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Follow up on ESXCLI with PowerCLI

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In a previous post here, Applying Patches to ESXi 5 with the help of PowerCLI, I showed how simple it was to call ESXCLI that is part of vCLI through a PowerCLI script, but did you know that ESXCLI is also part of PowerCLI?

ESXCLI is actually part of the VMware API for an ESXi host. Note: While the API for vSphere 4 also had ESXCLI included, it is much more robust with vSphere 5. Most if not all of the commands I show will only work against vSphere 5. PowerCLI has a cmdlet called Get-EsxCli that can be used when connected directly to an ESXi host.

First, connect to an ESXi host through PowerCLI.


Next, lets run the Get-EsxCli cmdlet.

$esxcli = Get-EsxCli

Now we have our ESXCLI object. Now what can we do with it? Well basically anything that you would do with ESXCLI through vCLI or local to the ESXi host. So let’s say our host is running on a Cisco UCS system, and we wanted to verify the enic driver version loaded on the host. We could issue the following command to view the driver version.


Now, to follow-up on the previous post, we could use the $esxcli object obtained through PowerCLI to issue the commands to view the vibs on the host and apply vibs to the host in the same manor that we were calling ESXCLI before. If we wanted to see all the VIBs installed on a host, we can issue the following command to give us the name, vendor, and version of all VIBs installed on the host in formatted table output.

$ | ft Name,Vendor,Version

Let’s look at the example from the previous blog post. Here we set the patch name and location of the patch on the datastore that the host could access.

$patch = "" #patch file we want to apply
$datastore = "datastore1" #datastore where we want to store the patch
$remoteLocation = "/vmfs/volumes/" + $datastore + "/" + $patch #remote location of patch

Now once the patch is on the datastore, which I covered in the previous post, you could install it with the command


Here is another tip as well for PowerShell and PowerCLI. If you are unsure of the arguments that a function takes, such as the command above, you can run


and the command will output some useful data about the method. One particular useful output is Value. This tells you what the expected value type will be given the proper inputs. For the above command, you can see the output as follows:

Hopefully this proves useful to someone.

Written by jguidroz

March 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

Posted in Scripting, VMware

ESXi 5, Nexus 1000V, Custom ISO…oh my…

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So a quick post today on an issue I ran into (and was also told about by @kendrickcoleman). After building a custom VMware ESXi 5 ISO with the Cisco Nexus 1000V vib, EMC PowerPath 5.7 vibs, and the vSphere HA vib, I deployed out 3 hosts. After deployment, I noticed all three hosts had one CPU core spiked while the rest remained idle. It turns out, that once the host is added to the Cisco Nexus 1000V dVS, CPU usage returns to normal.

Just an FYI on this topic in case other people run into it.

Written by jguidroz

February 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Networking, VMware

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Over the past year, I dropped the ball on this blog. It’s been a busy time, but I’ll try over the next year to make a few more posts. So what has been going on? Here are a few of the items keeping me busy:

  • Received the results on the VCAP-DCA; did not pass. The equipment I was using was also moved, so I did not get the opportunity to prepare and take it again.
  • Made a couple of trips to Ireland and spent about a month in England.
  • Moved back to Louisiana.
  • Dabbled in PowerShell, PHP, Python, Scala, Ruby
  • Changed managers about two or three times.
  • Passed the VCP 5

So what’s in store in the coming year? Well hopefully a lot of cool projects. There are a few topics I want to blog about and hopefully post some useful tools. I’m looking to move everything I do to Ruby, though there may still be some internal PowerShell scripts for some items.

This is my short update. Hopefully everyone had a good year.

Written by jguidroz

December 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Random, Scripting, VMware

Applying patches to ESXi 5 with the help of PowerCLI

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So today, Chris Colitti posted a blog article about patching ESXi 5 without VUM. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you click this link and read his post.

After reading this post, I was surprised to find out that esxcli did not support pushing patch or extension files remotely. Prior to ESXi 5, you could use vihostupdate via the vCLI to install the patch or extension zip files to a host. With vSphere 5, vihostupdate has been deprecated. The esxcli command supports installing a patch or extension from a remote depot url (VUM for instance) or from a local file path on the server, as Chris pointed out. Another option would be to host the actual vib files on an http or ftp server and use the -v option with esxcli to point to the remote location of these files. However, this is not the point of this blog post. This blog post will talk about using PowerShell and PowerCLI to assist esxcli in installing patches remotely. I will not provide a whole script, but just some useful commands.

First, to make things easier, we’ll set a couple of variables.
$esxcli = "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin\esxcli.exe" #location of esxcli
$server = "" #server we want to patch
$patch = "" #patch file we want to apply
$patchLocation = "C:\" #local path to patch"
$datastore = "datastore1" #datastore where we want to store the patch
$remoteLocation = "/vmfs/volumes/" + $datastore + "/" + $patch #remote location of patch

Now, we want to mount a datastore to our workstation. First we need to connect to the ESXi host before doing anything.

Connect-VIServer $server
New-PSDrive -name "mounteddatastore" -Root \ -PSProvider VimDatastore -Datastore (Get-Datastore $datastore)

After we mount our datastore, we can then copy the patch to the datastore.

