The vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) virtual appliance is very useful for vSphere administration if multiple vCenter Servers are in use, and if you’re able to use role-based access of Active Directory. In order to establish a connection to the vCenter Server, you would install vMA and then run the addserver command. The full syntax is below (note that there are two slashes after the domain name and before the username):

vifp addserver vc6.rwvdev.intra --authpolicy adauth --username RWVDEV\\rickatron

In the example, vc6.rwvdev.intra is my vCenter Server in my lab, and RWVDEV\rickatron is the Active Directory account with which the connections will be made. Figure A shows this executing on the vMA.
Figure A

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Then next step is to tell the vMA to use the specified vCenter Server as the target for commands by entering vifptarget –set vc6.rwvdev.intra within the PuTTY session to the vMA. Once the command is entered, the vMA prompt within the PuTTY connection will change to have a context displayed of which vCenter Server is in use to avoid any confusion (Figure B).
Figure B

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Now the vMA can service commands directly through the vCenter Server. The best resource is the vSphere command-line interface manual (PDF), which contains a number of sections on the commands available through the vMA or vSphere CLI (installed directly on Windows or Linux).

As an example, I’ll use a simple multipath report from the vMA on one specified ESXi host esxcfg-mpath -l –vihost esxi.rwvdev.intra. This command reports each storage device and its multipath status, friendly name, multipathing policy, and many other fields of information. Figure C shows this command run through the vMA on an ESXi host.
Figure C

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