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Top 10 VMware Admin Tools

On Episode 108 of the Virtually Speaking Podcast, John and I welcomed Duncan Epping and William Lam to discuss the various VMware tools used to manage environments. In preparation for this discussion I took to social media to get a general consensus of the most popular tools VMware admins are using these days. As expected, the usual suspects surfaced to the top (i.e RVTools, PowerCLI) but I was amazed at just how many tools were mentioned that I hadn’t heard of. Since our podcast only covered the top 10, I want to share all the great tools I discovered in this exercise.

Let’s start with the top 10. Keep in mind these are only the top 10 that surfaced in my recent poll. There are dozens of other tools that are quite possibly used more frequently than this top 10.

#1 RVTools by Rob de Veij

RVTools is a VMware utility that connects to your vCenter server and captures every bit of information about your virtual machines (VMs) and your ESXi hosts that you’d want to know. It is able to list information about VMs, CPU, Memory, Disks, Partitions, Network, Floppy drives, CD drives, Snapshots, VMware tools, Resource pools, Clusters, ESX hosts, HBAs, NICs, Switches, Ports, Distributed Switches, Distributed Ports, Service consoles, VM Kernels, Datastores, multi-path info, license info and health checks. It does it fast and in a format that readily exports to Excel.

The download is free, but you have to register with Veeam before you get your download. By downloading, you agree to join Veeam’s mailing list, which you can choose to unsubscribe from, but don’t unsubscribe too quickly, Veeam offers some great VMware-related products, many free of charge.

The latest version is of RVTools is 3.11.7

#2 PowerCLI

VMware PowerCLI is a command-line and scripting tool built on Windows PowerShell, and provides more than 600 cmdlets for managing and automating vSphere, vCloud, vRealize Operations Manager, vSAN, NSX-T, VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware HCX, VMware Site Recovery Manager, and VMware Horizon environments.

Visit the PowerCLI page on VMware {code} and choose your release to learn about PowerCLI.

#3 vCheck by Alan Renouf

vCheck is a PowerShell HTML framework script, the script is designed to run as a scheduled task before you get into the office to present you with key information via an email directly to your inbox in a nice easily readable format. This script picks on the key known issues and potential issues scripted as plugins for various technologies written as PowerShell scripts and reports it all in one place so all you do in the morning is check your email.

#4 ESXTOP

With vSphere comes a very handy tool, called ESXTOP, which is great for helping IT Pros pinpoint performance issues quickly. It is a command line tool that can be used to collect data and provide real-time information on the resource usage of a vSphere environment such as CPU, disk, memory, and network usage.

#5 Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility

This utility allows users to easily migrate virtual machines in bulk from a graphical user interface between vCenter servers using the Cross-vCenter vMotion feature.

Key Features:

  • Completely UI-driven workflow for VM migration
  • Provides REST API for automating migration tasks
  • Works with vCenters in same/different SSO domains
  • Enables batch migration of multiple VMs in parallel
  • Auto-populates inventory for ease of management

#6 AsBuilt Reports by Tim Carman

As Built Report is a configuration document framework which uses Microsoft PowerShell and PScribo, to generate and build as built report documents in HTML, XML, Text & MS Word document formats.

As Built Report is an open source project developed primarily for IT professionals to allow them to easily produce ‘as built’ configuration documentation which is clear and consistent, across multiple IT vendors and technologies.

The framework allows users to easily run and generate reports against their IT environments, and provides contributors the ability to easily create new reports for any IT vendor and/or technology which supports PowerShell and/or a RESTful API.

#7 6.5 REST API and API Explorer

Browse, search, and inspect APIs across all major VMware platforms, including vSphere, vRealize, vCloud Suite, and NSX. Click on an API in this list to view available methods and quickly access related SDKs, code samples, and other resources.

#8 Onyx – VMware Fling

Onyx is a standalone application that serves as a proxy between the vSphere Client and the vCenter Server. It monitors the network communication between them and translates it into an executable PowerShell code. Later, this code could be modified and saved into a reusable function or script.

The Onyx download, information, and community is currently being maintained at VMware Project Onyx.

#9 vCenter Converter

vCenter Converter quickly converts local and remote physical machines into virtual machines without any downtime. The Centralized management console allows you to queue up and monitor many simultaneous conversions, both local and remote, such as in headquarters and branch offices.

#10 HCI Bench

HCIBench (Hyper-converged Infrastructure Benchmark). Is an automation wrapper around the popular and proven VDbench open source benchmark tool that makes it easier to automate testing across a HCI cluster. HCIBench aims to simplify and accelerate customer POC performance testing in a consistent and controlled way. The tool fully automates the end-to-end process of deploying test VMs, coordinating workload runs, aggregating test results, and collecting necessary data for troubleshooting purposes.

HCIBench is not only a benchmark tool designed for vSAN, but also could be used to evaluate the performance of all kinds of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Storage in vSphere environment.

Honorable Mention

The good news is there are more than 10 great tools for VMware admins use. The following is a list of other tools that were mentioned.

IOInsight – VMware Fling

VMware IOInsight is a tool to help people understand a VM’s storage I/O behavior. By understanding their VM’s I/O characteristics, customers can make better decisions at storage capacity planning and performance tuning. IOInsight ships as a virtual appliance that can be deployed in any vSphere environment and an intuitive web-based UI allows users to choose VMDKs to monitor and view results.

