Gather VMware environment information with RVTools

IT pro Rick Vanover recommends admins check out RVTools, a free and quick way to navigate the vSphere environment.

RVTools displays information from the VMware SDK. This free tool created by Rob de Veij is a handy way to quickly get information about the VMware environment. RVTools works for all modern VMware vSphere and VI3 environments.

The installation of RVTools is straightforward. Once the product is installed, you can connect to a vCenter Server (or directly to a host), as shown in Figure A. Figure A

RVTools will immediately provide useful information about the vSphere environment. The vHealth tab was particularly helpful to my home lab because it identified files that were not mapped to an active virtual machine (Figure B). This is likely due to the fact that a virtual machine was removed from inventory but not deleted from disk. This may seem harmless, but having unused virtual machine disk files (VMDKs) stored on disk when they are not inventoried in the vSphere Client is a very easy way to consume disk space. Figure B

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RVTools can also provide some insight into the virtual machine configuration. One of the configuration elements I like to have on my current virtual machines is the automatic upgrade of VMware Tools at power-on. While I'd like this value to catch and update itself during a reboot, the current functionality allows VMware Tools to upgrade during a power-on event of the virtual machine. The option to enable this is the check box to Check And Upgrade Tools During Power Cycling, which is in the Properties of a virtual machine in the VMware Tools section. RVTools can display all virtual machines, including this important value, with the Upgrade Policy column (Figure C). Figure C

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There are a number of other properties that RVTools can display, including snapshot information, what CD-ROM and floppy drives are mounted to virtual machines, and a view of all of the MAC addresses assigned to the virtual machines. The RVTools interface also makes it easy to copy and paste data out of the tool, which is handy for documentation and troubleshooting.

If you use RVTools in your vSphere environments, let us know what you think about the free tool.