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ESXi 5.1 - ESXCLI Command Mindmap

With vSphere 5.1 the command line interface esxcli has introduced many new features. The esxcli is a complete set of commands that you can use to automate you environment or to perform advanced tasks like lun masking. I have created and printed a mindmap to navigate through the namespaces more quickly

ESXCLI has 10 namespaces whose names are self-explaining:

Available Namespaces:
  esxcli                Commands that operate on the esxcli system itself
                        allowing users to get additional information.
  fcoe                  VMware FCOE commands.
  hardware              VMKernel hardware properties and commands for
                        configuring hardware.
  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.
  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.
  vm                    A small number of operations that allow a user to
                        Control Virtual Machine operations.


The first 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.

~ # esxcli esxcli command list
Namespace                                               Command
------------------------------------------------------  -----------
esxcli.command                                          list
fcoe.adapter                                            list
fcoe.nic                                                disable
fcoe.nic                                                discover
fcoe.nic                                                list
hardware.bootdevice                                     list
hardware.clock                                          get


FCOE is not widely distributed so i do not have much use cases for that.

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.

Not much to tell about. This namespace is for managing VMKernel scheduling related 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 in this namespace.

This namespace is not complex, but it can be really useful during troubleshooting. It can be used to forcibly kill Virtual Machines that are stuck and not responding to normal stop operations.esxcli_vm

All at one

Download esxcli51.pdf


10 thoughts on “ESXi 5.1 - ESXCLI Command Mindmap”

  1. Pingback: ESXi 5.5 – ESXCLI Command Mindmap |

  2. Wonderful article. however I have one question.

    Can anyone tell me which user run all these commands in the background ?

    We log in with our AD account or with root but which user actually runs this command ?

    I was asked this question in one of the interview.

  3. Pingback: ESXi 5.5 – ESXCLI Command Mindmap « Yogesh

  4. Pingback: ESXi 6.5 – ESXCLI Command Mindmap |

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