by lunarg on April 29th 2015, at 16:39

Below is a list of most common CLI commands for VMWare ESXi. Type these in directly in an ESXi or SSH shell.

vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms List all VMs running on the host. Also provides vmid, required for commands below.
vim-cmd vmsvc/ vmid Power off specified VM.
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.on vmid Power off specified VM.
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.reboot vmid Reboot specified VM.
vim-cmd solo/registervm /vmfs/volume/datastore/subdir/vm-file.vmx Register the VM stored at location on the ESX host inventory.
vim-cmd vmsvc/unregister vmid Unregister VM from the host. Does not remove the VM's files from the datastore.
vim-cmd vmsvc/destroy vmid Delete the specified VM. The VMDK and VMX files will be deleted from storage as well.
vim-cmd vmsvc/tools.install vmid Initiates an installation of VMWare Tools on the VM
vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter Put the host into maintenance mode.
vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit Take the host out of maintenance mode.
vim-cmd hostsvc/net/info Show networking information of the host.
chkconfig -l Show services running on the host. Can also be used to change startup configuration.
esxtop Display list of processes and its usage of resources. Works similar to linux top.
esxcfg-info Show host's configuration and information.
esxcfg-nics -l Show current NIC configuration.
esxcfg-vswitch -l Show current vSwitch configuration.
vmkerrcode -l Display a reference list of VMKernel return codes and descriptions.
dcui Start the console UI (when accessing through SSH).
vsish Run the VMWare Interactive Shell (from SSH).
decodeSel /var/log/ipmi_sel.raw Read IPMI system log of physical server.

Replace vmid with the value you retrieved from the getallvms command (first one in the table).
Replace path with the full path and file name of a VMX-file (= configuration file of a VM).