ESX Server File Maintenance Made Easy

Veeam’s FastSCP simplifies ESX server file maintenance.

Every now and then I like to point out some of the free management tools that make our lives as administrators easier. If you’re looking for an easy way to move files between your Windows desktop or servers and a VMware ESX server, or to move files between ESX servers, then you should take a look at Veeam’s FastSCP. FastSCP is a free tool that provides a Windows Explorer style interface for copying and managing files and folders in ESX server environments.

To date, I’ve found FastSCP to be useful in the following ESX server management tasks:

  • Copying VM images from a Windows desktop to an ESX server
  • Copying VM images from one ESX server to another
  • Copying downloaded virtual machine appliances to ESX server hosts
  • Deleting unused VMs from ESX server hosts
  • Editing configuration files
  • Using the built-in Putty secure shell (SSH) tool for remote ESX server command line administration
  • Viewing ESX server file system statistics, such as size and free space

To get started with FastSCP, you first need to download and install .NET Framework 2.0 on your system, if it's not installed already. Then you need to download FastSCP, which is available here. Once the FastSCP download completes, you can install FastSCP by double-clicking on the Veeam_FastSCP.msi file and accepting all setup wizard defaults.

When installation completes, you launch FastSCP by double-clicking on the Veeam FastSCP desktop shortcut. To connect to an ESX server, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Add Server icon on the toolbar and enter the name or IP address of the ESX server to connect to and then click Next.
  2. Enter the user name and password for a user account on the ESX server.
  3. If your ESX user account does not have read/write permissions to the server’s files, you can have FastSCP switch to the root user after it connects to the server. To do this, check the Elevate to Root checkbox and enter the root password in the Root Password field.
  4. Leave the Save Password box checked and click Next.
  5. Click Finish.

Once FastSCP has connected to the ESX server, you can copy files to the server by simply dragging and dropping them from Windows Explorer to the target folder within the FastSCP window. You can also copy files and folders from Windows Explorer and then paste them into the target ESX server folder using FastSCP. All file systems and file system statistics on the ESX server can be viewed by right-clicking the server object in the FastSCP window and selecting Properties.

Another popular use for this tool is with editing configuration files on the ESX server. To edit a file, just locate it by browsing the ESX server folder structure using FastSCP and double-click on the file. The file then opens in Notepad on your Windows desktop. Once you have finished editing the file, just close Notepad. FastSCP then asks if you would like it to save the changes to the edited file.

If you’re looking to quickly manage and edit files on your ESX servers, I’m sure that you'll find this tool as useful as I have. I get the same joy from being able to download a VM appliance and then quickly dragging and dropping it onto my ESX server as just about anything else I do in my life. Well, almost anything...

About the Author

Chris Wolf is VMware's CTO, Global Field and Industry.