ESXi 6.0 – ESXCLI Command Mindmap

In vSphere 6.0 the command line interface esxcli has 2 new namespaces. The esxcli is a complete set of commands that you can use for troubleshooting, configuration or kickstart files. I have created and printed a mindmap to navigate through the namespaces more quickly. This post covers only basic namespaces, available on all ESXi 6.0 hosts. If you’ve installed additional software you might see more namespaces. I’ve also created a mindmap for ESXi 5.1 and ESXi 5.5.

ESXCLI in version 6.0 has 15 namespaces:

Available Namespaces:
  device                Device manager commands
  elxnet                elxnet esxcli functionality
  esxcli                Commands that operate on the esxcli system itself allowing
                        users to get additional information.
  fcoe                  VMware FCOE commands.
  graphics              VMware graphics commands.
  hardware              VMKernel hardware properties and commands for configuring
  iscsi                 VMware iSCSI commands.
  network               Operations that pertain to the maintenance of networking on
                        an ESX host. This includes a wide variety of commands to
                        manipulate virtual networking components (vswitch,
                        portgroup, etc) as well as local host IP, DNS and general
                        host networking settings.
  rdma                  Operations that pertain to remote direct memory access
                        (RDMA) protocol stack on an ESX host.
  sched                 VMKernel system properties and commands for configuring
                        scheduling related functionality.
  software              Manage the ESXi software image and packages
  storage               VMware storage commands.
  system                VMKernel system properties and commands for configuring
                        properties of the kernel core system and related system
  vm                    A small number of operations that allow a user to Control
                        Virtual Machine operations.
  vsan                  VMware VSAN commands.


The device namespace decrypts hardware information from device aliases (vmnic/vmhba).

ELXNET (New in vSphere 6.0)
Configuration and information about the Emulex OneConnect Converged Network Adapter.

The esxcli namespace can be used to list all available namespaces and commands. I’ve used this command to get the list, export it to a CSV file to create this mindmaps.

The fcoe namespace has Fibre Channel over Ethernet discovery and adapter listing capabilities.

The graphics adapter manages hardware-accelerated 3D graphics for virtual machines.

The hardware namespace can be used to gather information about the physical hardware.

The iscsi namespace can be used to configure iscsi adapters. This can be really helpful in kickstart scripts, to configure shared storage arrays.

The network namespace is the most powerful namespace. You can configure local vSwitches and Distributed Virtual Switches (dvSwitch). You can also manage the local IP address and firewall configuration. This is a must have in your automated ESXi installation workflow.

RDMA (New in vSphere 6.0)
Provides information and statistics about Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA).

This sched namespace manages VMKernel scheduling functions.

The software namespace can be used to install updates and additional packages. It also allows you to set the software acceptance level to use vib packages created by the community.

The storage namespace has a lot of use cases. You can configure lun masking, mount nfs shares, manage vmfs filesystems and investigate the path configuration.

Any ESXi host related configuration tasks can be performed with the system namespace.

The vm namespace is useful during troubleshooting. It can be used to forcibly kill virtual machines that are stuck and not responding to normal stop operations.

The vsan namespace manages the Virtual SAN feature, introduced with vSphere 5.5.

All together
This is a complete mindmap of all esxcli commands. It’s quite large, but if you print it to A4 or letter, you can still read it.

  1. Very cool, I like it a lot. Did you automate the creation of this or type it?

  2. Nice!! I love it.

    I had an idea a couple of weeks back to create this same thing but for ‘vsish’ because it’s so undocumented. When I took a look though, I realized just how massive it is and chickened out :-)

    Thanks for this!

  3. vSphere 6.0 Link-O-Rama » Welcome to vSphere-land! - pingback on April 17, 2015 at 4:15 am
  4. This is brilliant!

    Are you aware of any method to create a mindmap of PowerCLI commands?

    • What kind of mindmap are you expecting with PowerCLI commands? ESXCLI is tree structured while PowerCLI is just a list of commands with parameters. Not sure how to get this simple list into a Mindmap…
      However, you can get a list of all commands with “Get-Command -Module VMware*”. Feel free to explain what structure you are expecting and I will see if it’s possible.

      • fgrehl, there are just so many cmdlets available, it’s a bit overwhelming at times when trying to find the command I need to execute the idea of what I would like to accomplish. I realize the VMware cmdlets and POSH in general is much more dynamic; however, some of it is still very static. I was thinking if there was a way to take all available cmdlets and expand all properties, methods, parameters, arguments, etc. It would be lengthy list but an easily searchable one as well. Similar to the cmdlets outlined in Reference Posters. Just with more detail.

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