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ESXi U4 Ends Free Version Read and Write Access from the RCLI

VMware’s release of ESXi Update 4 (U4) has apparently restricted Remote Command Line Interface (RCLI) administration of the free version of ESXi again. I followed a link in a tweet today from fellow vExpert William Lam which led me to a VMware Communities thread titled ESXi 3.5u4 is out, does the RCLI still have r/w access for the free version?. In this thread Dave Mishchenko reports:

“I tried vicfg-advcfg and vicfg-snmp and both failed to write ( Failed : fault.RestrictedVersion.summary). They worked fine to read configuration.”

Of course, the licensed version of ESXi U4 will allow remote read and write access.

Readers may recall that remote read and write access to free ESXi U3 via the RCLI was announced here on VM /ETC and then quickly reported as a mistake that VMware would “fix” in an upcoming version.

I find it hard to believe VMware will not allow remote configuration of it’s free version. Seems to me that free hypervisor alternatives from Microsoft and Citrix would warrant a competitive justification. Besides, vCenter offers the real, GUI based ease of administration. Why not allow command line read and write access to the free ESXi version?

William ends the thread with a thought worth considering:

“Too bad to hear, looks like if users are happy with their r/w access with the RCLI, they may not want to upgrade to U4 just yet.”

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  • http://www.boche.net/blog/ Jason Boche

    Nice post. I had long forgotten about this. I don't use the RCLI much.

  • Tyler Koblasa

    Upgrading to ESXi Update 4 also appears to break Trilead VM Explorer.

  • Jeff

    Great! So now how do I back up my VMs? Yikes

  • http://vmetc.com rbrambley

    Jeff,

    Funny you ask that. I've been contemplating a post about how some
    vendors products use the API of the vi client (which will allow full
    remote admin of the free ESXi) and some have chosen to use other APIs.
    As far as scripting and other free solutions, well that seems to be
    unavailable again from the RCLI. Not sure I agree with VMware's strategy
    here, but it is what it is for now.

  • Jeff

    Can I just copy the files for a VM to an external source using the VI Client? I see if you right click on the datastore it brings up a file browser. How would I restore the files? Is it as simple as copying the files back to a VM directory?

  • http://vmetc.com rbrambley

    Jeff,

    Yes you can copy the files via the VI Client Datastore Browser (Upload and Download icons), but you will have to shut down the VM OS first. On restore you might have to register the VM with the ESXi host again – also can be done from Datastore Browser by right clicking the .vmx file inside a VM's folder.

    You could also check out vExpert William Lam's vGhettoVCB script for automated live VM backups if you do not mind breaking VMware support and enabling the BusyBox console on ESXi – http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-8760.

    Otherwise, you would have to look at a commercial product like Veeam Backup – http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esx-backup.html

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  • http://blog.jerodsanto.net Jerod Santo

    Does this also apply to access provided via the SDK? All I need to do is programmatically mount/unmount NFS datastores & if I can accomplish that via the SDK then I'll surely give it a go.

  • http://vmetc.com rbrambley

    All read only access should be enabled. Hope that helps.

  • http://blog.jerodsanto.net Jerod Santo

    Does this also apply to access provided via the SDK? All I need to do is programmatically mount/unmount NFS datastores & if I can accomplish that via the SDK then I'll surely give it a go.

  • http://vmetc.com rbrambley

    All read only access should be enabled. Hope that helps.

  • HH

    I found that if I removed the license key from the free version so I was back to the trial version, I was able to do everything I needed to do. I just added it back in later.

  • neop26

    enabling SNMP and SSH on esxi post. http://3.ly/nJOe

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