When using ESXCLI, the output is formatted using a "default" formatter based on the type of data being displayed. However, you can easily modify the output by using one of the three supported formatters: xml, csv and keyvalue or even leverage some internal ones mentioned by Steve Jin here. When working with some of the ESXCLI 'storage' namespaces, such as listing all the devices on an ESXi host, the output can be quite verbose as seen in the example below:

Usually for such a command, you are interested in a couple of specific properties and I bet you are probably spend a good amount of time scrolling up and down, I know I do. One useful option that is not very well documented (will be filing a bug for this) is the --format-param options which goes in-conjunction with the csv formatter. I always forget the syntax and can never find it when I Google for it so I am documenting this for myself but I think this would also be useful for others to know about.

The --format-param option allows you to specify specific property fields you care about. If we use the our ESXCLI example above, what I really care about are the following for each device:

  • Display Name
  • Is Local
  • Is SSD

Using the following command, we can then extract only those fields we care about:

If we now look at our output, we can easily see that we have 5 devices on our ESXi host and I can quickly see the Display Name of our device, whether it is a local device seen by ESXi and if it is an SSD. I find this filtering mechanism especially handy during troubleshooting or when you need to quickly identify a device for configuration.

Thanks for the comment!