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The VI metashell

The Virtual Infrastructure metashell is an undocumented and unsupported shell accessible from within the console on an ESX server. It can be invoked from the shell when logged in as root user as an interactive shell. You can do almost anything from it what you can do from the Virtual Infrastructure client and is more powerful as the normal RCLI console commands.

Below is some output of the shell that you get to see and the output of the "?" command:

[/]$ ?
hostsvc/      vmsvc/        csinfo        help          puload
internalsvc/  ?             csls          pinfo         puse
proxysvc/     argtype       csuimport     pload         quit
solo/         cls           echo          ploadpath     sleep
vimsvc/       csimport      exit          pls           source

There's a separation between plugins and direct commands. The items from the list above that end in a "/" are plugins. (is this true or are they just idicating that there's a submenu?) You can use tab-completion in order to find the available parameters for any of the commands.

An advantage of vimsh over normal esx-cfg commands is that the changes are immediate, so you do not need to restart the vmware management services.

In recent versions of ESX (ESX3.5+), there's also a non interactive command line version of vimsh that can be used from within a script which is called vmware-vim-cmd and is much easier to read in your scripts as the alternative: vimsh -n -e "command"

ESX 3.0.x+

 /usr/bin/vimsh -n -e "command"

ESX 3.5+

/usr/bin/vimsh -n -e "command"
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd "command"

ESXi 3.5+

/bin/vim-cmd "command"

/usr/bin/vimsh is a symbolic link to the file vmware-vimsh in the same folder.

List of commands

Following is a list of the available commands (the vimsh: prefix is only included as a namespace, so that it won't clash with other parts in the wiki)

Over time I will try to add the info found about this in here (help would be EXTREMELY appreciated) right now it just lists what is available in the online help and in many cases some example output of the commands.

vimsh: hostsvc/
vimsh: internalsvc/
vimsh: proxysvc/
vimsh: solo/
vimsh: vimsvc/
vimsh: vmsvc/        
vimsh: ?
vimsh: argtype
vimsh: cls
vimsh: csimport
vimsh: csinfo
vimsh: csls
vimsh: csuimport
vimsh: echo
vimsh: exit
vimsh: help
vimsh: puload
vimsh: pinfo
vimsh: pload
vimsh: ploadpath
vimsh: pls
vimsh: puse          
vimsh: quit          
vimsh: sleep         
vimsh: source

Background info

This command has its origin as a support shell only. It is rumored about that vimsh will be supported in one of the upcoming versions of ESX

External links

As there's no official documentation, here's the link to the current authorative documentation:

Example usage (article in dutch)

Other articles with examples: