Monitor VMware ESX Server Performance for Free: Solarwinds VM Monitor

Posted on January 8, 2009 by David Davis in VMware with 0 Comments

Just released today is SolarWinds free performance monitoring tool – VM Monitor. In this article, learn how to download VM Monitor, how to enable ESX Server to use SNMP, and find out what VM Monitor can do for you! Or, to download now just click here – Download Solarwinds VM Monitor.

Using SolarWinds free VM Monitor

To me, SolarWinds is best known for their Engineer’s ToolsSet, used to monitor and troubleshoot networks. They are also well known for their network management system (NMS) – Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM). Today, they have announced a free VMware performance monitoring tool called VM Monitor.

This free tool is similar to their free Microsoft Exchange Server performance monitoring tool – Exchange Monitor in the sense that it monitors a single server, it is graphically very attractive, and it is a quick way to get performance information.

The only requirement is that you have the full version of VMware ESX Server running and that you enable SNMP on that server. Luckily, I have included instructions for enabling SNMP in VMware ESX Server below.

So, here is how you download and use VM Monitor:

  1. If you haven’t already, enable SNMP on your server (instructions below)
  2. Download VM Monitor and install it. It is only a 4MB program so this will take just 1-2 minutes.
  3. After installation, VM Monitor will start automatically.
  4. Enter the VMware ESX host server you want to monitor and the community name:

Upon connecting, it gathered data using SNMP and showed me basic performance stats of my ESX Server and Guest VMs, like this:



Once you click OK, the connection will be initiated and you will see the tool, like this:

As you can see, the tool shows you the status of your server including its VMware ESX Server versions, CPU, RAM, and memory utilization. Additionally, it shows you the status of each guest VM, including its OS type, CPU, RAM, and network utilization.

I think that this free tool is a simple way to see what is going on with the server. Also, I like that the tool can run down in my system tray and can start monitoring my ESX Server when Window starts. I can click on it anytime to bring up this simple performance monitoring tool.

How do you enable VMware ESX Server to be monitored using SNMP?

As I said, to use VM Monitor, you need to have SNMP enabled in ESX Server (sorry, ESXi server doesn’t yet support sending performance statistics via SNMP, thus, VM Monitor is not compatible with it at this time).To enable SNMP in ESX Server, follow these simple steps:

  1. Connect to your server via SSH or go to the server’s console
  2. Edit /etc/snmp/snmp.conf and add a community string to the rocommunity value
  3. Enable SNMP to start automatically when the server starts with chkconfig snmpd on
  4. Either reboot the server (so that the SNMPd will start automatically) or start the SNMP daemon by typing service snmpd start

At this point, SNMP is enabled on your ESX Server and you can monitor it using SNMP tools, such as VM Monitor.


Similar to Solarwinds free Exchange Monitor, VM Monitor is another powerful and free monitoring tool. If you are using VMware ESX Server, you should have VM Monitor installed. I hope that you will download a copy of VM Monitor today.

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