Tools and utilities simplify the day to day administrative tasks for VMware Administrator. We can’t expect to manage and repair the car without a screwdriver and spanner. As similar to that, you shouldn’t expect to manage the VMware infrastructure without some of the important tools. These tools are essential sysadmin tools for VMware administrators. This article lists the top 21 Must-have VMware admin tools which are necessary to carry out the daily operations of VMware infrastructure. Usually choosing the favorite tool varies from user to user. Since choosing one best tool in each category is very difficult so I have included 1 0r 2 tools which are in the same category in the below list. These Must-have VMware admin tools lists are carved out from my experience in managing VMware infrastructure. I have personally used all of this sysadmin tools in my daily job. I decided to list them out for my readers.
1.VMware Workstation & VMware Workstation Player
VMware Workstation and VMware Workstation player helps us to create completed isolated, secure virtual machines that encapsulate an operating system and its application. Both can be installed on your desktop or Laptop. For anyone who wants to start with VMware Virtualization, either VMware Workstation or VMware Player could be the starting point. Using VMware Workstation and VMware Player, admin can set up the test lab and test the configuration changes before applying it to the real infrastructure. Even though I have my virtual lab with high compute blade and rack servers, my personal preference is installing ESXi on my laptop using VMware Workstation. It allows me to play with my ESXi hosts even during my flight travel.
Take a look at my article on comparison between VMware Workstation Pro and VMware Workstation Player
VMware Converter is the free utility from VMware which helps to convert your Windows and Linux based physical machines and third-party image formats such as backup images, also other virtual machines to VMware virtual machines. VMware vCenter Converter converts local and remote physical machines into virtual machines without any downtime.
VMware Converter standalone has Centralized management console allows you to queue up and monitor many simultaneous conversions, both local and remote, such as in headquarters and branch offices. In addition to the P2V conversion, VMware Converter can also be used to perform Virtual to Virtual (v2v) migrations too. Not only for migration purposes, You can use VMware Converter to other tasks such as shrink the VMDK size and Downgrade Virtual Machine Hardware Version
Take a look at my article How to Perform P2V and V2V migration using VMware Workstation
3.Putty & MobaXterm
PuTTY is a free secure shell or SSH client that you can use to connect and manage your ESXi hosts, vCenter Server appliance and other VMware appliances such as NSX Manager, vRelaize Log insight, the vSphere Replication manager, etc from the command line. I am sure every VMware admin would have used Putty atleast once in their lifetime to manage their vSphere hosts. It is one of the unavoidable and Must-have VMware admin tools for VMware administrators.
MobaXterm is the ultimate toolbox for programmers, webmasters, IT administrators who want to perform the remote administration of servers in a simplified fashion. I use MobaXterm to remotely manage my ESXi hosts and virtual machines such as Windows and Linux guest operating system from my Windows laptop. It simplified my ESXi host command line administration in a very simplified way. No need for multiple tools for performing multiple operations such as SSH, File copy, and transfer, RDP to windows and Telnet, etc. All are bundled under one tool called MobaXterm.
Take a look at my article MobaXterm – Free Administrative Tool to Simplify Remote System Administration
4.WinSCP & Veeam FastSCP
WinSCP is a free and open-source SFTP, FTP, WebDAV and SCP client for Microsoft Windows. Its main function is secure file transfer between a local and a remote computer. Most of the VMware admins aware about Winscp. I use WinSCP to transfer the VM-support files generated on the ESXi host to my desktop to get it upload it to VMware Support to analyze the logs of my ESXi host. Apart from that, Copying driver files, VIB files and installer files into ESXi host, vCenter appliance and other VMware appliances from my desktop.
Take a look at my article if you face issue with connecting vCenter Server appliance using WinSCP
Veeam FastSCP can copy files over 6 times faster than WinSCP and other SCP-based tools as it uses full network capacity. The Veeam FastSCP engine also features traffic compression and empty block removal for best file copy performance.Veeam FastSCP uses SSH as a control channel to generate a one-time username and password for each file transfer session. Veeam FastSCP does not require putting ESXi into “unsupported” mode or compromise its security by enabling additional services.
VMware PowerCLI is a powerful command-line tool that lets you automate all aspects of vSphere management, including network, storage, VM, guest OS and more. You can use PowerCLI scripts to perform automation of your day to day tasks. It saves a lot of effort and time of VMware administrators. It is one of the must-have VMware admin tools for administrators to automate the vSphere Management.
Take a look at some of my PowerCLI Scripts
PowerCLI Script – Report datastore free space Percentage
PowerCLI Script – Report Powered off VM’s older than 30 days
PowerCLI Script – Retrieve VM Memory Hot add & CPU Hot Plug Status
PowerCLI Script to Collect Datastore Usage Report
6.Cross vCenter VM Mobility – CLI
With the recent past, I am getting a lot of requests in my infrastructure to perform vMotion and clone of virtual machines across vCenter Servers. From vSphere 6.0, the vSphere HTML5 Web Client allows users to perform Cross-VC operations like migration and cloning if two VCs are linked. If VCs are not linked, users cannot view the infrastructure across multiple VCs and thus, cannot utilize this functionality through UI.
