Objective 7.1 – Monitor ESXi, vCenter Server, and Virtual Machines

Objective 7.1 – Monitor ESXi, vCenter Server, and Virtual Machines

For this objective I used the following resources:

  • vCenter Server and Host Management documentation
  • vSphere Monitoring and Performance documentation
  • VMworld 2010 session TA6720, Troubleshooting using ESXTOP for Advanced Users
  • VMware Communities Document DOC-9279, Interpreting esxtop Statistics
  • Duncan Epping’s Blog on esxtop

Knowledge

Describe how Tasks and Events are viewed in vCenter Server

View All Tasks

  1. Display the object in the inventory
  2. Display the tasks for a single object or the entire vCenter Server
    • To display the tasks for an object, select the object
    • To display the tasts in the vCenter Server, select the root folder
  3. Click the Tasks & Events tab
  4. (Optional) To view detailed information for a task, select the task in the list

View Events

  1. Select the inventory object and click the Tasks & Events tab
  2. Click Events
  3. (Optional) Select an event in the list to see the Event Details, including a list of related events and errors in the error stack
  4. (Optional) Click the icon next to Description to view further details and possible causes of the event

For further information on both viewing events and tasks see pages 101 thru 110 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation

Identify critical performance metrics

As you will see listed in the sections below, the critical points to monitor are CPU, memory, networking, and storage.

Explain common memory metrics

Metric Description
SWR/s and SWW/s Measured in megabyts, these counters represent the rate at which the ESXi host is swapping memory in from disk (SWR/s) and swapping memory out to disk (SWW/s)
SWCUR This is the amount of swap space currently used by the virtual machine
SWTGT This is the amount of swap space that the host expects the virtual machine to use
MCTL? Indicates whether the balloon driver is installed in the virtual machine
MCTLSZ Amount of physical memory that the balloon driver has reclaimed
MCTLTGT Maximum amount of memory that the host wants to reclaim via the balloon driver

Explain common CPU metrics

Metric Description
%USED Percentage of physical CPU time used by a group of worlds
%RDY Percentage of time a group was ready to run but was not provided CPU resources
%CSTP Percentage of time the vCPUs of a virtual machine spent in the co-stopped state, waiting to be co-started
%SYS Percentage of time spent in the ESX VMkernel on behalf of the world/resource pool

Explain common network metrics

Metric Description
MbTX/s Amount of data transmitted in Mbps
MbRX/s Amount of date received in Mbps
%DRPTX Percentage of outbound packets dropped
%DRPRX Percentage of inbound packets dropped

Explain common storage metrics

Metric Description
DAVG Average amount of time it takes a device to service a single I/O request (read or write)
KAVG The average amount of time it takes the VMkernel to service a disk operation
GAVG The total latency seen from the virtual machine when performing an I/O request
ABRTS/s Number of commands aborted per second

For further information and deeper explanation of these and other metrics to monitor read VMware Communities document Interpreting esxtop Statisics as well as Duncan Epping’s esxtop blog post

Compare and contrast Overview and Advanced Charts

  • Overview Charts – Display multiple data sets in one panel to easily evaluate different resource statistics, display thumbnail charts for child objects, and display charts for a parent and a child object
  • Advanced Charts – Display more information than overview charts, are configurable, and can be printed or exported to a spreadsheet

Configure SNMP for vCenter Server

  1. If necessary, select Administration -> vCenter Server Settings to display the vCenter Server Settings dialog box
  2. If the vCenter Server system is part of a connected group, select the server you want to configure from the Current vCenter Server drop-down menu
  3. In the settings list, select SNMP
  4. In Receiver URL, enter the host name or IP address of the SNMP receiver
  5. In the field next to the Receiver URL field, enter the port number of the receiver
  6. In Community, enter the community identifier
  7. Click OK

See page 37 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Configure Active Directory and SMTP settings for vCenter Server

Configure Active Directory

  1. If necessary, select Administration -> vCenter Server Settings to display the vCenter Server Settings dialog box
  2. If the vCenter Server system is part of a connected group, select the server you want to configure from the Current vCenter Server drop-down menu
  3. In the navigation pane, select Active Directory
  4. In Active Directory Timeout, enter the timeout interval in seconds for connecting to the Active Directory server
  5. Select Enable Query Limit to limit the number of users and groups displayed in the Add Permissions dialog box
  6. In Users & Groups, enter the maximum number of users and groups to display
  7. Select Enable Validation to have vCenter Server periodically check its known users and groups against the Active Directory server
  8. In Validation Period, enter the number of minutes between instances of synchronization
  9. Click OK to save your changes and close the dialog box

See page 36 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Configure SMTP Settings

  1. If necessary, select Administration -> vCenter Server Settings to display the vCenter Server Settings dialog box
  2. If the vCenter Server system is part of a connected group, select the server you want to configure from the Current vCenter Server drop-down menu
  3. In the navigation pane, select Mail
  4. Enter the SMTP server infromation
  5. Enter the sender account information
  6. Click OK

See page 36 thru 37 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Configure vCenter Server logging options

  1. If necessary, select Administration -> vCenter Server Settings to display the vCenter Server Settings dialog box
  2. If the vCenter Server system is part of a connected group, select the server you want to configure from the Current vCenter Server drop-down menu
  3. In the settings list, select Logging Options
  4. From the vCenter Server Logging list select logging options (see chart below)
  5. Click OK
Option Description
None (Disable Logging) Turn off logging
Error (Errors Only) Display only error log entries
Warning (Errors and warnings) Display warning and error log entries
Info (Normal logging) Displays information, error, and warning log entries
Verbose (Verbose) Displays information, error, warning, and verbose log entries
Trivia (Extended verbose) Displays information, error, warning, verbose, and trivia log entries

