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I need to set up an ESXi 5.1 box to run some pre-made VMs that will not run well under VMware Workstation. I have started testing this, but cannot figure out where the @#$% the control comes from other than vSphere Client, which runs only on Windows. I get strong hints that, at least under earlier versions of ESXi, you could do most of the necessary things (start and stop VMs, add files to the datastore, configure new VMs, and so on) from a command line. However, VMware's site is now so littered with related products, it is impossible to find whether this low-end scenario is supported.

I would imagine that a lot of serverfaulters would rather not have some of their critical infrastucture running on Windows. Let us set up a hypervisor box, and we'll control it from SSH. If there is a guide for how to do this for ESXi 5.1, I'm not finding it. Clues appreciated.

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Just use the Web client. ... –  t1nt1n Jan 28 '13 at 21:16
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I would imagine that a lot of serverfaulters would rather not have some of their critical infrastucture running on Windows. - You would be wrong. There is a time and a place for everything. If your choices are to have a supported platform for managing ESXi or to not have one, I think most people here would tell you to use the supported platform. –  MDMarra Jan 28 '13 at 21:37
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@PaulHoffman Are you not tempted, in any way, to say, learn about the product before just asking overly-broad questions on here? There's loads of free documentation that would answer all your, ill-researched and opinionated, thoughts rather than just bludgeoning on. Is that your normal approach? –  Chopper3 Jan 28 '13 at 21:41
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I would imagine that a lot of serverfaulters would rather not have some of their critical infrastucture running on Windows. - Personally, I choose doing what it takes to get stuff done. I've certainly had no problems with Vsphere server or client running on Windows. –  RobM Jan 28 '13 at 21:42
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If I'm not mistaken, the Stack Exchange suite runs on Windows Server? –  Safado Jan 28 '13 at 23:03

2 Answers 2

Yes, you can run a single ESXi system from the command line and avoid the vSphere client. I don't think it's worth the effort, though...

Professional engineers use the right tool(s) for the job. If that means Windows is the primary interface for VMware and VMware is the platform I need, then it is what it is.

If you step up to the paid version (~$500), you'll gain access to the vCenter appliance. This is Linux-based and can provide you access to the vSphere web-accessible management interface. This is the direction VMware is going with the vSphere line, so Windows isn't a firm requirement.

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Still no VUM with the appliance though :( –  MDMarra Jan 28 '13 at 21:39
    
vCLI is also not included. PowerCLI and Converter is only available via Windows. The VCSA has a number of limitations, details can be found at kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/… –  Cold T Jan 28 '13 at 22:39
    
The Linux-based vCenter appliance is barely mentioned in the documentation, whereas most of the discussion for installation is about the one that requires Windows Server. –  Paul Hoffman Jan 29 '13 at 2:15
    
    
Is it ironic that the Linux-based vCenter appliance requires Windows for its initial deployment? –  ewwhite Jan 29 '13 at 2:20

It can certainly all be done the command line, but as to if it's "well" is up to you.

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