Searching vCenter Tasks and Events via PowerShell and GridView

by Espen Ødegaard · Read in about 3 min (596 words)

Guest Post #


This is a guest post by Espen Ødegaard, Senior Systems Consultant for Proact. #

You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Espen is usually found in vmkernel.log, esxtop, sexigraf or vSAN Observer. Or eating, he eats a lot.

As searching and filtering for events in vCenter Server trough vSphere Client somewhat limited (OK, it really sucks, to be honest), it’s usually much faster using PowerCLI, to retrieve, filter & searching events.

The basics. Connecting to vCenter Server via PowerCLI, and get some events #

Connecting to vCenter

Connect-VIServer vc-02.esod.local

Getting the last 1337 events from vCenter

Get-VIEvent -MaxSamples 1337

Getting the last 1337 events from a ESXi host

Get-VMHost esx-11.esod.local | Get-VIEvent -MaxSamples 1337

Getting the last 1337 events from a VM

Get-VM dc-02.esod.local | Get-VIEvent -MaxSamples 1337

Knowing there is more… #

Since this is basically PowerShell output, you may filter in any way you like, as you might already know, through regular PowerShell. Check all the objects I may retrieve, just for this event first event.

PS /Users/esod> Get-VMHost esx-11.esod.local | Get-VIEvent -MaxSamples 1

EventTypeId          :
Severity             : info
Message              : 
Arguments            : 
ObjectId             : host-4373
ObjectType           : HostSystem
ObjectName           : esx-11.esod.local
Fault                : 
Key                  : 592127
ChainId              : 592127
CreatedTime          : 05/19/2021 08:23:42
UserName             : 
Datacenter           : VMware.Vim.DatacenterEventArgument
ComputeResource      : VMware.Vim.ComputeResourceEventArgument
Host                 : VMware.Vim.HostEventArgument
Vm                   : 
Ds                   : 
Net                  : 
Dvs                  : 
FullFormattedMessage : Trusted Host attestation status unset.
ChangeTag            : 

Adding a filter, to get events, performed by a specific domain (or user)

PS /Users/esod> Get-VIEvent | Where-Object UserName -ilike "esod\*" | Select-Object CreatedTime,ipaddress,username,fullformattedmessage -Last 3 

CreatedTime         IpAddress  UserName           FullFormattedMessage
-----------         ---------  --------           --------------------
05/19/2021 08:15:15 ESOD\svc-vmw-log   User ESOD\svc-vmw-log@ logged in as JAX-WS RI 2.2.9-b130926.1035 svn-revision#5f6196f2b90e9460065a4c2f4e30e065b245e51e
05/19/2021 08:14:00 ESOD\svc-vmw-vrops User ESOD\svc-vmw-vrops@ logged out (login time: Wednesday, 19 May, 2021 06:13:59 AM, number of API invocations: 6, user agent: VMware vim-java 1.0)
05/19/2021 08:13:59 ESOD\svc-vmw-vrops User ESOD\svc-vmw-vrops@ logged in as VMware vim-java 1.0

Bonus: If you’re on MacOS and need GridView #

Another, maybe cooler way to filter (well, I usually do this), is to just pipe the output to GridView (runs in RAM, hence really, really fast to search), and just apply some filters there. Applying, or re-applying search filter(s), is just as easy as typing something new, on the keyboard.


  • Steps below is performed from pwsh on my MacOS (does not have Out-GridView by default), hence this might look
  • If you’re using Windows, you’ll native have the “Out-Gridview” by default - great! Use that!

If you’re on MacOS (like I am), I previously used to install the module “Microsoft.PowerShell.GraphicalTools”

Install-Module Microsoft.PowerShell.GraphicalTools

Now this used to work just fine, but I’m currently having trouble getting this to play nice in MacOS Catalina (keeps crashing, etc.). I recently dicovered another cool tool (if using pwsh from MacOS), called Out-ConsoleGridView, released back in 2020.

Install-Module Microsoft.PowerShell.ConsoleGuiTools

I can now pipe a lot of output to the new “Out-ConsoleGridView”. Let’s retry the Get-VIEvent, but increase the output to last 999 events

Get-VIEvent | Where-Object UserName -ilike "esod\*" | Select-Object CreatedTime,ipaddress,username,fullformattedmessage -Last 999 | Out-ConsoleGridView

As you can see from the output below, I now have the possibility to filter on “anything”, hence I can throw more output into the GridView, and filter there (in RAM, which is much faster then polling output, again and again).

wsh MacOS PowerCLI Out-ConsoleGridView

I may now filter on e.g. the IP, ending in 1.99, by just typing 1.99in the Filter box.

wsh MacOS PowerCLI Out-ConsoleGridView with Filter

This is a post in the Guest Post series. Posts in this series:

Post last updated on September 9, 2021: Fix template and some frontmatter issues on old posts

About the author

Christian Mohn works as a Chief Technologist SDDC for Proact in Norway.

See his About page for more details, or find him on Twitter.