Originally published March 20, 2017 @ 1:00 pm

The esxcli utility is used to interface with the vSphere and ESX hosts. It is a useful tool for getting to some basic VMWare functionality from the Unix shell. It is also a pre-requisite for some of the server deployment and configuration management tools, such as SaltStack.

Download the current version of VMware-vSphere-CLI from VMWare or version 6. Place it in /tmp and extract. Run the installation script, accept the defaults:

Install Python tools and pre-requisites for esxcli:

Test network connection to the vCenter server:

Obtain vCenter host’s thumbprint:

Add the vCenter host and its thumbprint to the local credential store:

Verify functionality:

You can also connect directly to individual ESX hosts, but you will need to add their thumbprints to your local credential store. You can obtain the list of ESX hosts in your data center by using PowerCLI:

The script below will loop through a list of ESX hosts, obtain their thumbprints, and add them to the local credential store.