RVTools & Excel....Shooting for Consistency

Now that we have some more pivot table experts in our midst, I will be wrapping up this series of RVTools & Excel, with a focus on consistency. As VMware admins we all maintain to strive a level of consistency within our environment, but we all know that life happens. One thing leads to another and behold - we have an environment with various inconsistencies. These inconsistencies are not always visible to us because some of them are settings that are tucked away in the depths of the vCenter client.


No need to fear, there are plenty of ways to surface these settings and work towards maintaining a consistent environment. Let's see how RVTools and Excel can help us for the following examples:

  1. Consistent NTP Server Settings for ESXi Hosts
  2. Indentify Old Snapshots on VMs
  3. Consistent MTU Size on our ESXi Network Adapters
  4. Roll up various vCenter Health Alerts.

Before we start, if you haven't read the first two posts on using RVTools and Excel, I encourage you to start here and read up on them.


Time is a big deal for IT admins. Not only do we all need more of it, but we also need to be sure we all are keying off of the same source and time zone. This information is collected for us in the tabvHost output from RVTools - with the following column headers: NTP Server(s), Time Zone, Time Zone Name.

Utilize your pivot table skills to create a pivot table using the tabvHost as your source and then proceed to create the following pivot:

NTP Configuration

This should help you quickly indentify any hosts that don't have a consistent NTP server setting. Looks like I have some updates to make.


Snapshots are an awesome feature of VMware, but not if they hang around forever. There is no real need to create a Pivot on these as the RVTools tabvSnapshot tab gives a nice comprehensive list of snapshots in our environment. To keep with the theme I did use this tab to create a pivot on Snapshot name and time so that you can see how old some of these snapshots are.


MTU Size

Setting the MTU size correctly on your vSwitch is a big deal if you have jumbo frames in your environment and want to be sure you not fragmenting packets. Typically you will see MTU sizes of either 1500 or 9000 depending on if you are configured for jumbo frames. The tabvSwitch and tavbSC_VMK both pivot nicely to show us the MTU settings. In this example I have seperate vSwitchs and Port Groups configured with a higher MTU size for my ISCSI traffic.

MTU Settings

vCenter Health Alerts

One of the new items that RVTools surfaces in their latest release, is a tab shows active vCenter Health Messages. Let's face it we all grow immune at times to systems constantly reminding us of health issues, but this pivot is helpful to show us just how big or small our problems might be. I like to quantify it by browsing to the tabvHealth tab and peforming a pivot on the Message then sorting the items in descending order. Like this:

vHealth Messages

This helps me indentify what alarm has the most number of 'opportunities' for me to address. It is then easy to double click on any of the row totals to dive in to see the details for the systems generating the messages.

VMHealth Details

Wrap Up

There are a ton of other examples that I could have showcased in this series, but part of the fun is finding and creating your own favorite pivots. I encourage you to write about one you like (VMTools Status, Bios Version, VMs with CD ROM attached, etc.) and share with the community.