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vSphere CLI Quick Look: Storage

Now that VMware has released vSphere, I'm giving a long, hard look at using ESXi as the de facto hypervisor. ESX has been good to me, but going forward I think ESXi is the better choice. This is mainly so that managed (with vSphere licensing for features) and unmanaged systems would be the same bare-metal hypervisor.

For many environments, storage and networking are your biggest areas of planning and administration outside of the virtual machines themselves. For storage, I find myself frequently wanting to check on the multipath capabilities of ESX. That is difficult with ESXi 4 in most default configurations. One tool that can help without circumventing the ESXi 4 configuration is the vSphere Command Line Interface or CLI. The vSphere CLI allows for esxcfg- series commands to be run on an ESXi host, including those that are standalone systems using the free ESXi license.

Installing the vSphere CLI is quick and easy. You can run this type of command for multipath information on your storage system:

esxcfg-mpath.pl --server -list -b

Figure 1 shows the interactive display and its corresponding entry, compared to the vSphere Client.

vSphere CLI
Figure 1. The multipath command is executed from a Windows system to the ESXi host (Click image to view larger version.)

It's quite handy to be able to run this and other commands from workstations, for the case of an unmanaged hypervisor. For VI3 administrators who have used the esxcfg-mpath command before, you'll notice that the multipathing display is quite different on ESXi 4.

Is this helpful? Let me know what commands you want to see and I'll see if I can script them.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 05/28/2009 at 12:47 PM


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