Getting Started

 

The VIX API allows you to automate virtual machine operations on VMware Workstation, VMware Server, ESX/ESXi hosts, and VMware vSphere.

About the VIX API

The VIX API (or “Vix”) is a library for writing scripts and programs to manipulate virtual machines. It is high-level, easy to use, and practical for both script developers and application programmers. The VIX API is designed for three kinds of users:

The VIX API runs on Microsoft Windows (Windows95 or later) and Linux platforms (kernel 2.4.x or later recommended). It supports programs written in C, Perl, and COM (Visual Basic, VBscript, C#).

Compatibility

This release of the VIX API is compatible with VMware Workstation, VMware Server, and ESX/ESXi hosts.

Product Compatibility

VIX API Version

Compatible Platform Products

Library Location

1.0.3

VMware Server 1.0

server-1

1.1

VMware Workstation 6.0

ws-3

1.1.1

VMware Workstation 6.0.1 or earlier

ws-3

1.1.2

VMware Workstation 6.0.2 or earlier

ws-3

1.1.4

VMware Workstation 6.0.4 or earlier

ws-5

1.1.5

VMware Workstation 6.0.5 or earlier

ws-5

1.6.0

VMware Server 2.0 or earlier

VIServer-2.0.0

1.6.1

Workstation 6.5 or earlier

Workstation-6.5.0

1.6.2

Above products and ESX/ESXi 3.5 U3

VIServer-2.0.0

1.6.3

Above products and VMware vSphere 4

VSphere-4.0

The library location is not important if you use the wrapper library as recommended.

Vix Version 1.x supports programs written to version 1.x of the VIX API. Exceptions are noted on function reference pages. For example, VMware Server does not support record and replay, while VMware Workstation does not support virtual machine registration.

Vix libraries are installed with VMware Server and VMware Workstation and provide API compatibility corresponding to the product release. Vix libraries are downward compatible in most cases. If you upgrade VMware Server or VMware Workstation, you should also upgrade any separately installed Vix libraries. For instructions, see Installing the VIX API. You should also upgrade VMware Tools to match the product release.

With ESX/ESXi and VMware Server, you run Vix programs remotely. With VMware Workstation, Vix programs usually run on the host.

64-Bit Library Support

The VIX API provides 64-bit libraries for Linux only. For 64-bit Windows, 32-bit libraries can be used in emulation mode (WoW64).

Security Warning

For security reasons, it is not safe to use the VIX API in a setuid root program.

Redistributable Code and Sample Code

As noted in the End User License Agreement, the VIX API allows you to build and distribute your own applications. To facilitate this, the following files are designated as redistributable for the purpose of that agreement:

Redistribution of the open source libraries included with the VIX API is governed by their respective open source license agreements.

The VIX API also includes sample code, which you can use as a starting point for your own programs. Code is delivered in the Samples directory installed with VMware VIX. A Makefile is provided for Linux, and an nMakefile for Windows.

Installing the VIX API

On VMware Server or VMware Workstation, you do not need to install any additional VIX API components. Vix libraries are installed by default under “VMware VIX” or vmware-vix. To compile programs on these systems, see Compiling Vix Programs.

To control ESX/ESXi or VMware Server remotely from another machine, you need header files vix.h and vm_basic_types.h, as well as one or more library files. You can get these files in one of two ways:

Using the Windows Standalone Installer

To install the VIX API files on Windows:

  1. Download the installer program to your Desktop.
  2. Double-click the installer icon to run the graphical installer.

To uninstall the VIX API, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel and use the Add/Remove Programs control panel.

Using the Linux Standalone Installer

To install the VIX API files on Linux:

  1. Download the tar-gzip package. For example:
    wget http://www.vmware.com/downloads/server/VMware-vix-110068.i386.tar.gz
  2. As superuser, extract the package:
    sudo tar zxpf VMware-vix-110068.i386.tar.gz
  3. Change directory and, as superuser, run the VMware installer:
    cd vmware-vix-distrib
    sudo ./vmware-install.pl
  4. Read the EULA and type "yes" if you agree to its terms. You can accept most defaults by typing Enter when prompted.

To uninstall the VIX API on Linux, run the following program:

vmware-installer -u vmware-vix

Upgrading an Earlier Installation

If you are using older Vix libraries, VMware recommends that you upgrade those libraries using the standalone installer. The standalone installer provides a current version of the wrapper library, which allows programs to communicate with any Vix library, regardless of version or target architecture. The wrapper library dynamically loads appropriate library files at connection time.

