My Favorite FREE Sys Admin Tools

I am starting a running list of all the tools that I use on a regular basis, I will try to add a link to a larger description/review of each one as I go.

This list is for free tools from multiple vendors, I have a list of PAID tools located at PAID Sys Admin Tools


Storage Response Time Monitor from Solarwinds

This latest in a growing line of free tools from Solarwinds was released last week. If you are unfamiliar with Solarwinds and their free toolsets, shame on you! Designed mostly to show off the capabilities of their larger paid toolsets, these tools offer easy ways of gaining insight into some of the pain points in your Virtual environments.

Setup is almost too easy. Just download the tool, run the installer and follow the onscreen prompts to add your Virtual Center server address and login information. There is even a convenient “test connection” button to ensure you are good to go. Only a couple of other settings to worry about, like at what response time will you generate a warning or error indication.

By default it installs as a system tray icon and loads when windows starts, you will likely want to turn that off and only run it when you are prepared to be dealing with the issues you see.

Storage Response Time Monitor, does just what is sounds like it would. It reaches into your Virtual Infrastructure Client, and extracts data for all your datastores, regardless of the protocol, brand or type of storage. Since it is grabbing this data at the Host level and associates it with the individual datastores, it provides an easy to read list of the worst performing datastores in your environment, at a a glance.

It provides a rolling list of anything outside the scope you have set in the settings tab and allows you to drill down by host/datastore comb to see what VMS might be having issues on that set.

I was able to find a simple configuration error in a newly created host quick quickly with this tool. I was also able to see a few patterns float to the top that led me to look at one of my other tools to look more deeply at a performance issues on a particular storage array that was not configured optimally.

This is not a replacement for full blown admin tools, but it is an easy segue to them and a lite tool that can complement them.

I do wish there was a simple way to ignore certain datastores, in general, and in virtual center for that matter. (for example, I really don’t care if the local data store on the host is above 20ms for a brief time, as there are not VMs or swap files hosted there, ever, in my environment).