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Introducing VProbes: a stethoscope for your VM

(Because we include lots of screen shots in this video, I recommend hitting the little rectangular "full-screen" icon above and avoid straining your eyes.)

I asked VMware engineer Keith Adams to tell me about the new VProbes functionality first available in Workstation 6.5 and we made this little video together. If you’re familiar with DTrace, you will get the idea, but now imagine it from outside the VM and independent of the OS (both things we here at VMware specialize in).

Keith talked about VProbes last year in this blog post:

VProbes attempts to provide a set of tools for answering the question,
"What the heck is this computer doing?" It’s an open-ended question, so
vprobes is accordingly open-ended, as well. In its current form, it
provides an interactive, safe way of instrumenting a running VM at any
level: from user-level processes down to the kernel, and even into
VMware’s VMM and hypervisor, if need be.

I’m not sure if VProbes is useful out of the box for VI admins yet, but it’s a powerful tool if you’re interested in instrumenting your virtual machine.

As a simple trick, in this video Keith shows off a top replacement that is almost non-impactful to the VM it’s monitoring and works on either Windows or Linux. He also can look at what your OS is doing from the machine instruction of its birth to its final shutdown. Pretty powerful and cool stuff to build on.

If you’re interested in talking with Keith or learning more about VProbes, head on over the VProbes Expert Session at the Workstation 6.5 beta site.