For those who run ESXi on a virtual machine, it’s a great news that VMware has released VMware Tools for nested ESXi as a fling in VMware Labs. Why? With the VMware Tools, you can get guest OS (really the ESXi here) information, like the IP address directly. It may sounds trivial as you can see the IP address from the virtual machine console of a virtualized ESXi. But for automation, it’s pretty hacky to get it programatically. Some people may wonder, “why not run commands via SSH?” It’s true that it’s easy to get the IP by running esxcli command, but you have to get IP first before running the command. With the VMware Tools, you can easily get the IP from vSphere Java API as would with any other normal virtual machines. Even more, you can also run commands like vim-cmd/esxcli in the virtual ESXi via APIs.
Integrating VIX API into vSphere API is a great decision VMware made for its vSphere 5.0 release. Instead of working on two separate APIs, you now have one to deal with. It also solves the portability issue of VIX APIs which is tied to a specific platform – VIX has three versions for Windows, 32-bit Linux, and 64-bit Linux.
In a recent experiment, I needed to get the VMware Tools installer. Somehow after searching many different places, I couldn’t find it. While writing this article, I found a link to all the installers organized per ESX versions and CPU architectures. The installers are single files, different from an installable CD which I hacked.