The vSphere CLI command set, available since ESX/ESXi 3.5, allows you to perform vSphere configuration tasks using a vCLI package installed on supported platforms, or using vMA. The set consists of several command sets.
vicfg- commands
A set of esxcfg- commands that precisely mirrors the vicfg- commands is also included in the vCLI package.
Other commands (vmware-cmd, vifs, vmkfstools)
Commands implemented in Perl that do not have a vicfg- prefix. All vCLI commands are scheduled to be replaced by ESXCLI commands.
You can install the vSphere CLI command set on a supported Linux or Windows system. See Getting Started with vSphere Command-Line Interfaces. You can also deploy the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) to an ESXi system of your choice. Manage ESXi hosts from the Linux or Windows system or from vMA by running vCLI commands with connection options such as the target host, user, and password or a configuration file. See Connection Options.
Getting Started with vSphere Command-Line Interfaces includes information about available CLIs, enabling the ESXi Shell, and installing and running vCLI commands. An appendix supplies the namespace and command hierarchies for ESXCLI.
Reference information for vCLI commands is available on the vCLI documentation page
vSphere Command-Line Interface Reference is a reference to vicfg- and related vCLI commands and includes reference information for ESXCLI commands. All reference information is generated from the help.
A reference to esxtop and resxtop is included in the Resource Management documentation.
Command-Line Help
Available command-line help differs for the different commands.
vicfg- commands
Run <vicfg-cmd> --help for an overview of each options.
This output corresponds to the information available in the vSphere Command-Line Interface Reference.
Run --help at any level of the hierarchy for information about both commands and namespaces available from that level.