Interpreting VMware esxtop 4.1 Statistics

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Esxtop allows monitoring and collection of data for all system resources: CPU, memory, disk and network. When used interactively, this data can be viewed on different types of screens; one each for CPU statistics, memory statistics, network statistics, disk adapter statistics, disk device statistics, disk VM statistics and interrupt statistics. In the batch mode, data can be redirected to a file for offline uses.

Many esxtop statistics are computed as rates, e.g. CPU statistics %USED. A rate is computed based on the refresh interval, the time between successive snapshots. For example, %USED = ( CPU used time at snapshot 2 – CPU used time at snapshot 1 ) / time elapsed between snapshots. The default refresh interval can be changed by the command line option “-d“, or the interactive command ‘s’. The return key can be pressed to force a refresh.

In each screen, data is presented at different levels of aggregation. It is possible to drill down to expanded views of this data. Each screen provides different expansion options.
It is possible to select all or some fields for which data collection is done. In the case of interactive use of esxtop, the order in which the selected fields are displayed can be selected.
In the following sections, this document will describe the esxtop statistics shown by each screen and their usage.

first read Duncan Epping’s excellent esxtop post at

and then read the VMware article at