VMware ESXi Esxtop Invalid Output Format (CSV)

A few days back I received a question regarding ESXi esxtop output format which looked more like a comma separated values (CSV) file than the normal table view you’re used to. And the CSV like output was constantly updating meaning estop was running but not just displayed correct. See sample output below.

I’m running a MacBook and uses iTerm as my default terminal since a few years back I’m aware of this behaviour but I figure I’ll write a quick blog post since I got a question about it. The reason for the CSV like output is the TERM setting used by your terminal. In my case the iTerm application uses xterm-256color and this can be verified by running the command:

  • echo $TERM

A terminal setting that is valid from an ESXi host perspective is xterm. You can fix this problem at one of the following levels:

  • MacBook/PC/Workstation from which you initiate the ssh session to the ESXi host and where you got the wrong terminal setting from an ESXi host perspective.
    • If running e.g. putty.exe from a PC you’ll get correct terminal settings by default and you don’t need to take any action.
  • ESXi host after you ssh into the ESXi host.

Either way you just type the following commands:

  • Configuration
    • TERM=xterm

  • Validation
    • echo $TERM

When running esxtop again you’ll get the expected output format:

Happy esxitop:ing independent of terminal application:)