Monday, June 25, 2012

Perfmon File Format Fun

One of the things that I really like about esxtop, is that the batch mode output file can be loaded into windows performance monitor aka perfmon.  There are some things about the way that perfmon allows you to quickly select different counter sets and zoom in on specific time segments of data that make it the best tool to use in some cases.

I recently found myself working with some other data that was in a plain text format, but would be nice to have in a CSV format.  I also decided that it would be nice if it would load into perfmon as well, just to make things really nice.

It turns out that perfmon won't accept just any old CSV file, but is expecting a very specific format.  I used some esxtop output files as examples and then was able to construct the key elements needed to create a CSV file that will load into windows perfmon.  I could not find this information anywhere else, so I thought that I would share it here for anybody who is interested.

All values must be separated by commas.

All values must be enclosed by double quotes.

The very first value on the first line is the format definition.  I just copied the one used by esxtop.

The first line of values defines how the counters will be displayed and oraganized for selection in perfmon.  It follows this format \\<hostname>\<GroupCounterName>(<CounterName>)\<DataValueName>

The first line must have the same number of values as the number of columns (in other words - each column of data must have a label).

The first column for each row after the first row is the date / time stamp.  It must be of the format MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM:SS

Here is a sample from a CSV file that I created following these rules that does load successfully into perfmon:

Here is what it looks like when you add this CSV file as a source in perfmon and then go to add data counters:

So now you know the secrets to the file format needed for CSV files to work with windows perfmon.  Have fun.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pardon The Interrupt at VMworld

Pardon The Interrupt, but I'm asking for your vote to get a completely new type of session into VMworld this year.

We will have an expert panel of people from Cisco, Dell, StorSimple and VMware all together on stage to cover all VMworld topics.  That's right.  All. Topics.

VMworld 2012 session # 1913 - Pardon The Interrupt: VMworld Expert Panel on Everything

You might ask - "How it is possible to cover all topics in a single session?"

It's the format of the session.  We will use the same format as the ESPN show Pardon The Interruption.  We will have the list of topics.  The panel will get to discuss each topic for a limited amount of time and when the bell goes off we move to the next topic.  Pardon the Interruption does some serious and some not so serious sports topics.  Pardon The Interrupt will do some serious and some not so serious VMworld topics.

Here are a couple of examples of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. (I will not be wearing a Turkey costume at VMworld)

Now imagine this format with a great expert panel that is willing to have fun but also has the right background to cover the all topics.
Here's the people on the panel:

Marc Farley from StorSimple is a storage industry insider, author of multiple books on network storage, blogger at DataOnTop, and co-founder of InfoSmack and RUN! podcasts.  

Scott Hanson is @CiscoServerGeek and has worked with x86 servers for almost 20 years and presented on topics ranging from supercomputing to systems management.  Scott also is an excellent poker player (at least that's what I heard).

Kong Yang is the resident Virtualization vExpert at Dell.  Kong and I co-presented at VMworld 2007 when Exchange was the Final Frontier and people were still nervous about virtualizing their domain controllers.  

I'm the final member of the panel.  I'm a performance engineer at VMware that tries to pull as many things as possible into my job description.  I've presented at four of the last five VMworlds on a variety of topics.  I blog here and on VROOM!.  I'm also the host / creator of VROOM! Videos and sit next to Kong every week on on So Say SMEs video series.

VMworld Session 1913 Pardon The Interrupt: VMworld Expert Panel Session on Everything

 I promise that it won't be a gutter ball performance.