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How To Use vimtop – Check vCenter Server Appliance Performance

As you may already aware, there won’t be any numbered version of the Windows based vCenter Server and you have to start using the VMware vCenter Server Appliance in the future. With the use of the VCSA you might need to check the performance issues in your vCenter Server Appliance and here is a great tool which you can use to check the performance of the appliance. Actually, it’s the vCenter version for the ESXTOP.

If you are familiar with ESXITOP then this might not be a big deal, but having knowledge with vimtop might be really useful when you are checking the performance statistics in their vCenter Server Appliances. Basically, it’s a command line tool and ssh or bash shell should be enabled prior to start the vimtop tool.

To enable the ssh in the appliance you can use the management interface (VAMI) or vSphere Web client, to enable ssh with vSphere web client just follow these steps to access the System Configuration: Home > System Configuration > Nodes > Select the vCenter Node > Manage > Access and can be enabled the service simply editing the access options.

Once one of these services are enabled open up a SSH session using putty or any ssh other ssh client and type “vimtop” in the appliance shell

This window will appear on the interface, this is much similar to the ESXITOP output

up/down” and “left/right” arrow keys can be used to select the rows and columns of the output window

To get the help menu type letter “H“, these details are self explanatory and respective letter is within the brackets

This menu will appear on the screen and keys which can be used with vimtop will be displayed and explained. Use letter “H” again to exit from the menu

These are the Options displayed in the Help menu

Key (case doesn’t matter) Description
h/H show/hide Help message
^- & -v select item(row) and scroll the list of available rows
PGUP & PGDOWN select first/last row and scroll the list to the beginning/end
+/- expand/colapse currently selected item(row)
select column and scroll the viewport
HOME & END select first/last column and scroll the viewport to the beginning/end
ESC clear selection or return to main view
DEL remove currently selected column
move left & right currently selected column
l/L set column length (width)
x/X set default column length (width)
z/Z clear current sort order
a/A add selected column in ascending order or to switch column to ascending order62.86
d/D add selected column in descending order or to switch column to descending order.49
c/C add new columns
n/N show/hide name headers
u/U show/hide units in header

vimtop output is real time updating and letter “P” key can pause the output, it’s really useful when you are reading the output values

Value refresh period can be changed with letter “s” key and small menu will appear at the bottom of the window

Type the value for the refresh interval in seconds as below, I just typed 23 as an example

You can write the configuration output to a xml file and it will be stored under /root/vimtop directory. By default directory is empty

Use “W” key to write the config file to a xml file and store it in the /root/vimtop directory

xml file will be created

To see the statistics of the running Processes use letter “r” key

Use letter “k” key to see the Disks performances and Statistics

Statistics will be displayed as below

To view the Network Statistics and Performance use letter “o” key in the keyboard

Network statistics will be displayed as below

Page up and down keys can be used to go to the top and bottom of the columns as below

Page Up” key is to select the top raw of the output

Page Down” key to select the bottom raw of the output

Use “m” to see the memory statistics and it will display at the top of the output

Letter “n” to hide the Name headers and display the headers

Once it hide the Name Headers it will look like this

To add the new columns in the respective statistics section use “c” key, a new menu will appear as below and select the section which needs to be added and hit “Space Bar” to add/hide columns

