SolarWinds Virtual Machine Console for VMWare
This free utility runs on your desktop and displays the status of your VM's. Furthermore, using the dashboard you can restart a hung virtual machine with 3 clicks of the mouse. The download is free, and install straightforward.
Evaluation of Solarwinds VMware Virtual Machine Console
This is a free tool to check your VMware empire and shutdown or restart troublesome virtual machines easily. The secret of this utility's popularity is its simplicity, just observe the status with a glance at the red or green dots. Then to cure a VM problem with a simple restart you don't need vCenter™ or vSphere™.
If necessary, this virtual machine monitor can take a snapshot of a VM, thus enabling you to troubleshoot or evaluate a potential fix.
By using vSphere or vCenter credentials, you can connect to multiple vCenters and examine the hierarchy from vCenter through ESX hosts to VM guests; see screenshot to the right.
VMware ESX 3.0, VMware ESX 3.5, VMware ESX 4.0, VMware ESX 4.1
Not supported: Windows Server Hyper-V
This is the best way to evaluate SolarWinds free VMware utilty.
How to Install the SolarWinds VM Console Utility
I found the hardest part of installing this gismo was remembering where I downloaded the zip file! From there it was all downhill. I extracted the .msi file called SolarWindsVmConsole, and then clicked on the licence agreement, and let the install wizard do the rest.
After the install completes the VM Console launches and you are ready to begin. Should you need find the VM Console later look on the start menu, or if all else fails navigate to:
C:\Program Files (x86)\SolarWinds\VmConsole
Should you need to uninstall, then go to the Control Panel, Programs, scroll down to 'S' for SolarWinds VM Console. It's a sign of a good freeware program that it uninstalls easily and completely. See more on Thwack forum.
Installation is straightforward, the only trick is to remember to connect to the VSphere or your ESX servers, and not to the actual VM. To add an ESX host click on the gear icon at the top of the tool, and enter the hostname (or IP Addresses) in the dialog box, provide the VMware username and password as required.
Once the utility starts monitoring you can right-click a note and Take a snapshot, Shutdown the guest or Restart the guest.
More Virtual Machine Monitors
If you need more detailed Virtual Machine Management then try SolarWinds Virtualization Manager. It is ideal if you need capacity planning, VM sprawl control, performance monitoring, configuration management, and chargeback automation.
Troubleshooting VM Console
For visibility problems edit the .config file, for example: Set "StartMinimized" to False, or "Opacity" to 80%; once you have saved the config file restart the tool and you should now see it. Get more help about the VM Console on the Thwack forum.
As with most of SolarWinds free products, the VM Monitor does not monitor multiple ESX servers, however, again as with most SolarWinds tools, they supply a 'Big Brother' in the Orion product series.
There is a trick to launching multiple versions of the monitor, just create a copy of the original executable, e.g. VMMonitor2.exe. For this tip I recommend you copy the whole folder under C:\Program Files\SolarWinds, then rename VMMonitor.exe to VMMonitor3.exe.
Creating multiple VM is great way of making the best use of physical computer hardware. With virtual machines you save on energy and other running costs. However, there comes a time when you need to monitor these VM and often all that's needed is a way of seeing whether the machines are running and if necessary, restarting a hung guest machine without disturbing the other VMs on that server.
Summary: Review of VMware Virtual Machine Console
This free SolarWinds utility runs from your desktop and connects to the host computer and allows you to keep an eye on your virtual guest machines.
Additional Free and Trial SolarWinds Network Software
These are programs which I have enjoyed evaluating on my network. Some are completely free, while other downloads are trial versions of the full product. I think SolarWinds have a great strategy, namely, supplying a free gadget, which may be all a small company need, yet providing a big-brother suite of programs for larger organizations.