Searching vCenter Tasks and Events via PowerShell and GridView

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

Guest Post #


Espen Ødegaard

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.