Once you add the column it will display as below

These columns can be added to the output in the process section

Column Name Description
PID Process identifier
CMD Command name used to start the process as it is seen by the under
CMDLINE The full command line of this process, used during startup
NAME User readable name of the process5.16
THREADS Number of native threads currently running in the process
%CPU Current CPU usage in percent for this process
MHZ Current CPU usage in MHz for this process
CPU Total CPU time used by the process during last measurement cycle
SYS CPU time spent by process in the system (kernel) routines
USR CPU time spent by process in the user land
%MEM Physical memory usage in percent for this process
MEM Physical (resident) memory used by this process
VIRT Total virtual memory size of this process (the complete working set including resident and swapped memory)
SHR Size of the shared code – these are any shared objects (so or DLL) loaded by the process
TEXT Code segment size of the process without any shared libraries
DATA Data segment size of the process (for managed process, like JVM, this includes the managed code also)
FD Total number of file descriptors opened by the process
FILS Number of all file objects opened by the process (sum of files, directories and links)
FILE Number of regular files currently opened by the process
DIR Number of directories currently opened by the process
LNK Number of symbolic links currently opened by the process
DEVS Number of devices (char or block) opened by the process
CHAR Number of descriptors opened to character devices
BLCK Number of descriptors opened to block devices
CHNS Number of all communication channels opened by the process (eithe sockets or FIFOs)
SCKS Number of sockets (TCP, UDP, raw) currently opened by the process
FIFO Pipes (named or not) opened by the process

These Columns can be added in the disks statistics section

Column Name Description
DISK/PART Storage disk identifier / Disk partition identifier
IOS Number of I/O operations currently in progress on this partition (should go to zero)
IOTIME Milliseconds spent doing I/O operations on this partition (increases or a nonzero number of I/O operations)
LAT Partition access latency (in milliseconds) calculated using the total amount of time spend doing I/O divided by the total amount of I/O oprations, done during last measurement interval / Disk access latency (in milliseconds) calculated using the total amount of time spend doing I/O divided by the total amount of I/O operations, done during last measurement interval
READS Number of reads issued to this partition and completed successfully during last measurement interval
RDMRG Adjacent to each other reads on this partition, merged for efficiency / Adjacent to each other reads on this, merged for efficiency
READ Number of reads per second issued to this partition / Number reads per second issued to this disk
RDSCTRS Number of sectors read successfully from this partition during last measurement interval / Number of sectors read successfully from this disk during last measurement interval
WRITES Number of writes issued to this partition and completed successfully during last measurement interval / Number of writes issued to this disk and completed successfully during last measurement interval
WRMRG Adjacent to each other writes on this partition, merged for efficiency / Adjacent to each other writes on this disk, merged for efficiency
WRITE Number of writes per second issued to this partition / Number of writes per second issued to this disk
WRSCTRS Number of sectors wrote successfully to this partition during last measurement interval / Number of sectors wrote successfully to this disk during last measurement interval

These Columns can be added in the Network Statistics Section

Column Name Description
TRGPT Total throughput of this interface (Rx + Tx) in kilobytes
RATE The activity of this network interface in kBps
RXED Amount of data (in kilobytes) received during last measurement interval
RXRATE Rate of received data through this interface in kBps
TXED Amount of data (in kilobytes) transmitted during last measurement interval
TXRATE Rate of data transmission through this interface in kBps
RXMCAST Number of multicast packets received on this interface during last measurement interval
RXDROP Number of data rx-packets dropped during last measurement interval
TXDROP Number of data packets dropped upon transmission during last measurement interval
DROPPED Number of dropped packets through this network interface because of running out of buffers during last measurement cycle
ERRS Total number of faults (Tx and Rx) on this interface rface
RXERRS The sum of receive errors, rx-fifo errors and rx-frame errors
TXERRS The sum of transmit errors, tx-fifo errors and carrier errors
FIFOERRS FIFO overrun errors on this interface caused by host being busy to serve the NIC hardware
CLLSNS Collisions detected on the transmission medium

To select the Optimal column width use “x” key

Set the columns to the ascending order use letter “a” key, for descending order use “d” key. This is how it looks like

To display the output in white use “`” key and it will look like this

The usage of the vimtop will depend on the situation and I hope this article will provide an insight of the usage of vimtop tool.

Article Short Link: https://tcrum.net/usevimtop

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How To Use vimtop – Check vCenter Server Appliance Performance
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Aruna Lakmal

Associate Technical Lead at Pearson, Sri Lanka. Technology junky, enthusiast, a VMware vExpert and a blogger with more than 6 years of Experience in Information Technology more focusing on VMware Virtualization, Microsoft and Datacenter Technologies.

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