In vSphere 5.5 the command line interface esxcli has 3 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 5.5 hosts. If you've installed additional software you might see more namespaces. I've also created a Mindmap for ESXi 5.1 some time ago.
ESXCLI in version 5.5 has 13 namespaces:
Available Namespaces: device Device manager commands 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 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. vsan VMware VSAN commands.
DEVICE (New in vSphere 5.5)
The device namespace decrypts hardware information from device aliases (vmnic/vmhba).
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.
GRAPHICS (New in vSphere 5.5)
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.
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.
VSAN (New in vSphere 5.5)
The vsan namespace manages the Virtual SAN feature, introduced with vSphere 5.5.