Cross vCenter VM Mobility – CLI is a command line interface (CLI) tool that can be used to migrate or clone a VM from one host to another host managed by a linked or isolated vCenter (VC) instance. It has been built using vSphere Java-based SDK APIs. Cross vCenter VM Mobility -CLI is a Free tool (Fling from VMware).This Fling provides a way for users to access this vSphere feature through simple CLI commands. It also supports cross-cluster placement and shared storage vMotion between two VCs.
Take a look at my article vSphere 6.0 vMotion Enhancements – vMotion Across vSwitches and vCenter Servers
7.Cross vCenter Workload Migration Utility
GUI always simplify the life of administrators especially Windows-based administrators like me. Cross vCenter Workload Migration utility is the GUI based utility allows users to easily migrate virtual machines in bulk from a graphical user interface between vCenter Servers (same & different SSO Domains supported) using the Cross-vCenter vMotion feature. This great tools also a Fling from VMware and contributed by our VMware SuperHero Willaim Lam and Vishal Gupta.
Below are the some of the Key Features:
- Completely UI-driven workflow for VM migration
- Provides REST API for managing migration operations
- Works with vCenter not a part of the same SSO domain
- Support for batch migration of multiple VMs in parallel
- Supports both hot as well as cold migration of VMs
- Performs storage vMotion, not requiring shared storage
- Flexible network mappings between source and destination sites
RVTools, great windows .NET 2.0 application which uses the VI SDK to display information about your virtual machines and ESXi hosts. It is one of the tools that every VMware admin should have on their machine. RVTools doesn’t simply display the information about your Virtual infrastructure but also perform some administrative actions like VMware tools upgrade and disconnect CD-ROM and Floppy drive.
Take a look at my article to understand how to use RVTools
9.VMware vSphere Client & VMware vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling
VMware vSphere Client is one of the must-have VMware tools to manage VMware infrastructure prior to vSphere 6.5. Windows-based vSphere Client was stopped from vSphere 6.5. However, I have listed vSphere Client in Must-have VMware tools by considering the administrators who still have to deal with vSphere 6 and below.
A fully supported version of the HTML5 Web client is released with vSphere 6.5, and the official name will be vSphere Client. However, VMware vSphere HTML5 Web client is also available as Fling to use with the prior version of vSphere 6.5.
Every VMware administrator should be using the esxtop command to monitor and troubleshoot the performance of ESXi hosts and virtual machines in your virtual infrastructure. VisualEsxtop is an enhanced version of resxtop and esxtop. VisualEsxtop can connect to VMware vCenter Server or ESX hosts, and display ESX server stats with a better user interface and more advanced features.
- Live connection to ESX host or vCenter Server
- Flexible way of batch output
- Load batch output and replay them
- Multiple windows to display different data at the same time
- Line chart for selected performance counters
- Flexible counter selection and filtering
- Embedded tooltip for counter description
- Color coding for important counters
11.VMware vRealize Log Insight
Log files play the major role in auditing and troubleshooting vSphere environment. It is important to collect and store log files of your vSphere hosts. VMware vRealize Log Insight is a virtual appliance that allows administrators to view, manage and analyze Syslog data. Log Insight gives administrators the ability to consolidate logs, monitor and troubleshoot vSphere and to perform security auditing and compliance testing.
The article related to vRealize Log Insight:
Deploy vRealize Log Insight: Intelligent Log Management Appliance
How to Configure VMware vRealize Log Insight -Step By Step
How to Configure vSphere Integration with VMware vRealize Log Insight
How to Add Worker nodes to VMware vRealize Log Insight Cluster
Enabling VMware vRealize Log Insight Integrated Load Balancer
How to Upgrade vRealize Log Insight Cluster – Step By Step
How to Forward NSX Manager Logs to VMware vRealize Log Insight
How to Install vRealize Log Insight Content Pack for NSX
12.VMware vCenter Support Assistant
As VMware administrator, We work closely with VMware Support to troubleshoot the issues faced in our VMWare virtual infrastructure. To simplify the support, VMware released VMWare vCenter Support Assistant, a free vCenter plug-in, to shorten the time needed to submit support requests, collect and upload diagnostic support data, and troubleshoot technical issues. Support Assistant allows you to open and manage support requests directly from the vSphere Web Client. It also automates the process of collecting and uploading ESXi and vCenter Server log files and matches this data to a continuously updated list of known customer issues to provide you with proactive alerts and recommended fixes.
