Windows Memory - VM Test

To understand the metrics reported by this test, it is essential to understand how memory is handled by the operating system. On any Windows system, memory is partitioned into a part that is available for user processes, and another that is available to the OS kernel. The kernel memory area is divided into several parts, with the two major parts (called "pools") being a nonpaged pool and a paged pool. The nonpaged pool is a section of memory that cannot, under any circumstances, be paged to disk. The paged pool is a section of memory that can be paged to disk. (Just being stored in the paged pooldoesn't necessarily mean that something has been paged to disk. It just means that it has either been paged to disk or it could be paged to disk.) Sandwiched directly in between the nonpaged and paged pools (although technically part of the nonpaged pool) is a section of memory called the "System Page Table Entries," or "System PTEs."

This test tracks critical metrics corresponding to the System PTEs and the pool areas of kernel memory of each Windows virtual machine of a KVM server.

This test is disabled by default. To enable the test, go to the enable / disable tests page using the menu sequence : Agents -> Tests -> Enable/Disable, pick KVM as the desired Component type, set Performance as the Test type, choose the test from the disabled tests list, and click on the < button to move the test to the ENABLED TESTS list. Finally, click the Update button.

Target of the test : A KVM server

Agent deploying the test : An internal agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for each VM discovered on the KVM server being monitored.

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameter Description

Test Period

How often should the test be executed.

Host

The IP address of the host for which this test is to be configured.

Port

The port at which the host listens. By default, this is NULL.

Exclude VMs

Administrators of some virtualized environments may not want to monitor some of their less-critical VMs - for instance, VM templates - both from 'outside' and from 'inside'. The eG agent in this case can be configured to completely exclude such VMs from its monitoring purview. To achieve this, provide a comma-separated list of VMs to be excluded from monitoring in the Exclude VMstext box. Instead of VMs, VM name patterns can also be provided here in a comma-separated list. For example, your Exclude VMs specification can be: *xp,*lin*,win*,vista. Here, the * (asterisk) is used to denote leading and trailing spaces (as the case may be). By default, this parameter is set to none indicating that the eG agent obtains the inside and outside views of all VMs on a virtual host by default. By providing a comma-separated list of VMs/VM name patterns in the Exclude VMs text box, you can make sure the eG agent stops collecting 'inside' and 'outside' view metrics for a configured set of VMs.

Ignore VMs Inside
View

Administrators of some high security VMware environments might not have permissions to internally monitor one/more VMs. The eG agent can be configured to not obtain the 'inside view' of such ‘inaccessible’ VMs using the Ignore VMs Inside View parameter. Against this parameter, you can provide a comma-separated list of VM names, or VM name patterns, for which the inside view need not be obtained. For instance, your Ignore VMs Inside View specification can be: *xp,*lin*,win*,vista. Here, the * (asterisk) is used to denote leading and trailing spaces (as the case may be). By default, this parameter is set to none indicating that the eG agent obtains the inside view of all VMs on a KVM host by default.

Note:

While performing VM discovery, the eG agent will not discover the operating system of the VMs configured in the Ignore VMs Inside View text box.

Ignore WINNT

By default, the eG agent does not support the inside view for VMs executing on Windows NT operating systems. Accordingly, the Ignore WINNT flag is set to Yes by default.

Inside View using

By default, this test communicates with every VM remotely and extracts “inside view” metrics. Therefore, by default, the Inside View Using flag is set to Remote connection to VM (Windows).

Typically, to establish this remote connection with Windows VMs in particular, eG Enterprise requires that the eG agent be configured with domain administrator privileges. In high-security environments, where the IT staff might have reservations about exposing the credentials of their domain administrators, this approach to extracting “inside view” metrics might not be preferred. In such environments therefore, eG Enterprise provides administrators the option to deploy a piece of software called the eG VM Agent on every Windows VM; this VM agent allows the eG agent to collect “inside view” metrics from the Windows VMs without domain administrator rights. Refer to Configuring the Remote Agent to Obtain the Inside View of Windows VMs, using the eG VM Agent for more details on the eG VM Agent. To ensure that the “inside view” of Windows VMs is obtained using the eG VM Agent, set the Inside View Using flag to eG VM Agent (Windows). Once this is done, you can set the Domain, Admin User, and Admin Password parameters to none.

Domain, Admin User, Admin Password, and Confirm Password

By default, this test connects to each virtual guest remotely and attempts to collect “inside view” metrics. In order to obtain a remote connection, the test must be configured with user privileges that allow remote communication with the virtual guests. The first step towards this is to specify the Domain within which the virtual guests reside. The Admin User and Admin Password will change according to the Domain specification. Discussed below are the different values that the Domain parameter can take, and how they impact the Admin User and Admin Password specifications:

  • If the VMs belong to a single domain:  If the guests belong to a specific domain, then specify the name of that domain against the Domain parameter. In this case, any administrative user in that domain will have remote access to all the virtual guests. Therefore, an administrator account in the given domain can be provided in the Admin User field and the corresponding password in the Admin Password field. Confirm the password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box.
  • If the guests do not belong to any domain (as in the case of Linux/Solaris guests):  In this case, specify "none" in the Domain field, and specify a local administrator account name in the Admin User below.