See page 37 thru 38 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Create a log bundle

  1. Select File -> Export System Logs
  2. If you are connected to vCenter Server, select the object for which you want to export data
  3. If you are connected to vCenter Server, select Include information from vCenter Server and vSphere Client to download vCenter Server and vSphere Client log files and host log files, and click Next
  4. If the selected host supports manifest drive exports of system log files, select the system log files to collect. Select the specific system log files to download
  5. Select Gather performance data to include performance data information in the log files. Click Next
  6. Click Next
  7. Click Browse and specify the location to which to save the log files
  8. Click Next
  9. Verify the information in the Summary and click Finish to download the log files
  10. If the download fails, click Retry to attempt to download the generated bundles again

See page 97 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Create/Edit/Delete a Scheduled Task

Create a Scheduled Task

  1. In the navigation bar, click Home -> Management -> Schedule Tasks
  2. In the toolbar, click New
  3. In the Select a Task to Schedule dialog box, select a task and click OK to open the wizard for that task
  4. Complete the wizard that opens for the task
  5. Click OK to open the Scheduled Task wizard
  6. Enter a task name and task description and click Next
  7. Select a Frequency and specify a Start Time
  8. Click Next
  9. Set up email notifications and click Next
  10. Click Finish

Remove a Scheduled Task

    1. In the vSphere Client navigation bar, click Home -> Management -> Scheduled Tasks
    2. Select the task
    3. Select Inventory -> Scheduled Task -> Remove
    4. Click OK

Edit a Scheduled Task

  1. In the vSphere Client navigation bar, click Home -> Management -> Scheduled Tasks
  2. Select the task
  3. In the toolbar, click Properties
  4. Change task attributes as necessary
  5. Click Next to advance through the wizard
  6. Click Finish

See pages 101 thru 106 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Configure/View/Print/Export resource maps

View vCenter Maps

  1. Display the object in the inventory
  2. Select the object and click the Maps tab

Print vCenter Maps

  1. Select File -> Print Maps -> Print
  2. In the printer Name list, select the printer
  3. Click Print

Export vCenter Maps

  1. If necessary, view the resource map
  2. Select File -> Export -> Export Maps
  3. Navigate to the location to save the file
  4. Type a name for the file and select a file format
  5. Click Export

See pages 143 thru 146 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Start/Stop/Verify vCenter Server service status

Start vCenter Server service

  1. Go to the Services console for your version of Windows
  2. Right-click the vCenter Server service and select Properties
  3. In the VMware vCenter Server Services Properties dialog box, click the General tab and view the service status

Restart vCenter Server service

  1. Got to the Services console for your version of Windows
  2. Right-click VMware vCenter Server, select Start, and wait for the startup to complete
  3. Close the Properties dialog box

Stop vCenter Server service

  1. Go to the Services console for your version of Windows
  2. Click VMware vCenter Server Service
  3. Right-click VMware vCenter Server, select Stop, and wait for it to stop
  4. Close the Properties dialog box

See page 112 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Start/Stop/Verify ESXi host agent status

  1. Shut down all virtual machines running on the ESXi host
  2. Select the ESXi host you want to shut down
  3. From the main or right-click menu, select Reboot or Shut Down
  4. Provide a reason for the shut down

See page 111 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Configure vCenter Server timeout settings

  1. If necessary, select Administration -> vCenter Server Settings to display the vCenter Server Settings dialog box
  2. If the vCenter Server system is part of a connected group, select the server you want to configure from the Current vCenter Server drop-down menu
  3. In the settings list, select Timeout Settings
  4. In Normal Operations, enter the timeout interval in seconds for normal operations
  5. In Long Operations, enter the tiemout interval in minutes for long operations
  6. Click OK
  7. Restart the vCenter Serve system for the changes to take effect

See page 38 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Monitor/Administer vCenter Server connections

View Active Sessions

  1. From the Home page of a vSphere Client connected to a vCenter Server system, click the Sessions button

Terminate Active Sessions

  1. On the Home page of a vSPhere Client connected to a vCenter Server system, click the Sessions button
  2. Right-click a session and select Terminate
  3. Click OK to confirm the termination

Send a Message to All Active Users

  1. On the Home page of a vSphere Client connected to a vCenter Server system, click the Sessions button
  2. Type a message in the Message of the day field
  3. Click Change

See page 28 thru 29 of the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation for further information

Create an Advanced Chart

  1. Select an inventory object and click the Performance tab
  2. Click Advanced
  3. Click Chart Options
  4. Select a metric group for the chart
  5. Select a time range for the metric group
  6. Select the chart type
  7. In Objects, select the inventory objects to display in the chart
  8. In Counters, select the data counters to display in the chart
  9. Click Apply
  10. Click OK

See page 14 of the vSphere Monitoring and Performance documentation for further information

Determine host performance using resxtop and guest Perfmon

Given performance data, identify the affected vSphere resource

These two topics could easily fill pages of information. For quick and easy knowledge refer to the sections above outlining the more significant performance metrics to monitor. Read chapter 7 of the vSphere Monitoring and Performance documentation as well as Duncan Epping’s esxtop blog and the VMware Communities document “Interpreting esxtop Statistics”. One final note, if you don’t have one already create a VMworld account and view “Troubleshooting using ESXTOP for Advanced Users”, session TA6720 from VMworld 2010 (free for anyone to view).

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