13.vCheck for vSphere (Daily Report)
The vCheck daily report script is created by Alan Renouf and several members of the VMware community. vCheck is a PowerShell HTML framework script, the script is designed to run as a scheduled task before you get into the office to present you with key information via an email directly to your inbox in a nice easily readable format.
This script picks on the key known issues and potential issues scripted as plugins for various technologies written as Powershell scripts and reports it all in one place so all you do in the morning is check your email.All scripts are now available via Github and can be modified as part of the Github website.
VMware IOInsight is a tool to help people understand a VM’s storage I/O behavior. By understanding their VM’s I/O characteristics, customers can make better decisions at storage capacity planning and performance tuning. IOInsight ships as a virtual appliance that can be deployed in any vSphere environment and an intuitive web-based UI allows users to choose VMDKs to monitor and view results.
IOInsight captures I/O traces from ESXi and generates various aggregated metrics that represent the I/O behavior. The IOInsight report contains only these aggregated metrics and there is no sensitive information about the application itself.
15.Veeam Visio Stencils for VMware and Hyper-V
VMware administrators and architects need to create the data center design and visuals to explain the architecture of the virtual infrastructure. Veeam Stencils is a free collection of VMware, Hyper-V and Veeam stencils for Visio. Administrators, system integrators and data center managers can now create well-organized and polished visualizations of their data center designs in Microsoft Visio 2010, 2013 or 2016 when planning their VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V or Veeam deployments.
16.VMware vSphere Compatibility Predictor
Upgrading vSphere environment after every release is an integral part of the life of VMware administrator. In cloud environments, where a lot of VMware Platform Services Controllers (PSC), vCenter Servers and Solutions are used, it can be tough to see how everything is connected. When we try to upgrade such an infrastructure, it can be even more difficult, as compatibility issues can arise when the infrastructure upgrade is in progress with different components having different versions.
VMware vSphere Compatibility Predictor Fling scans all PSCs connected to a single PSC. It will detect the versions of all the vCenter Servers connected to PSCs and all the Solutions connected to vCenter Servers. It will then depict the connectivity in pictorial form.
When you choose the Upgrade View in the Fling, it will show which Solutions are compatible with vCenter Server 6.5. This can help the administrator plan the upgrade in advance.
17.VMware vSphere Replication
VMware vSphere Replication is a hypervisor-based, asynchronous replication solution for vSphere virtual machines. It is fully integrated with VMware vCenter Server and the vSphere Web Client. vSphere Replication delivers flexible, reliable and cost-efficient replication to enable data protection and disaster recovery for all virtual machines in your environment. In addition to the replication, You can make use of vSphere replication for virtual machine datacenter migrations.
vSphere Replication can be used for:
- Data protection locally, within a single site
- Disaster recovery and avoidance between two sites
- Disaster recovery and avoidance to a service provider cloud
- Data center migration
Articles related to vSphere Replication:
How to Deploy & Configure VMware vSphere Replication 6.5
How to Configure vSphere Replication Connections between 2 Sites
Configure Replication for the Virtual Machine using vSphere Replication
How to Perform Recovery of the Virtual Machine using vSphere Replication
18.Auto Deploy GUI
The Auto Deploy GUI is a vSphere plug-in for the VMware vSphere Auto Deploy component. The GUI plug-in allows a user to easily manage the setup and deployment requirements in a stateless environment managed by Auto Deploy. Some of the features provided through the GUI include the ability to add/remove Depots, list/create/modify Image Profiles, list VIB details, create/modify rules to map hosts to Image Profiles, check compliance of hosts against these rules and re-mediate hosts.
19.VMware OS Optimization Tool
The VMware OS Optimization Tool helps optimize Windows 7/8/2008/2012/10 systems for use with VMware Horizon View. The optimization tool includes customizable templates to enable or disable Windows system services and features, per VMware recommendations and best practices, across multiple systems. Since most Windows system services are enabled by default, the optimization tool can be used to easily disable unnecessary services and features to improve performance.
20.VMware Software Manager
VMware Software Manager is a free product that dramatically simplifies the download of VMware suites and products. The free Software Manager lets you easily download VMware suites and products. It also detects new versions and products.Provides an easy to use interface to find, select & download the content needed to install or upgrade a VMware product or suite with the push of a button.
Wireshark is a free and open source packet analyzer. It is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development, and education. We need Wireshark to analyze the network packet when we troubleshoot network issues in vSphere environment. Wireshark is one of the Must-have VMware admin tools for VMware administrators.
Take a look at my article How To Capture Network Traffic/Packet on ESXi Hosts
I hope these must-have VMware tools will be useful for you and also you might be using many of them. Thanks for Reading!!! Most of the tools in this list are free tools and few are paid software. If you are looking for free tools for VMware administrators, Take a look my article 101 Free tools for VMware Administrators. Thanks for Reading !!!. Be social and share it with social media, if you feel worth sharing it.