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ESX Performance Counter Secrets Revealed

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Top Secret

Successful Succession?

The future of ESX’s COS is still a contentious subject of speculation. And with its future in doubt, so is the future of the ESX administrator’s most beloved friend and constant companion, esxtop. Esxtop’s heir apparent, resxtop, remains plagued by platform restrictions and unclear compatibility. Can it really be a viable replacement?

Interestingly, the PowerCLI team introduced their own way of getting esxtop data, however the official documentation is a bit light on detail.

These both appear to use some form of secret, undocumented API. It’s not clear why such a vitally important data source needs to be shrouded in mystery. Thankfully, the following cable was intercepted by a brave and intrepid soul whose name I have sworn to anonymity. It sheds substantial light on the nature of this hidden API, and will hopefully prove an invaluable reference.

The aforementioned PowerCLI team provided some rudimentary discovery mechanisms, but they may not dig deep enough. For example, LucD notes on his blog that he found only 392 counters on his system, whereas the cable we obtained identifies 425 counters. Is there some dark conspiracy at work here? Worse, many of the counters appear to give misleading information, seeming to need adjustment before they can be used. Hopefully the information captured in this cable will resolve these questions once and for all.

Text of The Intercepted Cable

Thursday, 14 February 2008, 12:21
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 VMWARE 002012
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR WHA/CCA
EO 12958 DECL: 01/25/2018
TAGS VMW, ESX, VC, EMC, OBD, SAUSE, DIGTBK
SUBJECT: TOP SECRET STATISTICOLOGICAL PROPERTIES
REF: VMWARE 0076
Classified By: COM: Thomas Lindboe: For reasons 1.4 b/d

Travellers,

We must not let these values fall into the wrong hands. The fate
of the free world is in the balance. Full details attached.

What We Found

Our intercepted cable revealed a treasure trove of information. Not only did it give us a full readout of all statistics, but their names, the way they correspond to the names shown in esxtop, and possible clues for how to adjust misbehaving counters. We rely on all of  you to expose this data to the light and help us unravel this mystery.

Written by Carter Shanklin

December 19th, 2010 at 8:43 pm

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One Response to 'ESX Performance Counter Secrets Revealed'

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  1. Hey Carter,

    Great to know you started blogging! I happen to have another post on counters extracted from vCenter server:
    http://www.doublecloud.org/2010/12/vsphere-performance-counters-for-monitoring-esx-and-vcenter/

    Steve

    Steve Jin

    19 Dec 10 at 9:52 pm

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