshooting issues.

First thing you will need to do is to download the proper EMC grab version to support your hosts. At the time of writing this its a version 1.2.1 and is supports both ESX 3 and 4. Proceed on over to and download it from the support programs area.

Once you have the file you will need to upload it to your host with something like WinSCP. I always upload it into the /tmp folder and unzip it there. It will create a folder called “emcgrab”. You can use the following command to do the unzip in case your not familiar with what to do.

tar -xvf emcgrab_ESX_vSphere_v.1.2.1.tar

Next thing is to move into the emcgrab directory that was created. From within there you will need to execute the following command. If you read the help file included in the directory it will explain some options to supress some annoying confirmation screens about the licensing and such.

./ -nomsg

Once the program starts to run depending on the options you used it will prompt you to confirm and read the licensing. After you pass that part it will ask you a string of questions about your contact details and some questions about your environment. These are not necessary to complete it you are using these grabs in house. If you plan on sending these to EMC then I would advise to fill them out.

Once the script completes it will ask you if you want to run vm-support to collect the VMware support logs along with the EMCgrabs. This is up to you, if you have a need for them go ahead. Once the script finished it will place the zipped up file in the Output folder and you can pull off the file with WinSCP.

In closing it’s not necessary to be running Powerpath on your hosts to collect these grabs.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design


  1. Thanks a lot Brian…!!!

  2. This was very useful for my activity today.

  3. Unfortunately will not work with ESXi hosts. I run the latest 1.3.1 but it complains that my hosts are not ESX hosts. 

    • I noticed a couple of months ago that there is now a version for ESXi for download separately from EMC powerlink. You run it from the vMA or vCLI.


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