Log Insight

VMware vRealize Log Insight is a virtual appliance that allows administrators to view, manage and analyze Syslog data. Log Insight gives administrators the ability to consolidate logs, monitor and troubleshoot vSphere and to perform security auditing and compliance testing.

VMware Skyline

VMware Skyline is an automated, proactive support technology that helps customers avoid problems before they occur and reduce time to resolution of active support requests. For customers, VMware Skyline can increase team productivity and overall reliability of VMware environments.

vDocumentation (Ariel and Edgar Sanchez)

vDocumentation provides a community-created set of PowerCLI scripts that produce infrastructure documentation of vSphere environments in CSV or Excel file format.

Postman

Postman is a powerful HTTP client for testing web services. Created by Abhinav Asthana, a programmer and designer based in Bangalore, India, Postman makes it easy to test, develop and document APIs by allowing users to quickly put together both simple and complex HTTP requests.

WinSSHterm

WinSSHterm is a tabbed SSH solution for Windows, combining PuTTY/KiTTY, WinSCP and VcXsrv.

Linux VSM

Linux VSM, written by Edward Haletky, is a port of the VMware Software Manager to Linux. Linux VSM allows you to log in to My VMware, uses the My VMware downloads information, and presents to the user the subset of downloads VSM allows.

Hyper.is

The goal of Hyper.is is to create a beautiful and extensible experience for command-line interface users, built on open web standards. In the beginning, the focus has been primarily around speed, stability and the development of the correct API for extension authors.

In the future, the group anticipates the community will come up with innovative additions to enhance what could be the simplest, most powerful and well-tested interface for productivity.

Git

Git is a mature, actively maintained open source project originally developed in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, the famous creator of the Linux operating system kernel. A staggering number of software projects rely on Git for version control, including commercial projects as well as open source. Developers who have worked with Git are well represented in the pool of available software development talent and it works well on a wide range of operating systems and IDEs (Integrated Development Environments).

Take a look at github.com/vmware

mRemoteNG

mRemoteNG is a fork of mRemote: an open source, tabbed, multi-protocol, remote connections manager. mRemoteNG adds bug fixes and new features to mRemote.

It allows you to view all of your remote connections in a simple yet powerful tabbed interface.

mRemoteNG supports the following protocols:

  • RDP (Remote Desktop/Terminal Server)
  • VNC (Virtual Network Computing)
  • ICA (Citrix Independent Computing Architecture)
  • SSH (Secure Shell)
  • Telnet (TELecommunication NETwork)
  • HTTP/HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
  • rlogin
  • Raw Socket Connections

pgAdmin

pgAdmin is a management tool for PostgreSQL and derivative relational databases such as EnterpriseDB’s EDB Advanced Server. Documentation for the current development code, and recent major releases of the application are available at pgadmin.org.

VMware OS Optimization Tool

The VMware OS Optimization Tool helps optimize Windows 7/8/2008/2012/10 systems for use with VMware Horizon View. The optimization tool includes customizable templates to enable or disable Windows system services and features, per VMware recommendations and best practices, across multiple systems. Since most Windows system services are enabled by default, the optimization tool can be used to easily disable unnecessary services and features to improve performance.

You can perform the following actions using the VMware OS Optimization Tool:

  • Local Analyze/Optimize
  • Remote Analyze
  • Optimization History and Rollback
  • Managing Templates 

VMware vRealize Orchestrator

VMware vRealize Orchestrator™ doesn’t get nearly enough attention. It’s one of the most powerful tools available to VMware administrators, and it doesn’t require any licensing beyond your existing vCenter licenses. In a drag-and-drop graphical user interface, vRealize Orchestrator allows us to create workflows that can automate many of the tasks we do daily. Not only that, but vRealize Orchestrator has a large library of plug-ins available from VMware Solution Exchange that give you additional functionality for third-party software and hardware in your environment.

Sexigraf

SexiGraf is a “Ready-To-Graf” virtual appliance made by community for community! Feel free to follow SexiGraf on @sexigraf_fr

Sexigraf for vSAN

The metrics used in the various vSAN dashboards are collected every few minutes using the QueryVsanStatistics API method of HostVsanInternalSystem. With some json ticks, it is possible to access any metrics from the vSAN cluster.

PoCLI

The pocli package provides a lightweight ownCloud command line client for basic file operations such as upload, download, directory creation and listing, and deletion. It is written in Python and built upon the official pyocclient package.

The development of pocli was motivated by the need for a tool to quickly up- or download single (or few) files on a computer which is operated without any graphical user interface (i.e. a typical HPC system), and where it may not be desirable to install the official client software.

VMware Health Analyzer

VMware Health Analyzer (or vHA) is a tool used by VMware Partners / Solution Providers in order to asses a VMware environment based on a standard sets of best practices. At this point in time it’s only available for VMware Employees or Partners with access to Partner Central.

VMware Capacity Planner

VMware Capacity Planner is a capacity planning tool that provides integrated analysis, planning, and decision support functionality.

Using Capacity Planner, you can assess your capacity planning needs, consider virtualization, and run consolidation assessments. These assessments help to virtualize and consolidate data center infrastructure, redeploy strategic IT assets, and optimize workload capacity utilization.

Conclusion

There are so many tools to help VMware administrators plan, deploy, and manage VMware environments. This list is just a collection of tools I was able to capture in my recent poll. Is there something missing that you use? Let me know, and I will add it to this post.

@vPedroArrow