PowerCLI Report Tip – Part 2


In this blog post, I will be deep-diving into the following to improve your report:

  • Select *
  • ExtensionData (also known as Get-View)

This is the second series continued from Part 1 which could be found here.

Select *

Select is used to filter an output. For example, Get-VM | Select Name, NumCPU, MemoryGB would give you 3 properties only. What would Select * give you? In regular expression world ,* normally means “everything” and the output is attached below:

PowerState : PoweredOn
Version : v9
Description :
Notes :
Guest : testVM
NumCpu : 4
MemoryMB : 2048
MemoryGB : 2
HardDisks : {Hard disk 1}
NetworkAdapters : {Network adapter 1}
UsbDevices : {}
CDDrives : {CD/DVD drive 1}
FloppyDrives : {Floppy drive 1}
Host : esxi1.test.com
HostId : HostSystem-host-19843
VMHostId : HostSystem-host-19843
VMHost : esxi1.test.com
VApp :
FolderId : Folder-group-v23748
Folder : TestFolder
ResourcePoolId : ResourcePool-resgroup-22471
ResourcePool : Resources
PersistentId : 501c2be6-da23-928f-7d58-e278c8a2cf62
UsedSpaceGB : 102.13691748306155204772949219
ProvisionedSpaceGB : 102.13691792357712984085083008
DatastoreIdList : {Datastore-datastore-24700}
HARestartPriority : ClusterRestartPriority
HAIsolationResponse : AsSpecifiedByCluster
DrsAutomationLevel : AsSpecifiedByCluster
VMSwapfilePolicy : Inherit
VMResourceConfiguration : CpuShares:Normal/4000 MemShares:Normal/20480
GuestId : debian6Guest
Name : testVM
CustomFields :
ExtensionData : VMware.Vim.VirtualMachine
Id : VirtualMachine-vm-25976
Uid : /VIServer=administrator@vcenter.test.com:443/VirtualMachine=VirtualMachine-vm-25976/
Client : VMware.VimAutomation.ViCore.Impl.V1.VimClient

The reason I wanted to go through Select * is to show you guys that Get-VM function itself has a lot of properties already. Let’s take a look at a report below:


Without knowing the properties well, to generate the report above, some might come up with a script like the following:

foreach ($vm in Get-VM) {
 $resourcepool = Get-ResourcePool -VM $vm
 $esxi = Get-VMHost -VM $vm
 $vm | Select @{N=“ESXi”;E={$esxi.Name}}, @{N=“ResourcePool”;E={$resourcepool.Name}}, Name, NumCPU, MemoryGB

The above script looks good, it has no problem. But looking at properties, some of them could actually be retrieved from Get-VM, i.e. without running the commands Get-ResourcePool and Get-VMHost. Let’s do some performance testing. For the testing, I selected a cluster with 300 virtual machines and with the script above, it has taken 62 minutes. Suppose there are 10000 virtual machines, I do not want to imagine that. Using the properties already queried (script attached below), it improved the script significantly. It took 28 seconds. Seconds, not minutes!

Get-VM | Select @{N=“ESXi”;E={$_.VMHost.Name}}, @{N=“ResourcePool”;E={$_.ResourcePool}}, Name, NumCPU, MemoryGB

The point here I made is that since Get-VM itself already runs Get-ResourcePool, Get-VMHost, do not run them again! Otherwise, it will significantly reduce the performance of your script. It’s not only for Get-VM, it could be Get-Cluster, Get-VMHost and so on. I strongly recommend you to get familiar with properties.


ExtensionData, also known as Get-View is another property that I would want to talk about. I will take Get-VMHost as an example this time and the following two commands produce the same output:

  • Get-VMHost -Name esxi1.test.com | Get-View
  • (Get-VMHost -Name esxi1.test.com).ExtensionData
Runtime : VMware.Vim.HostRuntimeInfo
Summary : VMware.Vim.HostListSummary
Hardware : VMware.Vim.HostHardwareInfo
Capability : VMware.Vim.HostCapability
LicensableResource : VMware.Vim.HostLicensableResourceInfo
ConfigManager : VMware.Vim.HostConfigManager
Config : VMware.Vim.HostConfigInfo
Vm : {VirtualMachine-vm-7950, VirtualMachine-vm-7941, VirtualMachine-vm-4299, VirtualMachine-vm-4583...}
Datastore : {Datastore-datastore-3500, Datastore-datastore-3501, Datastore-datastore-3502, Datastore-datastore-3503...}
Network : {DistributedVirtualPortgroup-dvportgroup-7890, DistributedVirtualPortgroup-dvportgroup-4523, DistributedVirtualPortgroup-dvportgroup-4580, DistributedVirtualPortgroup-dvportgroup-3272...}
DatastoreBrowser : HostDatastoreBrowser-datastoreBrowser-host-7674
SystemResources : VMware.Vim.HostSystemResourceInfo
LinkedView :
Parent : ClusterComputeResource-domain-c3265
CustomValue : {}
OverallStatus : green
ConfigStatus : green
ConfigIssue : {}
EffectiveRole : {285213786}
Permission : {}
Name : esxi1.test.com
DisabledMethod : {ExitMaintenanceMode_Task, PowerUpHostFromStandBy_Task, ReconnectHost_Task}
RecentTask : {}
DeclaredAlarmState : {alarm-1.host-7674, alarm-12.host-7674, alarm-13.host-7674, alarm-14.host-7674...}
TriggeredAlarmState : {}
AlarmActionsEnabled : True
Tag : {}
Value : {}
AvailableField : {}
MoRef : HostSystem-host-7674
Client : VMware.Vim.VimClientImpl

It looks quite complex but actually it’s not. Let us take a look at one example:

  • (Get-VMHost -Name esxi1.test.com).ExtensionData.Hardware
SystemInfo : VMware.Vim.HostSystemInfo
CpuPowerManagementInfo : VMware.Vim.HostCpuPowerManagementInfo
CpuInfo : VMware.Vim.HostCpuInfo
CpuPkg : {0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11, 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23}
MemorySize : 206144823296
NumaInfo : VMware.Vim.HostNumaInfo
SmcPresent : False
PciDevice : {00:00.0, 00:01.0, 00:03.0, 00:04.0...}
CpuFeature : {VMware.Vim.HostCpuIdInfo, VMware.Vim.HostCpuIdInfo, VMware.Vim.HostCpuIdInfo, VMware.Vim.HostCpuIdInfo...}
BiosInfo : VMware.Vim.HostBIOSInfo
ReliableMemoryInfo :
DynamicType :
DynamicProperty :

The output above is representing hardware details of this ESXi server. Isn’t it surprising? Single PowerCLI command could generate a report with a lot of information if you know the properties well enough.

This is how you generate advanced reports and it’s quite simple to achieve that – get familiar with properties especially ExtensionData. I will leave the rest to you guys to play with, such as BiosInfo, SystemInfo and so on.


Throughout the blog, it discussed:

  • Taking a closer look at Select * to avoid running repeated commands
  • Generating advanced reports with ExtensionData

Hope this helps and on the next series, I will be deep-diving into esxcli


2 thoughts on “PowerCLI Report Tip – Part 2

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