If your vSAN cluster uses encryption, and if an error occurs on the ESXi host, the resulting core dump is encrypted to protect customer data. Core dumps that are included in the vm-support package are also encrypted.

Note: Core dumps can contain sensitive information. Follow your organization's data security and privacy policy when handling core dumps.

Core Dumps on ESXi Hosts

When an ESXi host crashes, an encrypted core dump is generated and the host reboots. The core dump is encrypted with the host key that is in the ESXi key cache. What you can do next depends on several factors.
  • In most cases, vCenter Server retrieves the key for the host from the KMS and attempts to push the key to the ESXi host after reboot. If the operation is successful, you can generate the vm-support package and you can decrypt or re-encrypt the core dump.
  • If vCenter Server cannot connect to the ESXi host, you might be able to retrieve the key from the KMS.
  • If the host used a custom key, and that key differs from the key that vCenter Server pushes to the host, you cannot manipulate the core dump. Avoid using custom keys.

Core Dumps and vm-support Packages

When you contact VMware Technical Support because of a serious error, your support representative usually asks you to generate a vm-support package. The package includes log files and other information, including core dumps. If support representatives cannot resolve the issues by looking at log files and other information, you can decrypt the core dumps to make relevant information available. Follow your organization's security and privacy policy to protect sensitive information, such as host keys.

Core Dumps on vCenter Server Systems

A core dump on a vCenter Server system is not encrypted. vCenter Server already contains potentially sensitive information. At the minimum, ensure that the Windows system on which vCenter Server runs or the vCenter Server Appliance is protected. You also might consider turning off core dumps for the vCenter Server system. Other information in log files can help determine the problem.