An introduction to ApexSQL VM Monitor

This video shows how to start using ApexSQL VM Monitor. It shows important high-level features and usage of essential parts of ApexSQL VM Monitor like Alerts, Reports and Configuration. Specifically, configuration of metrics, settings for historical data, how to include/exclude hardware devices, how to see list of hosted virtual machines.


Hello and welcome to this ApexSQL VM Monitor general overview video. ApexSQL VM Monitor is an agentless, web-based virtualization monitoring tool that supports monitoring of Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi hypervisors. It can be used to track performance metrics of hypervisor hosts, host devices, and virtual machines. ApexSQL VM Monitor allows a fast way to identify and help resolve virtualization issues by identifying performance bottlenecks and improving virtualization system performance

ApexSQL VM Monitor important high-level features include:

  • Historical database performance data with ability to correlate data in different time periods
  • The ability to drill down through historical performance data to analyze details of the top performance issues
  • Comprehensive real-time alerting with customizable thresholds and historical data baselining
  • Predefined and custom reports on performance data
  • Less than 1% overhead on monitored hypervisors due to an agentless architecture
  • Information about performance metrics with expert advice on handling underlying issues

The Hypervisor explorer pane is the essential part of ApexSQL VM Monitor that ensures easy navigation between hypervisors and Hyper-V or VMware based virtual machines:

Use the ellipse button for hypervisor explorer configuration. Filter the hypervisor explorer based on alert severity or state. When needed, the hypervisor explorer pane can be sorted alphabetically or by alert severity:

To display the main application dashboard, use the Home hyperlink in the main menu:

The main ApexSQL VM dashboard panels displays the most important performance information for monitored hypervisors such as CPU usage and Available memory, as well as the number and severity of alerts raised for each hypervisor performance category.

The ellipse button on the panels allows for managing credentials, disable and enable monitoring or removing hypervisors from monitoring directly from the drop-down menu:

Selecting a specific hypervisor in the hypervisor explorer, or by clicking on the hypervisor name in the panel, opens a more detailed view. The hypervisor alert number and severity for CPU, memory, disk, and Network categories are at the top of the page:

Below is additional information about the hypervisor system as well as a hypervisor availability pie chart and underlying hardware details:

In addition to the hypervisor details, a table showing information about operating system and alerts for availability, CPU, memory, and disk depending on the highest severity of the triggered alert

The monitoring process for the specific virtual machine can be enabled or disabled.

The bottom of the page is reserved for charts of the top 5 virtual machines with the highest resource usage within the last 24 hours:

By clicking on the detail hyperlinks, the CPU for example, general details about the selected area and performance metric charts such as CPU used time, CPU Usage, and CPU Idle time, in this particular case, are displayed by default:

Each diagram has zooming ability with sliders below each diagram that allows for narrowing down the period to a smaller time slice displayed across the entire chart with more precise data. That provides the ability for closer metric inspection:

If additional metrics are required for performance analysis, those can be easily added via the Custom metrics configuration page. Selected metrics, listed under the provided categories, will be created and added to the adequate performance category. All newly created custom metrics are fully configurable as any other built-in metric:

Reviewing of performance alerts, triggered for various metrics, is provided via the Alerts page, available via the Alerts hyperlink in the main menu. In the alerts page, listed alerts can be reviewed and resolved

By default, the Alerts page will display alerts raised in last 24 hours, grouped by date in descending order. Table view management is allowed by dragging and dropping the column name into the grouping area. The order can be set directly in the table, or via the grouping area by clicking the column name

Filtering out alerts with unneeded severity from the view can be done via the filter checkboxes. Just uncheck checkboxes of a particular alert to exclude it

One or more alerts can be resolved at once by checking the corresponding checkboxes in the table and clicking on the Resolve button:

Reporting on collected performance data is available via a set of the predefined reports listed on the Reports page. Each predefined report allows defining of various parameters:

If a needed report is not included out-of-the-box, the application allows creating custom reports. Open a custom report page via the Add custom report button and configure items, one by one, as needed.

All hypervisor and virtual machine metrics allow highly granular configuration depending on what is selected in the hypervisor explorer pane:

Alert thresholds can be configured for each metric, separately, including alert suppression, via alert period settings. Alerting can is set based on predefined threshold values or by using the calculated baseline. Alerting can be disabled entirely or only for specifically defined metrics

The Baseline tab provides the necessary settings for historical data based baseline configuration. Select the metrics for baselining and choose the time range to be used for calculation, and click on the Calculate button. Wait for a few moments and baseline will be calculated:

In the Devices tab, the hardware devices used by the hypervisor can be included or excluded from monitoring by checking or unchecking the appropriate checkboxes:

Under the Virtual machines tab, a list of virtual machines hosted by the selected hypervisor is displayed. The tab allows for the unneeded virtual machine to be excluded from monitoring.

The Maintenance tab allows defining the time windows during which monitoring will be disabled entirely or just suppressed from triggering alerts

The Alert tab allows for creating a set of actions to be executed whenever an alert is triggered

Sending an email, creating an SNMP trap or executing a specified command can all be executed as part of an alert. There is no limitation on a number of alert actions that can be created.

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