Wednesday, December 31, 2014

esxcli formatters

I have just read great blog post "Hidden esxcli Command Output Formats You Probably Don’t Know" where the author (Steve Jin) exposed undocumented esxcli options to choose different formatters of esxcli output. Following esxcli formatters are available:

  • xml
  • csv
  • keyvalue

Here is example of one particular esxcli command without formatter.
~ # esxcli system version get
   Product: VMware ESXi
   Version: 5.5.0
   Build: Releasebuild-1746018
   Update: 1
Here is example with csv formatter
~ # esxcli --formatter=csv system version get
Releasebuild-1746018,VMware ESXi,1,5.5.0,

Here is example with keyvalue formatter
~ # esxcli --formatter=keyvalue system version get
VersionGet.Product.string=VMware ESXi

It is quite obvious how xml formatter output looks like, right? All these formatters can help with output parsing which can be very helpful for automation scripts. Even more formatters are available when debug option is used. Following esxcli debug formatters are available:

  • python
  • json
  • html
  • table
  • tree
  • simple

Here is example with json formatter
~ # esxcli --debug --formatter=json system version get
{"Build": "Releasebuild-1746018", "Product": "VMware ESXi", "Update": "1", "Version": "5.5.0"}


esxcli formatters might be very handy for those who do automation and need easier parsing of esxcli output. You probably know that esxcli can be also used from PowerCLI so formatters can significantly simplified the script code.   

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