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Finding I have access to a Windows machine less and less these days and am a bit frustrated by the lack of a Virtual Infrastructure Client for Mac or Linux. I have SSH setup on my ESXi hosts and have dug around a bit but haven't seen any method of creating virtual machines from within the "unsupported" shell.

Anybody know of an NIX friendly methods of managing ESXi (3.x) or vSphere 4? I'd be willing to upgrade if there was a noticeable gain in remote/NIX-based management.


Yes, I'm aware that the "unsupported" mode is, well, unsupported, but this is a lab ESXi host; there's no production VMs running on it.

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FYI, as of ESXi 4.1, ssh console is officially supported. VMware et. al. finally saw the light and realized that their users really needed this functionality. – EEAA Oct 11 '10 at 19:25
'bout time. Good to know, thanks. – gravyface Oct 11 '10 at 19:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

you should use VMware SDK or API calls instead. Look at that comes with vSphere SDK for Perl.

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Very cool. Let me take a look at that. Thanks. – gravyface Oct 11 '10 at 19:32

Assuming that you are talking about stand alone ESXi hosts the now fully supported SSH capability is your best bet and the set of available console commands has improved with V4.1.

For environments without vCenter involved full remote management functionality only works in read only mode - that pretty much rules out active management using the Perl Remote CLI, the Windows only PowerCLI and the use of the pre-packaged VMware Management Appliance that includes a full set of remote CLI tools in a CentOS VM.

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You can still use full remote functionality without vCenter, but the ESXi boxes DO have to be licensed. A free license has the API locked down to read-only. – JakeRobinson Oct 14 '10 at 13:48
+1 for the vMA recommendation. – JakeRobinson Oct 14 '10 at 13:48
@Jake - good point - the limitation is imposed for unlicensed ESXi, not vCenter integration. I just rarely come across licensed stand alone ESXi installs. – Helvick Oct 14 '10 at 20:08

PowerCLI is going to be much easier to learn than doing it via ESXi unsupported command line or learning Perl and the API...

Here's the command to create a new vm:

New-VM -Name XP_VM1 -VMHost $hostInCluster1 -ResourcePool ( Get-ResourcePool DevelopmentResources ) -DiskMB 4000 -MemoryMB 256

vMA, as Helvick mentioned, is my next choice if I don't have windows/powershell access.

Side note: Pash is a powershell for Linux project. Been meaning to try it out, but haven't had the bandwidth.

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Except the OP stated that they don't have access to a Windows machine, which is why they wanted to do this via SSH – Mark Henderson Oct 14 '10 at 0:35
+1 point for callin' me out! – JakeRobinson Oct 14 '10 at 13:40

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