ESXi Stuff

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Laying out the Datastores

I tend to prefer splitting up my storage into at least 3 separate datastores. (On completely separate drives or RAID arrays...)

An "Admin" Datastore

  • Utilities
    • Utility space for scripts & add-ons & such
  • ISOs
    • ISO images & such
  • CloneMe
    • Baseline VMs for creating new VMs from
  • Manager
    • A VM just for remoting in & managing the server

A "VMs" Datastore

This is where I install the actual VMs.

1 (or more) "Storage" Datastores

Secondary (storage) drives for the VMs get built here.


ESXi from the Command Line

There are 2 ways to reach the command line under ESXi, at the console & through SSH.

At the console kinda sucks in most cases. (Think about it, standing in front of the rack is never a good day.)

Basic Concepts

  • ESXi appears to be based on BusyBox
    • So... If you're bashing your head against a wall trying to figure out how do do something low-level, check out the documentation for BusyBox.
    • Basically tho... Most of the functionality is very close to typical Linux, so the man pages on a Linux machine will get you very close.

AvailableESXi Command sets

ESXi has at least 2 separate command interpreters available at the command line...

Usability Fixes

ESXi has a NON-EDITABLE shell profile at /etc/profile.

Luckily, there's an override file at /etc/profile.local

After any changes you make to this file,

  • source /etc/profile.local

enables your changes.

To make the changes persist over a restart of the server:

  • /sbin/

To tell ESXi to save the changes.

The Shell Prompt

The shell prompt (when you're in a directory on a mounted volume) is fugly & useless.

  • vi /etc/profile.local
PS1="[\u@\h \e[1;33m\A \W\e[m]\$ "

(My current preference...)

See here or here for a couple of articles about customising your prompt...

Useful Aliases

  • vi /etc/profile.local
alias ll="ls -l"


By default, the execution PATH is /bin:/usr/bin . This is fine if you don't want to add executables elsewhere.

I tend to put various utility scripts & such in sub-folders of /vmfs/volumes/Admin/Utilities

This can also be fixed in /etc/profile.local

  • vi /etc/profile.local

(Note that /vmfs/volumes/Admin/Utilities/Scripts will be specific to your system...)


Remote execution through SSH does not read the /etc/profile.local file.

One solution is to put your custom executables in the /bin folder. BUT, this is not maintainable. It can break on reboot and will DEFINITELY break on upgrades.

A better solution is to put a symbolic link there.


  • ln -s /vmfs/volumes/Admin/Utilities/Scripts/ /bin


Just provide the complete path on the command line when running scripts via SSH:

  • ssh root@esxi1 /vmfs/volumes/Admin/Utilities/Scripts/

Neat Tricks

Copying a VM from one server to another

Start by shutting down the VM...

Then SSH into the originating server.

  • ssh root@esxi0

Next, copy the VM to the destination server.

  • scp -r /vmfs/volumes/VMs/TinkersVM root@esxi1:/vmfs/volumes/VMs

Wait a while...

Then... let's see if it'll register & run like the restored backups do.


That'd be a Yes.

Messing about with the DCUI screen


SCP Copy Stalled and/or rekeyed ciphers

See:Copy Files between ESXi Hosts by using SCP (Secure Copy) Command / SCP Copy Stalled Fix

But more usefully... See:SSH Frequently Asked Questions

Basically... It really doesn't mean much.

Older Notes (Mostly still on the TinkerNet Wiki)

Why virtualize your server infrastructure (Morton Hjorth)