vSphere ESX Agent Manager (EAM) automates the process of deploying and managing vSphere ESX Agents, while extending the function of an ESXi host to provide additional services that a vSphere solution requires.

ESX agents are relevant to NSX troubleshooting, because, for example, an NSX deployment might require a particular network filter or firewall configuration to function. A firewall configuration can use an ESX agent to connect to the vSphere hypervisor and extend the host with functions specific to that configuration. For example, the ESX agent can filter network traffic, act as a firewall, or gather other information about the virtual machines on the host.

ESX agent virtual machines are similar to services in Windows or Linux. They start when the operating system starts and they stop when it shuts down. The behavior of ESX agent virtual machines is transparent to the user. A vSphere host reaches the ready state when the ESXi operating system has started and all ESX agent virtual machines have been provisioned and powered on.

To integrate an agent with vSphere ESX Agent Manager and extend the capabilities of an ESXi server, an ESX agent must be packaged as an OVF or a VIB module.

EAM allows you to monitor the health of ESX agents and blocks users from performing certain operations on ESX agents that might affect the virtual machines that use them. It also manages the lifecycle of agent VIBs and VMs. For example, ESX Agent Manager can prevent an ESX agent virtual machine from being powered off or moved from an ESXi host that contains other virtual machines that use that agent.

The following screen shot shows the UI to access the ESX Agent Manager.

Logs and Services of the vSphere ESX Agent Manager (EAM)

EAM logs are included as part of the vCenter log bundle.

  • Windows—C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\logs\eam\eam.log

  • VCSA—/var/log/vmware/vpx/eam.log

  • ESXi—/var/log/esxupdate.log

vSphere ESX Agents and Agencies

vSphere ESX agencies map to a prepared NSX host cluster. Each ESX agency acts as a container for ESX agents. ESX agencies aggregate information about the agents that they manage. Thus, ESX agencies provide an overview of the ESX agents that they contain by aggregating all the issues that relate to the ESX agents.

ESX Agent Manager reports issues in agency runtime information. ESX Agent Manager can automatically resolve certain issues if the administrator clicks Resolve Issues in the ESX Agent Manager tab. For example, if an ESX agent is powered off, it can be powered back on.


If the scope of an ESX agency is empty, there are no compute resources onto which to deploy ESX agents, so no ESX agents are deployed. In this case, ESX Agent Manager determines that the ESX agency has performed correctly, and sets the status to green.

The configuration of each agency specifies how the agency deploys its agents and VIBs. See https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-60/index.jsp#com.vmware.eam.apiref.doc/eam.Agency.ConfigInfo.html.


Make sure to change the bypassVumEnabled flag to True before starting the NSX installation and change it back to False after the installation. See https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2053782.

To check the EAM status in the vSphere Web Client, go to Administration > vCenter Server Extentions.

The EAM Manage tab shows information about running agencies, lists any orphaned ESX agents, and logs information about the ESX agents that ESX Agent Manager manages.

For more information about agents and agencies, see https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-60/index.jsp#com.vmware.vsphere.ext_solutions.doc/GUID-40838DE9-6AD1-45E3-A1DE-B2B24A9E715A.html.