The VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer is a powerful and crucial third-party addition to any VMware Infrastructure suite or VMware ESX Server. This virtual appliance that runs in a VMware ESX Server can immediately monitor the performance and capacity of your VMware Infrastructure. It provides trending so that you know what part of your capacity (CPU, memory, network, and disk) is currently a bottleneck or WILL BE a bottleneck to performance in the future.
Downloading the VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer
To start the process of downloading, installing, and evaluating this powerful appliance, I went to www.VKernel.com and clicked on Downloads. I chose to download the Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer Standard Edition because I did not have a SQL or Oracle server available to use with the Enterprise edition. Depending on the size of your VMware Infrastructure and your availability of a backend database server, you may want to evaluate the Enterprise edition.
Next, I chose to download the Open Virtual Machine Format because this is the easiest way to load any appliance into VMware ESX Server. I applaud VKernel for embracing this format and offering their appliances in format!
I was brought to the link for the VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer. I selected this link with my mouse and copied it with a Ctrl-C.
So, there is really nothing to download at this point, because we used the OVF format.
Installing the VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer into VMware Infrastructure
Next, I went over to my VMware Virtual Infrastructure Client (VI Client). I clicked on File, then Virtual Appliance, then Import.
I was asked in what format I wanted to import a virtual appliance. I chose Import from URL and I pasted the VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer URL into the blank with a Ctrl-V.
After clicking Next, I was shown the details of this virtual appliance that I am about to import:
I see that the download size is about 450MB and it will create a 5GB virtual disk. I clicked Next, accepted the end user license agreement, and provided a Name for my new appliance.
After selecting what datacenter and folder I wanted the appliance to be stored in, I clicked Next.
Then, I told the VI client what datastore I wanted this appliance stored in.
And clicked Next.
I selected the VM Network that the new appliance will be connected to, and clicked Next.
I was given a final summary of the import I was about to perform. After reviewing it, I clicked Finish and the download & import began.
When the 450MB download was done and the import was successful, I saw the message, above and clicked Close.
At this point, my new appliance was ready to use. You can see the name of the appliance below and a summary of its config. I went ahead and powered on the new VM.
On the console of the new appliance, I was asked a couple of questions about whether I wanted to use a static or dynamic IP and what domain name I wanted to contact for NTP time synchronization.
Once the appliance received its IP address, I saw it on the console window. From there, I opened my web browser and went to that IP address.
I logged into the interface for the VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer using the default credentials (username: vkernel, password: vkernel).
Upon logging in, I saw the message below about the VirtualCenter statistics collection level. For the capacity analyzer to work, this collection level must be set to 2 or higher.
To make this happen, I went into my VirtualCenter statistics collection setting page, and set the statistics collection level, for 5 minute intervals, to 2.
You should note that the trial is limited to managing 3 ESX servers or 1 Virtual Center server.
Configuring the VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer to talk to Virtual Center
You can configure the VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer to talk to either VMware ESX Servers directly or a single Virtual Center server. In my case, I configured the appliance to talk to my Virtual Center Server.
I did that by providing the name, username, and password to connect to the Virtual Center Server.
Evaluating the VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer
Every VMware Infrastructure administrator will have his or her own factors on what this appliance can do for you. In my case, I have a 6 VMware ESX Servers and over 70 virtual guests. As I use VMware DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler), those 70 virtual guests can move around, without my knowledge across the VMware Infrastructure. The servers have varying CPU & RAM capacity, as do the network and storage. Let's fact it, my VMware Infrastructure, like most other VMware admins out there, has A LOT going on - too much to attempt to analyze performance and capacity all in your head. I needed a tool, as do you, to take care of the critical performance of your VMware Infrastructure. VKernel Capacity Bottleneck Analyzer is that tool.
Read more about this topic in my follow up article How to quickly find and resolve VMware ESX Server performance capacity bottlenecks with VKernel