A command line tutorial for server virtualization management

Do yourself a favor, and learn how to execute commands from a prompt. This command line tutorial will help you simplify and speed up certain aspect of your job.

Keith Kessinger, Assistant Site Editor

The command line prompt is a computing dinosaur. But unlike the T-Rex and stegosaurus, the command line isn't extinct. In fact, it thrives in server virtualization environments.

The resources in this command line tutorial for server virtualization management cover the major hypervisors and scripting languages. Whether you're new to commands or just need a refresher, this guide should simplify server virtualization management in your data center.

The power of the command line
The command line serves as a powerful and versatile way for IT administrators to interact and manage a virtual infrastructure. Through a series of command line inputs -- such as commands, cmdlets and scripts -- virtualization admins can monitor and change the characteristics of physical and virtual machines (VMs), everything from viewing the CPU statistics of a virtual host to the provisioning of new guest VMs.

Command line tools provide distinct advantages over their graphical user interface (GUI) management utilities.

  • Save time. GUIs offer simplicity and a clean interface, but at the cost of speed. Generally, GUI management tools require multiple mouse clicks to navigate menus and complete tasks. This point-and-click management environment bogs down complex activities, such as batch provisioning or VM configurations.
  • Command line tools, on the other hand, excel at these procedural assignments. Commands, cmdlets and scripts can automate tedious, repetitious tasks -- allowing admins to work on other assignments. Additionally, commands retrieve information more quickly than GUI management tools because there are fewer windows and mouse clicks involved.

  • Reduce mistakes. Through automation, commands and scripts reduce the chance of human error and ensure consistency.

There is a learning curve for command line management, however. Admins must manipulate a scripting language to execute commands. The PowerShell language -- used in VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V environments, for example -- has a syntax as well as numerous noun and verb combinations. In essence, it's a language, no different than English or Spanish, albeit not as complex.

For platform-specific resources, check out the other sections of this command line tutorial.

  • VMware scripts and commands: A management guide
  • Managing Hyper-V from the command line prompt
  • Command line basics for open source virtualization management

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