Work with VMware? You need RVTools

Check out one of the best free applications for analyzing your VMware infrastructure from top to bottom. RVTools is the most comprehensive utility for VMware that I've ever seen.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor
RVTools utility showing a vCenter report.
RVTools in action.

I've worked with VMware since its first available beta back in 1999. I knew when I saw it and saw what it did, that it would change the world. And it did. Fast forward to early 2009, which was a cool ten years after that first glance at a brave new virtual world, when I found RVTools. RVTools is a comprehensive VMware utility that connects to your vCenter server and captures every bit of information about your virtual machines (VMs) and your ESX hosts that you'd want to know. It does it fast and in a format that readily exports to Excel.

RVTools is a mere 4.4MB in size and is in MSI format, so it only works on Windows. It's a .NET 2.0 program that uses the VI SDK to display information about your virtual machines and ESX hosts.

This application supports ESX Server 3.5, VirtualCenter 2.5, ESX Server 3i, ESX Server 4i, VirtualCenter 4.x, ESX 4.x, VirtualCenter 5.0, VirtualCenter Appliance, ESX 5.0, VirtualCenter 5.1, ESX 5.1, VirtualCenter 5.5 and ESX 5.5.

If there's any particle of host or VM information that's left out of RVTools, I'd like to know what it is. This tool is so good that VEEAM sponsors it. The following is a subset of the information that RVTools gathers for you.

  • VMs
  • CPU
  • Memory
  • Disks
  • Partitions
  • Network
  • Floppy drives
  • CD drives
  • Snapshots
  • VMware tools
  • Resource pools
  • Clusters
  • ESX hosts
  • HBAs
  • NICs
  • Switches
  • Ports
  • Distributed Switches
  • Distributed Ports
  • Service Consoles
  • VM Kernels
  • Datastores
  • Multipath inf
  • Health Checks

You don't have to do anything special to run RVTools. Install it, connect to your vCenter Server, and watch the magic happen. Generally, it only takes a few seconds for the utility to gather the information and present it to you. The application looks like a tabbed browser, so that all your information is a click away. You can export your data to Excel by clicking, File->Export all to Excel or to a CSV file by selecting, File->Export all to csv.

The amount of data that's gathered by RVTools is truly impressive. For example, on the vNIC tab, you see the following information:

  • Host
  • Datacenter
  • Cluster
  • Network Device
  • Driver
  • Speed
  • Duplex
  • MAC
  • PCI
  • WakeOn

And a special feature that I really love is that on the vTools tab, you can see every VM's VMware Tools version and upgrade them all at once. Repeat: You can upgrade VMTools on all your VMs with RVTools. Awesome. You can also disconnect floppy and CD drives (virtual or physical) with RVTools.

This post isn't a review, but if it was, I'd give RVTools a 10/10. I've never had any problems with it and I've checked its data for accuracy. It's accurate and complete.

RVTools has saved me a lot of time and effort too because I take weekly snapshots of my environment (it changes quickly) and archive those Excel spreadsheets for future reference. I've had to go back and show when VMs were decommissioned, for example or show that a VM's memory had been reduced from 4GB to 2GB per request. For me, RVTools is an essential tool for any VMware Administrator or for any System Administrator who has to deal with a virtual infrastructure.

RVTools is the brainchild of Rob de Veij, who is a programmer, an infrastructure engineer, and a long time resident of the IT business.

The download is free, but you have to register with Veeam before you get your download. By downloading, you agree to join Veeam's mailing list, which you can choose to unsubscribe from. But don't unsubscribe too quickly, Veeam offers some great VMware-related products, many free of charge.

Have you tried RVTools? If not, grab it, install it, and tell me what you think of it.


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