What's new in RVTools 4 for VMware vSphere?

The very popular free tool RVTools for VMware vSphere has recently been updated to version 4.04. This new release brings some new features and enhances a very complete product. RVTools helps to point out an unwanted configuration or detect misconfigurations by showing you details about different parts of the infrastructure. The utility is distributed as freeware. It must be installed on a Windows system with Microsoft .NET Framework.

RVTools uses the VMware vSphere Management Software developer kit (SDK) and CIS REST API to display information about your vSphere environment. The tool is compatible even with very old VMware ESX 4 up to the latest vSphere 7 and can connect either to vCenter Server or directly to individual ESXi hosts.

The utility provides detailed information about many parts of the virtual infrastructure, such as VMs, CPU, memory, physical or virtual disks, partitions, network, floppies/CD-ROM drives, snapshots, VMware Tools and version, and much more. The tool is used by IT consultants and VMware admins to gather detailed information about their infrastructure.

The information displayed is available for export to either a CSV or an XLSX file. If exporting as XLSX, you can benefit from the merge operation and have a single file with multiple XLSX tabs within a single report.

There are 25 tabs available that provide information about the infrastructure. We won't be able to show you all of them, but you get the idea. For example, the first vInfo tab shows detailed information about running VMs.

RVTools vInfo tab

RVTools vInfo tab

As you can see, there is a horizontal scrollbar so the image above doesn't even display half the objects available for that particular tab. After installation, which takes only a few minutes, you launch the application and you're asked about the connection.

The connection to your infrastructure ^

You can connect to a single ESXi or to the vCenter Server where all infrastructure information is gathered from vCenter. Just provide the IP address or the fully qualified domain name (FQDN), user name, and password.

RV Tools 4

RV Tools 4

One interesting tab is the vSnapshot tab. It shows you whether your infrastructure VMs are running with snapshots and provides detailed information such as name, date, and description.

The example below provides a snapshot of a VM that has been created automatically by our vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) and that this snapshot will not be deleted automatically.

Information about snapshots including their description

Information about snapshots including their description

Snapshots should not be kept for long, as they occupy lots of space on storage and cause performance issues. My lab is a perfect example of what not to do. However, I needed some snapshots for the purpose of this article, so it's perfectly normal. And don't forget, it's just a lab, not a production infrastructure.

Another example of infrastructure misconfiguration that does not follow VMware best practices is perhaps the vHost tab.

You can see on the image below that one of our hosts is configured with the High Performance CPU power policy, but the other three hosts are set only as Balanced. The thing to do, of course, is put the CPU settings on High Performance in order to archive the best possible performance from an ESXi host.

Again, this is a lab example of how this tool can help you detect performance issues across the overall infrastructure.

Example of misconfiguration detection on ESXi

Example of misconfiguration detection on ESXi

What's New in the latest version of RVTools 4.0.4? ^

The latest version includes some enhancements, such as new columns for existing tabs. The new columns are usually added in each release, making the horizontal scrollbar wider and wider.

  • Upgraded RVTools solution to use VMware vSphere Management SDK 7.0
  • vInfo new columns: Virtual machine tags and min Required EVC mode key
  • vCPU new columns: Virtual machine tags
  • vMemory new columns: Virtual machine tags and Memory Reservation Locked To Max
  • vDisk new columns: Virtual machine tags
  • vPartition new columns: Virtual machine tags
  • vNetwork new columns: Virtual machine tags
  • vSnapshot new columns: Virtual machine tags
  • vTools new columns: Virtual machine tags
  • vRP new columns: Resource pool tags and object ID
  • vCluster new columns: Cluster tags, custom attributes, and object ID
  • vHost new columns: Host tags in maintenance mode and in quarantine mode
  • dvSwitch new columns: Distributed VirtualSwitch tags, custom attributes, and object ID
  • dvPort new columns: Distributed VirtualSwitch port group tags and object ID
  • vDatastore new columns: Datastore tags, custom attributes, and object ID

vHealth tab ^

One of the most important tabs is vHealth. This tab shows the most obvious misconfigurations and errors you might find in the VMware infrastructure.

Not only did it find our old snapshots, but it also informed us about old VMware tools or that the NTP service was not running on one of our hosts.

In our case, the lab is really small and running only nested ESXi hosts. But imagine you are in charge of large infrastructure or you took over on infrastructure that has not been managed for several months/years.

Export to Excel ^

One of the main functions allowing you to export all. You simply go to File > Export All and let the magic happen. It triggers an export where all the TABs, one after another, are highlighted and exported to a single XLSX file.

Export ALL to Excel

Export ALL to Excel

Final words ^

RVTools is a very popular free utility with great value for VMware administrators. It's not easy to manage large infrastructures with little or no budget. RVTools gives you every information you need. It would take you quite a few clicks to gather the necessary information if you'd proceed manually via the vSphere client.

While it provides all the details and even shows you misconfigurations, the tool is unable to proceed with changes by itself. Human intervention is necessary to change the values.

You can download the latest RVTools from www.robware.net. The owner's name is Rob de Veij, and he has worked with VMware infrastructure since the inception of RVTools.

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