We have a brand new Dell 28-something-or-other that is running bare metal VMWare ESXi 3. I'm getting conflicting information on whether there's a command line console for things lke creating new VMs, etc.

I want to be able to automate (preferably with Ruby) creation, deletion, configuration, booting, etc of Linux (Ubuntu) guests.

I already have the deployment process automated, once the machine is up, I just need to tie the VM provisioning into it, ideally as a poolparty remoter.

Options I think I have but am not entirely sure about:


The tool Vmware offers for this is the VMware Infrastructure Remote Command Line. (Download & Docs)

See Importing the RCLI Appliance

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    VMware Infrastructure isn't what I have with VMWare ESXi 3 unless I misunderstand the product structures... I think I can upgrade, but then $$. – Otto May 18 '09 at 23:33
  • The product is somewhat misnamed, at least some of the functionality can be used against ESXi without virtual center. Obviously you won't be able to use things like Vmotion. – Zoredache May 19 '09 at 0:02
  • I do believe this is what I want. I'm setting up a local VM with ESXi on it so I can try it out without breaking anything. :) Thanks. – Otto May 20 '09 at 4:22

The also-somewhat-misnamed VMware Infrastructure Toolkit is another excellent way to script and automate VMware administration tasks.

The one catch is that VI Toolkit is based on Windows PowerShell, so you'll likely need a Windows machine (or VM) around to work with it, as it's probably not supported on the Linux/Unix port of PowerShell (Pash).

However, it might be worth your time to install the free Windows 7 Release Candidate in a virtual machine and experiment with it. The PowerShell interface for VMware ESXi is extremely powerful, and has quickly become the preferred method for VM automation for Windows-based admins.


It's not trivial. Yes, there is a command line console. There's also some sort of web interface. Neither of them are particularly wonderful to automate against. Given that you're obviously tech-savvy, why run VMWare at all? Use one of the open source virtualisation systems out there, they're all easier to automate against, don't have VMWare's staggering licencing costs, and in my experience, don't perform any worse.

  • VMware = effectively free $-wise for us at the moment, we got some decent support with a cheaper host. We had been running Xen up and until now and while easier to automate management was a pain the a$$... we're talking backlevel kernels so the Dom0 wouldn't mysteriously lock up within 24 hours. – Otto May 18 '09 at 23:32
  • ESXi has no command line console. – Neobyte May 19 '09 at 1:10

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