If you are in the IT industry you most likely know how popular virtualization has become in the past 5 years or so. And if you don’t know what virtualization is well it’s pretty much where you take a physical computer and virtualize it so it’s running as software in a sense. That way you can have multiple virtual computers running on one physical server which allows you to save money and space since each computer does not need to have its own hardware. The virtual computers share the hardware resources of the physical server they are running on so you have to be sure you have enough resources to satisfy the needs of all your virtual computers.
VMware is the largest player in the virtualization industry and is the most popular provider of virtualization software. They offer a multitude of products to fully support a virtualized environment and manage it efficiently. There are also third party software developers who make software to add to the functionality of VMware’s offerings.
One cool (and free) utility that will help you manage your VMware environment is called RVTools and it can help you get a quick look at many important statistics of your VMware servers and virtual machines (VMs). Once you install RVTools you will log in with your current vSphere login and it will take a moment to go through your system and discover the information it needs to obtain so it can display it in an easy to read format.
Once you are logged in and connected you will notice all sorts of information that is available to you for your environment. There are several tabs that categorize the information making it easier to find what you are looking for. Some of these tabs include data for CPU, memory, disk, snapshots, switches, ports, datastores and so on. Once you select a tab you are presented with more detailed information about that section. For example if you click on the vMemory tab you will see columns of information for data such as size, max, consumed, ballooned, active etc. There is more information presented here than most people will ever need.
RVTools will also let you perform certain operations on your VMs right from the software. For example if you are on the vTools tab you can see the status of the VMware tools on all of you VMs and then on the bottom there is a button you can click to have RVTools upgrade your VMware tools software on the VMs you select.
The vHost tab shows you information about your ESX or ESXi hosts in regards to things like the CPU mode, speed, RAM, memory usage, what datacenter it’s in, number of NICs and so on. The vHealth tab offers some useful information about your VMs such as messages about low disk space, VMware tools being out of date and snapshots you may have not known about. You can also change the properties of the vHealth tab as to what kinds of things it reports on. There is also a filter option if you want to see details about a certain VM, host, datastore etc. When you apply the filter and click on the tabs it will only show data about the object you chose to filter on.
RVTools is free to download and can run on your local workstation alongside with your vSphere client and not interfere with any of your VMware software. It will work with a variety of ESX and ESXi systems from 2.5 to the latest version. Check out their website for more details and a download link.