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How to monitor CPU, memory and networking in VMware vCSA 6.5

Admins can monitor CPU and memory use, manage network settings and get updates through the new-look vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface.

VMware changed the underlying operating system in the vCenter Server Appliance in vSphere 6.5, making it the first...

appliance to run Photon OS. The OS change cuts down on boot and startup times for vCenter applications and makes VMware vCSA 6.5 run faster, which, in turn, provides up-to-date usage information.

VMware also improved monitoring and configuration tools in vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA), including the vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface (VAMI), which got a new look with vSphere 6.5.

Once you connect with VAMI -- which is accessible through port 5480 -- you will see the monitoring tools and components, such as the embedded vPostgres database. You can also check in on CPU, memory and network usage.

Embedded vPostgres Database

The embedded vPostgres Database has an improved user interface that shows different space use and consumption in the appliance. It's important to monitor how much space is used, as the transaction logs could fill up. However, VMware automatically sets up the space recovery process, called vacuuming.

The first step in the space recovery process is to reclaim disk space left behind by updated or deleted database rows. Vacuuming also updates data statics used by the PostgreSQL query planner and protects against the loss of old data to ID wraparound.

You can also connect to the vPostgres Database using Secure Shell. Enter the shell.set –enabled true command followed by the shell command to temporarily switch to the Bash shell, and then enter the following command:

/opt/vmware/vpostgres/current/bin/psql -d VCDB -U postgres

Users can also track how much space alarms, events, tasks and stats are consuming on storage (Figure A).

Monitoring vPostgres database
Figure A. vCSA 6.5 VAMI User Interface.

CPU and memory monitoring

Next, check on CPU and memory use. Right above the Database tab on the left (in Figure A), click on CPU and Memory and you will see two charts. The top chart is the overall CPU usage trending, broken down by percentage and by time interval. The bottom chart is the overall memory usage. As seen in Figure B, there is a drop-down menu in the top right of each chart that lets you choose the time interval: one day, one week, one month or one quarter.

It's critical to monitor memory usage closely, especially in larger environments where memory usage is higher and can spike more frequently. If you see patterns of high memory use, especially for long periods of time, it might be time to add more memory to your VMware vCSA 6.5 VM.

Monitoring CPU and memory usage
Figure B. CPU and memory usage in VAMI.

Networking and overview

The Networking tab will display a chart similar to that on the CPU and Memory page, but instead showing network usage. You can choose which property you'd like to see networking information from the table below the chart. Just like the CPU and memory chart, you can choose the time interval from the drop-down menu in the top right.

One big difference in the Networking tab is that you can also manage network settings. When you switch to the manage mode, you can change the host name, name the servers or name the gateway. You can also change the IP configuration of the network interface or change the proxy settings.

At the very top of the menu bar on the left, you have the Summary page. You can check on the system's health in this tab, and when you have all green marks -- with the word "Good" listed next to them -- VMware vCSA 6.5 is in good shape.

You're also able to check on the Single Sign-On (SSO) settings in this tab. The name of the SSO in the example shown in Figure C is "vsphere.local," which is the default name. If you need to know what vCSA version is running, you can also find that in the Summary tab.

Admins can also choose to create a support bundle, reboot, shut down or initiate file level backup through file transfer protocol, Secure Copy or HTTP(s) from the Summary tab.

There is also an Update button on the menu bar that checks for the latest updates from VMware. You have two options on how to update, but your choice depends on whether you're connected to the internet. If you aren't connected to the internet, you need to download an ISO file from VMware. Attach that file to VMware vCSA 6.5 and in the Update tab, select "Check Updates" and then "Check CDROM." When the available update shows, select "Install Updates" followed by "Install CDROM Updates."

If you are connected to the internet, once you are in the Update tab, select "Install Updates" and then "Install All Updates."

Summary tab in VAMI
Figure C. Check on the health of VMware vCSA 6.5 health in the Summary tab.

Next Steps

Using vCenter Service Appliance to upgrade ESXi hosts

Options for upgrading vCenter Server in vSphere 6.5

Use vSphere Update Manager to control patch updates

Dig Deeper on VMware Server