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Published: Mar 19, 2016 License: Apache-2.0, Apache-2.0 Imports: 30 Imported by: 0



govc is a vSphere CLI built on top of govmomi.


You can find prebuilt govc binaries on the releases page.

Download and install a binary locally like this:

curl $URL_TO_BINARY | gzip -d > /usr/local/bin/govc
chmod +x /usr/local/bin/govc

You can install the latest govc version from source if you have the Go toolchain installed.

go get

(make sure $GOPATH/bin is in your PATH)


govc exposes its functionality through subcommands. Option flags to these subcommands are often shared.

Common flags include:

  • -u: ESXi or vCenter URL (ex: user:pass@host)
  • -debug: Trace requests and responses (to ~/.govmomi/debug)

Managed entities can be referred to by their absolute path or by their relative path. For example, when specifying a datastore to use for a subcommand, you can either specify it as /mydatacenter/datastore/mydatastore, or as mydatastore. If you're not sure about the name of the datastore, or even the full path to the datastore, you can specify a pattern to match. Both /*center/*/my* (absolute) and my*store (relative) will resolve to the same datastore, given there are no other datastores that match those globs.

The relative path in this example can only be used if the command can umambigously resolve a datacenter to use as origin for the query. If no datacenter is specified, govc defaults to the only datacenter, if there is only one. The datacenter itself can be specified as a pattern as well, enabling the following arguments: -dc='my*' -ds='*store'. The datastore pattern is looked up and matched relative to the datacenter which itself is specified as a pattern.

Besides specifying managed entities as arguments, they can also be specified using environment variables. The following environment variables are used by govc to set defaults:



  • GOVC_URL: URL of ESXi or vCenter instance to connect to.

    The URL scheme defaults to https and the URL path defaults to /sdk. This means that specifying user:pass@host is equivalent to https://user:pass@host/sdk.

    If password include special characters like # or : you can use GOVC_USERNAME and GOVC_PASSWORD to have a simple GOVC_URL

  • GOVC_INSECURE: Allow establishing insecure connections.

    Use this option when the host you're connecting is using self-signed certificates, or is otherwise trusted. Set this option to 1 to enable.






  • GOVC_GUEST_LOGIN: Guest credentials for guest operations


  • About

    $ export GOVC_URL=""
    $ export GOVC_USERNAME="domain\administrator"
    $ export GOVC_PASSWORD="Password123#"
    $ govc about
    Name:         VMware vCenter Server
    Vendor:       VMware, Inc.
    Version:      6.0.0
    Build:        2656761
    OS type:      linux-x64
    API type:     VirtualCenter
    API version:  6.0
    Product ID:   vpx
    UUID:         c9f0242f-10e3-4e10-85d7-5eea7c855188
  • Upload ssh public key to a VM

  • Create and configure a vCenter VM

Projects using govc


govc is available under the Apache 2 license.


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