VMware is probably the first name that comes to your mind when you think of virtualization. And rightly so, as it’s one of the forerunners of this technology. However, one small downside with VMware is that it doesn’t give you much information about your virtual environment. This is where a utility like RVTools comes into play.
What is RVTools?
RVTools is a VMware utility that uses VI SDK to give you all the information you need about your virtual environment. It connects to your vCenter server to gather this information for you.
This is a free tool created by Rob de Veij and it works well for all VMware vSphere and V13 computing environments.
How do I to install RVTools?
The installation process is fairly simple.
- As a first step, download it for free from the creator’s website.
- Next, run the executable file, which is RVtools.msi. This will open the wizard, and as with every installation process, accept the terms and conditions.
- In the next screen, choose the path for installation. Also, decide if this should be visible only for you or for everyone who uses the computer.
- Once this is done, the installer will begin the installation process.
- You’ll get a notification when the installation is done. Simply click on “close” to close this installation wizard.
You can open this tool from your start menu. Navigate to Start Menu -> All Programs -> RVTools
Enter your IP address, username, and password to connect to the vCenter. You can also connect directly to VMware ESXi hosts, if you prefer that.
How do I to use RVTools?
As soon as you log in, you can see all the information about your virtual environment in the home screen.
Click on File ->Export to Excel option to get all this data in an Excel format you can use in a spreadsheet. Information under each tab will be exported to the corresponding tab on your Excel sheet. Moving data really doesn’t get easier than this, and this is partly why this tool is so popular among virtualization enthusiasts.
Use filters when you want to view specific information only. Go to View ->Filter or use Ctrl + F to see the different filter options. Alternately, navigate to the VM option to get a glimpse of the kind of information you can get through this tool.
The ESX option in your navigation menu displays information about different hosts while the Health menu tells you if the virtual environment is working well or not. You can even navigate to Health -> Properties to choose the parameters that define good health for you.
Your choices include:
- CDROM is connected to the VM
- Floppy drive is connected to the VM
- VM has an active snapshot
- VMware tools status not “toolsOK”
- Zombie files are present on the datastore
- Inconsistent folder names are found
- Free disk capacity in guest is less than a percentage you specify
- Free disk capacity in datastore is less than a percentage you specify
- The number of running virtual CPUs per core is greater than the number you specify
- The number of running VMs per datastore is greater than the number you specify
You can check or uncheck any of these options and, based on this, the health of a virtual environment is assessed.
Overall, this tool is simple to use and fairly self-explanatory.
What information does RVTools gather?
RVTools gathers a ton of information and puts it under different categories, so it’s easy to look up info on any specific area.
Typically, the information is grouped under different tabs, as you can see in the image. We’ll now take a brief look into the different tabs and the information they contain.
vInfo gives details about the virtual machine such as its name, power state, template, DNS name, config status, heartbeat, guest state, connection state, number of CPUs, memory levels, number of virtual disks, network connections, fault tolerance, HW version, configuration path, custom fields, ESX host name, cluster name, and just about everything else you need about the virtual machine.
vCPU, as the name suggests, gives you information about the CPUs connected to the virtual machine. This includes the number of sockets, the number of cores per socket, overall usage of each CPU, limits, static and distributed CPU entitlement, and more.
vMemory displays information about each virtual machine’s memory size, memory overhead, amount of private, shared, active, ballooned, distributed, swapped, and entitlement memory, maximum memory usage, and consumed overhead.
vDisk provides details about virtual disks, full disk capacity, split flag, SCSI controller, disk persistence mode, and more.
vPartition gives information about the virtual machine if the VMware tools are active. Some of the information it displays include the name of the virtual machine, its power state, capacity of the disk, custom fields, operating system name according to VMware tools, and ESX host name.
This tab gives information about the network such as the adapter type, network name, IP address, switch name, and connected value.
Under this tab, you’ll find information pertaining to the floppy such as device node, device type, connected value, datacenter name, ESX host name, and other pertinent information. You have the option to disconnect the floppy disk through this screen.
Like vFloppy, this gives information about the CD-ROM drive and includes attributes such as device name, device type, start connected value, custom fields, annotations, and connected value. As with vFloppy, you can disconnect a CD-ROM from this tab.
vSnapshot gives a snapshot of the virtual machine. Here, you can learn more about the virtual machine hardware version, tools version, upgradeable flag, sync time, app status, kernel crash state, interactive guest, and more.
vRP gives information about the resource pool of your virtual machine. Name, number of virtual machines, status, CPU limit, CPU overhead limit, CPU max usage, memory overhead limit, memory reservation for virtual machine, CPU demand statistics, guest memory usage statistics, CPU unreserved for pool, CPU shares, CPU level, and memory reservation used are some of the information related to resource pool that you’ll find in this tab.
vCluster displays information about each cluster such as the cluster name, config status, hyperthread information, number of NICs, number of HBAs number of VMs per core on this cluster, the number of virtual CPUs, vMotion support flag, vRam, boot time, and number of cores.
vHBA gives information such as host name, datacenter name, cluster name, device name, device type, driver model name, worldwide name, bus number, PCI address, and device type.
vNIC provides data related to a physical network such as host name, datacenter name, cluster name, network name, driver, device type, switch, speed, duplex switch, virtual switch name, wake on switch, MAC address, and PCI ID.
vSwitch pertains to every virtual switch and includes name of the switch, number of ports, number of free ports, traffic shaping flag, width, peak, burst, reverse policy flag, rolling order, notify switching value, support flag, and maximum transmission unit size.
vPort gives information about each port. Cluster name, port group, VLAN ID, mac address changed allowed value, name of the virtual switch that’s associated with the port, teaming policy, and offload flag are some of the details it provides.
dvSwitch provides data about the distributed virtual switch. It tells us about the following attributes: distributed switch name, port group type, number of ports, speed, full duplex switch, active uplink, standby uplink, live port moving switch, check beacon, check error percentage flag, check duplex flag, check speed flag, block override flag, config reset switch, and security policy override switch.
vSC + VMK
This tab displays details about the console and VM kernel. Specifically, it tells us DHCP flag, IP address, IP 6 address, subnet mask, gateway address, and gateway IP 6 address.
vDatastore relates to each datastore and gives details about config status, connectivity status, file system, total capacity in MBs, shared storage, used storage, SIOC enabled flag, block size, max blocks, and number of datastores on each virtual machine.
This tab displays information about all datastores for each host. Display name, policy, operational state, paths, path states, vStorage support, and more are available for you.
As the name suggests, this tab provides information about your licenses. Name of the licensed product, license key, labels, cost unit, expiration date, used licenses, and features are shown.
All health-related messages are displayed in this tab. There is a total of 19 health-related messages and these are what you define in Health->Properties. The status of each of the property that you had set earlier is displayed.
In all, these different tabs give all the information you need to understand your virtual machine and its functioning.
Are you ready to try it?
RVTools is a free and handy VMware utility that gives you in-depth details about your virtual environment. It is easy to install and everything you need is encapsulated under different tabs.
However, this 4.4MB tool works only on Windows as it’s a .NET program that uses VI SDK to display all this information.
Have you tried it? Please give us your experience in the comments section.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
6 thoughts on “RVtools for VMware: In-depth guide to this essential utility”
very informative and usefull
Essential information with respect to VM’s..Thank you
I have a doubt that the RV Tools can able to generate IDLE VMS in ESXI clusters.
Like The vms are not used for long time( login, No Application running )
Can we use RVTools to generate VMs uptime report ? if yes how to create monthly uptime report
Seriously do you call this an in depth guide? Please call it an introduction or something similar.
I agree. I don’t think they know what “in-depth” really means.