January 12, 2009 - Sven Huisman

Run esxtop on ESXi from VIMA

When it comes to troubleshooting on VMware ESX, esxtop is a tool that always comes in handy. CPU, memory, network and disk-related problems can be pinpointed with esxtop. Unfortunately, esxtop must be executed from the service console and my ESXi server doesn’t have that. I was looking for a way to use esxtop with ESXi and I found out that you can use resxtop. resxtop is the Remote CLI version of esxtop.

Remote CLI commands allow you to perform many of the operations you might currently perform using the ESX Server 3 service console. Remote CLI commands are especially useful for an ESX Server 3i host because it does not include a service console.

So what are my options:

  • I can install a Remote CLI package on one server, which could become the administration server for all ESX(i) Server hosts.
  • Download the Remote CLI virtual appliance and import it into a VirtualCenter Server or ESX Server host. The Remote CLI virtual appliance is a virtual machine prepackaged with a pared-down Linux operating system, the VI Perl Toolkit, and all Remote CLI commands.
  • Download VIMA. The VMware Infrastructure Management Assistant (VIMA) is a virtual machine which includes prepackaged software that developers and administrators can use to run agents and scripts to manage ESX and ESXi systems. The remote CLI is included with VIMA.

I was already running th VIMA appliance, so it wasn’t hard to decide which option I should go for.

As I already registered my ESXi server with VIMA, all I had to do was log in to VIMA and execute the following command:

resxtop.sh –server esx01.domain.local

There are some  known issues with running resxtop through VIMA:

Some Remote CLI commands do not support vi-fastpass
Description: The svmotion, vmware-cmd, and resxtop Remote CLI commands do not support vi-fastpass.
Workaround: You can still execute the commands as Remote CLIs. Set up a connection to the target server using a session file or environment variable. For svmotion and vmware-cmd, you can specify the –username and –password options when you execute the command. See the next issue for using these options in conjunction with resxtop.

After vi-fastpass has been set up, resxtop does not work correctly with other servers
Description: If you set up some target servers for VIMA and run resxtop.sh –server myTarget, the command succeeds with a minor error that you can ignore. However, if you attempt to run resxtop using the –server, –username, –password options supported for all Remote CLIs, the command fails.
Login to VIMA
Unset the following variables by issuing the following commands:

Now run resxtop.sh
Cannot run resxtop in replay mode using VIMA
Description: Running resxtop in replay mode using VIMA is not supported.
Workaround: No workaround. Note, however, that resxtop is supported in interactive mode.

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