The lack of native OS X tools for vSphere has always been a source of frustration for me. When building vSphere environments I usually turned to PowerCLI over RDP. This works okay, but jumping into a Windows machine definitely slows me down.

While not OS X native, the Docker Container for VMware Utilities put together by
William Lam and Alan Renouf is close enough.


Head over to the blog post or Github repo for more details on the container. In this post I will cover both the Docker setup and vmware-utils container.

You will need VMware Fusion or VirtualBox for the Docker host.

Step 1 – You should already have this; if not, open a terminal and install Homebrew.

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

Step 2 – Install Docker and Docker Machine.

brew install docker docker-machine

Step 3 – Create and start your Docker host.

docker-machine create --driver vmwarefusion tools


docker-machine create --driver virtualbox tools

Step 4 – Setup your terminal session so the Docker client targets your new machine.

eval "$(docker-machine env tools)"

Step 5 – Grab the Dockerfile from Github, and create the working folder.

git clone https://github.com/alanrenouf/vmware-utils.git
cd vmware-utils

Step 6 – Download the requisite tools from VMware and place in the vmware-utils folder with the Dockerfile.

Step 7 – Build the container.

docker build -t vmware-utils .

Step 8 – Run the container.

docker run --rm -it vmware-utils


After the setup is done you will be able to quickly launch your machine and access the container.

docker-machine start tools
eval "$(docker-machine env tools)"
docker run --rm -it vmware-utils

When done…

docker-machine stop tools 

Here is an example of running with environmental variables set for esxcli:

docker run --rm -it  \
 -e VI_SERVER=<vcenter.domain.tld> \
 -e VI_USERNAME=<myuser> \

You can also run a command and exit:

docker run --rm -it vmware-utils esxcli -s <vcenter.domain.tld> -u <myuser> -h <esxhost> vm process list