    Prior to this, you need to ensure that the same local administrator account is available or is explicitly created on each of the virtual machines to be monitored. Then, proceed to provide the password of the Admin User against Admin Password, and confirm the password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box.

    If key-based authentication is implemented between the eG agent and the SSH daemon of a Linux guest, then, in the Admin User text box, enter the name of the user whose <USER_HOME_DIR> (on that Linux guest) contains a .ssh directory with the public key file named authorized_keys. The Admin Password in this case will be the passphrase of the public key; the default public key file that is bundled with the eG agent takes the password eginnovations. Specify this as the Admin Password if you are using the default private/public key pair that is bundled with the eG agent to implement key-based authentication. On the other hand, if you are generating a new public/private key pair for this purpose, then use the passphrase that you provide while generating the pair. For the detailed procedure on Implementing Key-based Authentication refer to Troubleshooting the Failure of the eG Remote Agent to Connect to or Report Measures for Linux Guests.

  • If the guests belong to different domains: In this case, you might want to provide multiple domain names. If this is done, then, to access the guests in every configured domain, the test should be configured with the required user privileges; this implies that along with multiple Domain names, multiple Admin User names and Admin Passwords would also have to be provided. To help administrators provide these user details quickly and easily, the eG administrative interface embeds a special configuration page. To access this page, simply click on the Click here hyperlink that appears just above the parameters of this test in the test configuration page. To know how to use the special page, refer to Windows Memory - VM Test.
  • If the Inside View Using flag is set to ‘eG VM Agent (Windows)’: In this case, the inside view can be obtained without domain administrator privileges. Therefore, set the Domain, Admin User, and Admin Password parameters to none.

Report By User

For the KVM server monitoring model, the Report By User flag is set to No by default, indicating that by default, the guest operating systems on the KVM server are identified using the hostname specified in the operating system. On the other hand, while monitoring KVM VDI environments, this flag is set to Yes by default; this implies that in case of VDI servers, by default, the guests will be identified using the login of the user who is accessing the guest OS. In other words, in VDI environments, this test will, by default, report measures for every username_on_virtualmachinename.

Report Powered OS

This flag becomes relevant only if the Report By User flag is set to ‘Yes’.

If the Report Powered OS flag is set to Yes (which is the default setting), then this test will report measures for even those VMs that do not have any users logged in currently. Such guests will be identified by their virtualmachine name and not by the username_on_virtualmachinename. On the other hand, if the Report Powered OS flag is set to No, then this test will not report measures for those VMs to which no users are logged in currently.

Detailed Diagnosis

To make diagnosis more efficient and accurate, the eG Enterprise suite embeds an optional detailed diagnostic capability. With this capability, the eG agents can be configured to run detailed, more elaborate tests as and when specific problems are detected. To enable the detailed diagnosis capability of this test for a particular server, choose the On option. To disable the capability, click on the Off option.

The option to selectively enable/disable the detailed diagnosis capability will be available only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The eG manager license should allow the detailed diagnosis capability
  • Both the normal and abnormal frequencies configured for the detailed diagnosis measures should not be 0.
Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Free entries in system page table

Indicates the number of page table entries not currently in use by the guest.

Number

The  maximum number of System PTEs that a server can have is set when the server boots. In heavily-used servers, you can run out of system PTEs. You can use the registry to increase the number of system PTEs, but that encroaches into the paged pool area, and you could run out of paged pool memory. Running out of either one is bad, and the goal should be to tune your server so that you run out of both at the exact same time. Typically, the value of this metric should be above 3000.

Page read rate in VM

Indicates the average number of times per second the disk was read to resolve hard fault paging.

Reads/Sec

 

Page write rate in VM

Indicates the average number of times per second the pages are written to disk to free up the physical memory.

Writes/Sec

 

Page input rate in VM

Indicates the number of times per second that a process needed to access a piece of memory that was not in its working set, meaning that the guest had to retrieve it from the page file.

Pages/Sec

 

Page output rate in VM

Indicates the number of times per second the guest decided to trim a process's working set  by writing some memory to disk in order to free up physical memory for another process.

Pages/Sec

This value is a critical measure of the memory utilization on a guest. If this value never increases, then there is sufficient memory in the guest. Instantaneous spikes of this value are acceptable, but if the value itself starts to rise over time or with load, it implies  that there is a memory shortage on the guest.

Memory pool non-paged data in VM

Indicates the total size of the kernel memory nonpaged pool.

MB

The kernel memory nonpage pool is an area of guest memory (that is, memory used by the guest operating system) for kernel objects that cannot be written to disk, but must remain in memory as long as the objects are allocated. Typically, there should be no more than 100 MB of non-paged pool memory being used.

Memory pool paged data in VM

Indicates the total size of the Paged Pool.

MB

If the Paged Pool starts to run out of space (when it's 80% full by default), the guest will automatically take some memory away from the System File Cache and give it to the Paged Pool. This makes the System File Cache smaller. However, the system file cache is critical, and so it will never reach zero. Hence, a significant increase in the paged pool size is a problem. This metric is a useful indicator of memory leaks in a guest. A memory leak occurs when the guest allocates more memory to a process than the process gives back to the pool. Any time of process can cause a memory leak. If the amount of paged pool data keeps increasing even though the workload on the guest remains constant, it is an indicator of a memory leak.