What is the Best Performance Monitoring Application for VMware ESX Server?

As you know, VMware ESX Server and the Virtual Infrastructure Client does have some basic performance monitoring tools. While these built-in tools may look “fancy”, once you start using them in a production environment, you will quickly find that you need more. I caution you that you want to make sure that you find a performance monitoring application that is VMware ESX / VMware Infrastructure specific – more generic but well known performance monitoring tools like Cacti, NetIQ, or Microsoft MOM just won’t do the job. So what is the best performance monitoring tool for VMware ESX Server? Let’s find out…

How can vCharter help you monitor Performance?

After having looked around for performance monitoring applications for my production VMware ESX Server farm, I believe I have found what I believe is the best performance monitoring application for VMware ESX Server. That application is Vizioncore’s vCharter.

But what is vCharter and how can it help you? Before I offer my opinion, let me offer the description that Vizioncore (the creator of vCharter) uses to describe vCharter. According to Vizioncore,

“vCharter is the only comprehensive monitoring tool for VMware ESX Server that goes “under the hood” to provide a real-time and historical monitoring and performance control solution for your virtual environments.”

In general, I would have to agree with that. To me, the key word there is “comprehensive”. While you may be able to find other performance packages for VMware ESX Server, I think that you will find that vCharter is truly the most comprehensive. I believe that by the end of this article, you will see that for yourself.

While I know that this article may sound biased toward vCharter and, yes, Vizioncore is a sponsor of this website, I am offering my opinions from experience and from the heart. I would not be talking about vCharter if I didn’t truly believe it was the best performance product available.

What are the benefits of vCharter?

Here are the benefits of using vCharter:

  • Top-down view of your VMware ESX Servers and their performance stats
  • Drilldown capabilities from the top down into the very most detailed performance information available for your VMware ESX host and guest systems
  • Runs on a Windows host system and there is nothing to install on the VMware ESX Server Host or Guest systems
  • Alerting can be configured for just about any performance information shown on the screen
  • Reporting can be generated and automatically emailed to administrators
  • Chargeback and capacity planning reports can be generated

What does vCharter look like?

While vCharter appears to be a simple application when you first start it, you will quickly find that, while it is easy to use, it can also drill down into very detailed performance statistics. To start using vCharter, you just add your VMware ESX Server host systems and begin monitoring them. Initially, you will just look at all the typical performance statistics – CPU, RAM, DISK, and NETWORK. From there, you can drilldown from that high level into all the detailed VMware ESX Server Host and Guest performance statistics that you could ever need. Let me show you what vCharter looks like:

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In the graphic above, you can see the ESX Server Performance overview that vCharter initially provides. With this, you are looking at real-time stats for your ESX Server.

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In the next graphic, you can see that I have drilled down into more detailed networking utilizations information for a single ESX server. I can choose to get performance information on just a single VMNIC card and I can see the send (Tx) and received (Rx) throughput and packets for each of those virtual NICs.

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In this next graphic, you can see how I can run a capacity report for all of my ESX Server systems or just individual systems. Unlike the limited time frame offered by the VMware Virtual Infrastructure client, with vCharter, I can go back into the past hour, day, week, month, year, or a custom time range.

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In this final graphic, you can see how I can even drill down into the utilization of the processes running inside the VMware ESX Server service console. I am also able drill down into the utilization of running processes for every ESX Server Guest virtual machine running on my ESX Servers – very powerful!

In Summary

In summary, I was very impressed with Vizioncore’s vCharter. It did exactly what it claimed to do, it was easy to install, and easy to monitor the performance of my VMware ESX Server Host and Guest systems. As I did, I encourage you to try out the free evaluation version of the vCharter for VMware Infrastructure. You can download either vCharter by itself or you can find it in the vEssentials Bundle.