Getting CPU, memory, disk and network metrics from XenServer

In a previous article we looked at getting CPU and memory metrics from XenServer. As noted in that article, as of version 5.5 of XenServer, the preferred way of getting virtual machine metrics is through HTTP calls to get RRD XML files. We showed how to revert to the old way of doing things, but in this article we will look into the new, preferred way. This has the added benefit that disk and network metrics are also available, along with a history of metrics.

The first thing to note is that the metrics are not available through the XenServer API. The RRD XML files are stored on the physical machines that currently host the virtual machines. For example, if you have two physical machines (P1 and P2) with two virtual machines running on each of them (V1a, V1b, V2a and V2b), you need to query P1 for the metrics of V1a and V1b and query P2 for the metrics of V2a and V2b. If a virtual machine is not running at the moment, you can get the (old) metrics from the master in the pool.

Each physical machine has an HTTP interface at the following location:


The parameter start tells the server to only give metrics starting at this timestamp (seconds since January 1st 1970). The call requires a username and password, which will be asked if you connect through a webbrowser. The following code does this in Java:

Connection connection = new Connection(new URL(MASTER_HOST));
Session.loginWithPassword(connection, USERNAME, PASSWORD, APIVersion.latest().toString());

Map hostRecords = Host.getAllRecords(connection);
for (Host host : hostRecords.keySet()) {
    URL url = new URL("http://" + host.getAddress(connection) + "/rrd_updates?start=" + (System.currentTimeMillis() / 1000 - TIME_WINDOW));
    URLConnection urlConnection = url.openConnection();
    String encoding = new BASE64Encoder().encode((USERNAME + ":" + PASSWORD).getBytes());
    urlConnection.setRequestProperty ("Authorization", "Basic " + encoding);

    String rrdXportData = IOUtils.toString(urlConnection.getInputStream());

The code needs two libraries:

  • commons-io-1.4.jar. This package contains the code to get a string containing the data of an inputstream.
  • xenserver-5.5.0-1.jar. This package contains the code to connect to the XenServer pool.

The following constants are used in this piece of code and need to be filled in:

  • MASTER_HOST. This is the IP address or hostname of the master host in the pool.
  • TIME_WINDOW. XenServer will return RRD updates of the last TIME_WINDOW seconds.
  • USERNAME and PASSWORD. These are the credentials for connecting to the master host and the other physical hosts in the pool.

At the end of this piece of code we have the string rrdXportData containing the RRD XML data. Now we need to parse this data to get the metrics we want. The following listing contains the most important parts of this string (edited for clarity):


The following Java code will parse this RRD XML string and make it available in the four variables shown at the top. The variable metricsTimelines contains a hashmap of string to double[]. The string is the metric name (e.g. AVERAGE:vm:19ef51bd-2cbc-50d1-3fa2-ad8878699203:cpu0) and the double[] contains the values for this metric from startTime to endTime with a step size of step. Note that the value at endTime is at position 0 and the value at  startTime is at the end of the array.

int endTime = 0;
HashMap<String, double[]> metricsTimelines = null;
int startTime = 0;
int step = 0;

try {
   DocumentBuilderFactory domFactory = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance();
   DocumentBuilder builder = domFactory.newDocumentBuilder();
   StringReader stringReader = new StringReader(rrdXportData);
   InputSource inputSource = new InputSource(stringReader);
   Document doc = builder.parse(inputSource);

   ArrayList<ArrayList<String>> dataRows = new ArrayList<ArrayList<String>>();
   ArrayList<String> legends = new ArrayList<String>();
   NodeList xportChildNodes = doc.getDocumentElement().getChildNodes();
   for (int i = 0; i < xportChildNodes.getLength(); i++) {
      Node xportChildNode = xportChildNodes.item(i);
      if (xportChildNode.getNodeName().equals("meta")) {
         NodeList metaChildNodes = xportChildNode.getChildNodes();
         for (int j = 0; j < metaChildNodes.getLength(); j++) {
            Node metaChildNode = metaChildNodes.item(j);
            if (metaChildNode.getNodeName().equals("step")) {
               step = new Integer(metaChildNode.getTextContent()).intValue();
            } else if (metaChildNode.getNodeName().equals("start")) {
               startTime = new Integer(metaChildNode.getTextContent()).intValue();
            } else if (metaChildNode.getNodeName().equals("end")) {
               endTime = new Integer(metaChildNode.getTextContent()).intValue();
            } else if (metaChildNode.getNodeName().equals("legend")) {
               NodeList legendChildNodes = metaChildNode.getChildNodes();
               for (int k = 0; k < legendChildNodes.getLength(); k++) {
                  Node legendChildNode = legendChildNodes.item(k);
                  legends.add(k, legendChildNode.getTextContent());
      } else if (xportChildNode.getNodeName().equals("data")) {
         NodeList dataChildNodes = xportChildNode.getChildNodes();
         for (int j = 0; j < dataChildNodes.getLength(); j++) {
            Node rowNode = dataChildNodes.item(j);
            NodeList rowChildNodes = rowNode.getChildNodes();
            ArrayList<String> dataRow = new ArrayList<String>();
            for (int k = 1; k < rowChildNodes.getLength(); k++) {
               Node rowChildNode = rowChildNodes.item(k);
               dataRow.add(k - 1, rowChildNode.getTextContent());

   int nrDataRows = dataRows.size();
   int nrLegends = legends.size();

   metricsTimelines = new HashMap<String, double[]>();
   for (int i = 0; i < nrLegends; i++) {
      metricsTimelines.put(legends.get(i), new double[nrDataRows]);
   for (int i = 0; i < nrLegends; i++) {
      for (int j = 0; j < nrDataRows; j++) {
         double[] values = metricsTimelines.get(legends.get(i));
         values[j] = new Double(dataRows.get(j).get(i)).doubleValue();
} catch (Exception e) {
This entry was posted in Cloud computing, programming and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Getting CPU, memory, disk and network metrics from XenServer

  1. Walimay says:

    I’ve found this post and think is very nice and useful.
    can you pls explain me basic steps to implement this solution e.g. in a webpage ?

    thanks a lot.

    p.s. in my (few) leasure time I’m trying to create an interface to automate VM snapshot and export them for disaster recovery purposes (actually I’m doing it with a bash script).

    I’m trying to write it in C#

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s