VMware LABS is a portal for smart developers at VMware to share cool tools. Those guys also have an interesting sense of humor as well, they called the share repository ‘flings‘ that they defined as “a brief casual relationship“. The “flings” are skunkworks and ideas by VMware engineers that are not yet part of product offering but freely available. Good to know 🙂 I encourage you to subscribe to their mailing list or just follow them on Twitter.

Currently there are 10 tools available of which I will present 4 that I really like and find useful in my day to day VMware admin job.

  1. ESXPLOT is a GUI based tool that lets you explore the data collected by esxtop in batch mode. The program loads files of this data and presents it as a hierarchical tree where the values are selectable in the left panel of the tool, graphs of the selected metrics are plotted in the right panel. Esxplot allows you to “browse” the contents of these somewhat unwieldy files. You can plot up to 16 metrics on the same canvas and export the graphs to a gif, jpg, png or bmp file format. Subsets of the data can be worked with by using the regex query box which will produce a subtree that can be browsed or exported as a csv file which can, in turn, be loaded into esxplot, PERFMON or Excel.
  2. Onyx is a standalone application that serves as a proxy between the vSphere Client and the vCenter Server. It monitors the network communication between them and translates it into an executable PowerShell code. Later this code could be modified and saved into a reusable function or script. If you’re not a script guru ala Alan Renouf or LucD, but much more a script kiddie (like me) you may find this tool very cool. You produce a reusable piece of code of your mouse&click actions.
  3. vApprun Until now, these features have been exclusive to vSphere 4, but with VMware vApprun, these features become available to both Workstation and Fusion users. The vApprun tool implements the same vApp/OVF feature set as the vSphere 4 release. Thus, Workstation/Fusion can be used as a development environment for advanced OVF packages, and it can be used to evaluate and test OVF packages on your desktops and laptops. Use the following references to learn more about vApps, the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), and virtual appliances:
  4. VGC VMware Guest Console is an application to manage the Guest Operating Systems installed on a VM. VGC includes a Unified Task Manager, Guest file system explorer, Snapshot Manager and a VM Manager. VGC is supported with vmware server and desktop products like vSphere, Server 2.0 and Workstation and can connect to multiple hosts simultaneously. VMware Guest Console has the following features :
    1. Task Manager
      • Lists processes running in the Guest.
      • Start new programs in the Guest
      • End running processes in the Guest
    2. Mass Deployment <- I like this feature!
      • Copy programs or scripts to multiple guests and execute them.
      • Useful for things like antivirus installation, agent deployment, test deployment etc
    3. File Explorer
      • Provides an interface to access and manage the Guest file system
      • Copy files from host to guest and vice-versa
      • Copy files between guests running on any machine
      • Also supports other basic file system operations like delete, rename etc
    4. Snapshot Manager. Displays a comprehensive TREE and LIST view of snapshots on all VMs on all connected hosts. Supports snapshot operations like Create, Delete and Revert with a single user action
      • on a single VM
      • or all the VMs on a host
      • or on all the VMs on all connected hosts
    5. Mass operations like “delete” can be performed on dynamically selected group of snapshots based on a criteria like snapshot names, creation time, power state etc.

    6. VM Manager
      • Displays vital statistics of GuestOS like OS type/version, IP Address, Tools build number, Guest Uptime, Logged In user etc
      • Displays vital statistics of VM like Power State, CPU count, Memory, Hardware Version, Storage path etc
      • Dynamic teaming allows Mass Power operations, Deployment and Snapshot operations on VMs from different hosts/products.
    7. Inventory. All the information displayed in the VM Manager, Snapshot Manager and Task Manager can be saved for inventory purposes.


About PiroNet

Didier Pironet is an independent blogger and freelancer with +15 years of IT industry experience. Didier is also a former VMware inc. employee where he specialised in Datacenter and Cloud Infrastructure products as well as Infrastructure, Operations and IT Business Management products. Didier is passionate about technologies and he is found to be a creative and a visionary thinker, expressing with passion and excitement, hopefully inspiring and enrolling people to innovation and change.
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