Copy-Datastoreitem $patchLocation + $patch -Destination mounteddatastore:

Once our file is copied, we can then execute esxcli to install our patch

& $esxcli --server $server software vib install -d $remoteLocation

This will execute esxcli on your workstation to install the patch we just uploaded to the datastore. Once the patch is installed, we can remove the patch and disconnect the datastore from the workstation.

del mounteddatastore:$patch
Remove-PSDrive -name "mounteddatastore" -PSProvider VimDatastore

So with this little bit of knowledge, you could write a PS script to copy the patch to a datastore (preferably shared across hosts), and then call esxcli to install the patch on the required hosts.

Update: A new blog post is up detailing using the Get-EsxCli cmdlet in PowerCLI. This can be located here.

Written by jguidroz

December 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Scripting, VMware

Setting time on ESXi hosts through PowerCLI

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So you go and build your new ESXi hosts, set NTP, but notice your time is still off. Did you know you can set your ESXi host time through PowerCLI?

After connecting to a host, you can set the time with the following commands. Always make sure you use UTC time when setting the time on your host as ESXi does not use timezones.

$t = Get-Date
$dst = Get-VMHost | %{ Get-View $_.ExtensionData.ConfigManager.DateTimeSystem }
$dst.UpdateDateTime((Get-Date($t.ToUniversalTime()) -format u))

And there you go. Now your ESXi hosts will have the same time as the machine you ran your script on, so just make sure that machine has the correct time.

And on why I have not blogged in a while, well that is another blog post.

Written by jguidroz

November 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Scripting, VMware


with 3 comments

VMware has finally released the VCAP-DCA exam, and I was able to schedule it pretty fast (still not sure if that was good or bad with my work schedule). Unfortunately, you agree to an NDA for the exam, so I can not post detailed information from the exam, nor would I. Seriously, do not ask, and if you do, prepare to pay a $10 non-refundable fee for any answer you may get back in return.

Here are my thoughts after taking the exam. First, I felt a lot better about this exam than I did the VCP 4. Now if I passed, well, I won’t know that for another 10 days. Make that another stressful 10 days. It was a very fair exam. I think VMware did an excellent job with a 100% lab based exam. I will say that I did not finish the exam. Well I was close. I did skip a couple of questions because time was running short, mostly because I knew what the answer was, but did not know the exact parameter to configure. So I moved on.

So what can you do to prepare?
1. Build a lab.
2. Practice
3. Practice
4. Practice

Honestly, you will not pass this exam if you just study documentation. You need hands on work with vSphere. Why? It’s lab based and there is a time limit. There is no google to help you out. Either you know it, or you don’t. There is documentation available, but you will waste precious seconds if you have to continually look up commands.

Now if anyone knows people involved with the exam, please find out if they would like feedback on it and get their information to me. I was disappointed there wasn’t anything available after the exam was completed. I would have liked to provide feedback because there were some errors in questions, and some items just did not work. I hope this gets taken into account when the exam is scored.

Now to wait….

Written by jguidroz

October 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Posted in VMware

Using PHP5 SOAP with vSphere API

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I will more blog later detailing better usage of PHP with vSphere API.  This post is focused on how to use PHP5 Soap Client methods to interact with the vSphere API.

The vSphere API is SOAP based.  First step is to download the WSDL from vCenter or the ESX(i) host.  So how do we do this with PHP5?

First, we need a SOAP Client.

$connection = new SoapClient(“https://<hostname or ip/sdk/vimService.wsdl”, array(“trace” => 1, “location”=>”https://<hostname or ip>/sdk/”);

From this code snippet, we created a new SoapClient, $connection, set the location of the wsdl, set trace to 1 for debugging purposes, and set the location that we will send requests to.  Next we need to create a SOAP message to send to the server.

$soapmsg[“_this”] = new SoapVar(“ServiceInstance”, XSD_STRING, “ServiceInstance”);

Basically every call to vSphere API will require a “_this” key.  Most calls will require more information.  From this code snippet, we are creating an array with a “_this” key and setting a SoapVar with data of “ServiceInstance” and type of “ServiceInstance”.  Now, we are going to retrieve the Service Instance.

$result = $connection->RetrieveServiceContent($soapmsg);

And what do we get?  Definitely not the result we were expecting.  With trace enabled, we can actually view the SOAP request that was made to the server.


What is the problem with the SOAP request?  Well, PHP5 SOAP function sets the type of the SOAP message as “xsi:type”.  The vSphere API expects a type of just “type”.  How do we fix this?  We must create our own class that extends SoapClient and overrides the __doRequest method.  Here, we can strip “xsi:” out of the request and send the vSphere API the request it is expecting.

class mySoapClient extends SoapClient {

     function __doRequest($request, $location, $action, $version) {

          $request = str_replace(“xsi:”, “”, $request);

          return parent::__doRequest($request, $location, $action, $version);



After altering the request, we can now successfully retrieve the Service Instance from the vSphere API.

Written by jguidroz

October 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

Posted in Scripting, VMware