esxtop advanced features

No rocket science here. esxtop has always been there. Yet a lot of people miss out on some of its great features. Hopefully this blogpost will get you interested in looking at esxtop (again?) in detail!

Yesterday I attended a very interesting breakout session about esxtop and its advanced features in vSphere. Old news you might say, but there is SO much you can do with esxtop. For example, you can export data from esxtop and import them in Windows perfmon. And if you did know that, then for example, did you know you can now actually see which physic NIC is being used by a certain VM?

Other neat little features were shown. The best one being that the “swcur” field is actually NOT about the current swapping activity of a VM, but swapping that occured in the past (yes, I too would have called it differently…). How many of you knew that one? Finally, a very interesting field in the storage screen (yes for those who did not know that one, esxtop is not just about CPU, but also memory, storage, and new in vSphere… Interrupts) ). This field is called “DAVG” and this shows the actual latency seen by ESX to your storage (and also KAVG for kernel latency and GAVG for the total latency the guest sees).

There were also a few examples of misbehaving VMs which was very interesting to see. Numbers which seemed not possible, yet explained perfectly. I would like to vote this very last presentation at VMworld 2009 the best technical presentation I witnessed there!

I hope I got you (re)interested in esxtop. I am more of a graphical guy, so I like the performance monitor embedded within the VI client. But some things just aren’t there. So esxtop is definitely worth a(nother) look. If you’re using ESXi, make sure to download the vMA appliance (here) which has resxtop included (which looks a lot like esxtop on ESX).

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