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VMWare and Powershell, The Early Years… The Life Before VMWare Powershell CMDLets

I am on the CTP for the VMWare Powershell Toolkit, and although I am unable to release any Information. I thought it would be a good idea to post some Powershell VMWare commands (old school) before they go live with the REAL Deal.

Hal from TechProsaic wrote a blog post here about Using Plink to get Information about ESX and creating a custom object for the VM’s that the ESX host currently runs. I really liked the script, but I wanted a little more out of it. So I modified it (sorry Hal) and add some functionality. Below is a list of things it does.

  • Get Virtual Machines Running on ESX Host. Returns Custom Object
  • Provides a similar function to Get-Process from the ESX Host
  • Will Run a generic Command on the ESX Host
  • NOTE: At lines 16/31/62 I am having some issues with syntax highlight changing these to email addresses. Please make user the end up as $user @ $srv (no spaces)

    You can also get a working copy here

    # Invoke-VMCommand.ps1
    # Purpose     : Run a remote command and return the results
    # Requirements: plink.exe from the Putty project must be in $env:path
    # Use -help parameter for instructions

    Param (

    # Obtains list of VMX (config files) corresponding to each VM on a given ESX server
    function GetVMX ($user, $pass, $srv) {
        $cmd = "plink.exe $user@$srv -pw $pass"
        $cmd += " vmware-cmd -l"
        Write-Verbose "Command line: $cmd"
        $VMList = Invoke-Expression $cmd
        $collOut = @()
        $VmList | ForEach-Object {
            $objOut = "" | Select-Object VmHost, VmName, VMXpath, HasSnapshot # create our output object with desired properties
            $objOut.VmHost = $srv
            $objOut.VMXpath = $_
            $objOut.VmName = (Split-Path $_ -Leaf) -replace ".vmx$"
            $collOut += $objOut
    function Get-ESXProcess($user, $pass, $srv){
        $cmd =  "plink.exe -t $user@$srv -pw $pass "
        $cmd += "`"ps -Af | grep `’`’`""
        Write-Verbose "Command line: $cmd"
        $results = invoke-Expression $cmd
        $colObj = @()
        foreach($result in $results)
            if($result -match "^UID"){continue}
            $myobj = "" | Select-Object UID,PID,PPID,C,STIME,TTY,TIME,CMD
            $ary = $result.split([string[]]" ",[System.StringSplitOptions]::RemoveEmptyEntries)
            $myobj.UID   = $ary[0]
            $myobj.PID   = $ary[1]
            $myobj.PPID  = $ary[2]
            $myobj.C     = $ary[3]
            $myobj.STIME = $ary[4]
            $myobj.TTY   = $ary[5]
            $myobj.Time  = $ary[6]
            $proc = $null
            write-verbose "Length: $($ary.Length)"
            for($i = 7;$i -le $ary.Length;$i++)
                $proc = "$proc $($ary[$i])"
                write-Verbose "Adding [$i] $($ary[$i])"
            Write-Verbose "COMMAND = $proc"
            $myobj.CMD   = $proc
            $colObj += $myobj
    function RunVMCommand ($user, $pass, $srv, $vmcmd) {
        $cmd = "plink.exe $user@$srv -pw $pass "
        $cmd += "`"$vmcmd | grep `’`’`""
        Write-Verbose "Command line: $cmd"
        invoke-Expression $cmd
    function GetSecurePass ($SecurePassword) {
      $Ptr = [System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::SecureStringToCoTaskMemUnicode($SecurePassword)
      $password = [System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::PtrToStringUni($Ptr)

    # Returns help text
    function ShowUsage {
      $helptext = @"

      Requirements: plink.exe from the Putty project must be in your Path


      VMHost     : name or IP of ESX server(s) (REQUIRED)
      UserName   : User to ssh With (REQUIRED)
      Command    : Command to Run. This can be a GetVMX, PSList, or a Custome String (REQUIRED)
      Help       : shows usage

      Write-Host $helptext

    # Main
    if ($help) { ShowUsage; exit; }
    if ($verbose) { $verbosepreference = "continue" }

    $password = (Read-Host "Enter Password" -AsSecureString)

    if($Command -eq "GetVMX"){GetVMX $username (GetSecurePass $password) $VMHost}
    elseif($command -eq "PSList"){Get-ESXProcess $username (GetSecurePass $password) $VMHost}
    else{RunVMCommand $username (GetSecurePass $password) $VMHost $Command}

    One Response to “VMWare and Powershell, The Early Years… The Life Before VMWare Powershell CMDLets”

    1. on 07 Nov 2007 at 5:27 pmhalr9000

      Oh I don’t mind. 🙂 The Get-ESXProcess thing is pretty neat…

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