Otherwise you must link your program to a Vix library that matches the server version. This gets inconvenient if your program communicates with more than one version of the server.

VMware Tools in virtual machines should be kept up-to-date with the VMware version on the host. When upgrading, also update VMware Tools in all guest operating systems. The VIX API relies on a current matching version of VMware Tools to perform many operations.

Upgrading the Vix libraries replaces the older header files, vix.h and vm_basic_types.h with newer header files. The header files are installed at the following locations by default:

Whether or not you use the wrapper library, your programs may call only the functions supported by the host. If you communicate with an older host, you cannot use newer features.

Sample Vix Programs

On Windows, the sample programs are installed in C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware VIX\Samples by default. An nMakefile is provided to compile all sample programs using nmake and the Visual Studio C compiler.

On Linux, the sample programs are installed in /usr/share/doc/vmware-vix/VMwareVix/samples/ by default. A Makefile is provided to compile all sample programs using make and the GNU C compiler.

Compiling Vix Programs

Vix includes a wrapper library, which enables Vix programs to work with multiple supported VMware products and versions. If you link your program with this library, it dynamically loads the appropriate Vix library for a VMware product at runtime, during the VixHost_Connect() call.

VMware recommends that you use the wrapper library, although you can compile Vix programs without it.

Compiling on Windows With Wrapper Library

To use the wrapper library with VIX 1.6, you need Visual Studio 2005 (Visual C release 8.0) or later. To compile code on Windows using the wrapper library, use the following procedure. Files are in the C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware VIX folder.

  1. Add the header file to an include statement in your source code:
  2. #include "vix.h"
    ... program code here ...
  3. Compile for, and link with, the multithreaded version of the C runtime library. For Workstation 6.0.1 and later, you may use either the debug or the non-debug version of this library. For Workstation 6.0.0 and earlier, you must use the non-debug version.
    • To compile and link with the debug version (libcmtd.lib) use compiler options /MTd /nodefaultlib:libcmtd.lib.
    • To compile and link with the non-debug version (libcmt.lib) use compiler options /MT /nodefaultlib:libcmt.lib.
  4. Compile code to link with these files:
    • VixAllProducts.lib for non-debug, or VixAllProductsd.lib for debug.
    • kernel32.lib
    • user32.lib
    • advapi32.lib
    • ole32.lib
    • oleaut32.lib
    • ws2_32.lib
    • shell32.lib

Compiling on Linux With Wrapper Library

This procedure assumes that you have installed Vix components in the default directories. If you made different choices during the installation, specify your directory choices instead.

  1. Add an include statement in your source code for the header file:
    #include "vix.h"
    ... program code here ...
  2. Compile your application, linking to the wrapper library and dynamic load library:
    $ gcc -I/usr/include/vmware-vix vixapp.c -o vixapp -lvixAllProducts -ldl

Compiling on Windows Without Wrapper Library

If you do not use the wrapper, you need to link the appropriate Vix libraries for the VMware product to which your Vix program connects. Workstation 6.5 is able to link a debug version of the C runtime library.

To compile your code for use with Workstation 6.5:

  1. Make the required DLL files available to your program, either by placing them in the same directory as your executable, or by placing them in the system directory (C:\WINDOWS\system32). The easiest option is to copy DLL files from the directory C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware VIX\Workstation-6.5.0\32bit or 64bit.
    • vix.dll (or vixd.dll if you are using debug C runtime library)
    • iconv.dll (or inconvd.dll if you are using debug C runtime library)
    • libxml2.dll (or libxml2d.dll if you are using debug C runtime library)
    • libeay32.dll
    • ssleay32.dll
    • vmcryptolib.dll
    • zlib1.dll
  2. Add the header file to an include statement in your source code:
    #include "vix.h"
    ... program code here ...
  3. Compile your code to link in vix.lib statically.
  4. Compile for, and link with, the multithreaded version of the C runtime library. You may use either the debug or the non-debug version of this library.
    • To compile and link with the debug version (libcmtd.lib) use compiler option /MTd with Microsoft Visual Studio.
    • To compile and link with the non-debug version (libcmt.lib) use compiler option /MT with Microsoft Visual Studio.

To compile your code for use with Workstation 6.0.x:

  1. Make the required DLL files available to your program, either by placing them in the same directory as your executable, or by placing them in the system directory (C:\WINDOWS\system32). The easiest option is to copy DLL files from the directory C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware VIX\ws-2\32bit or ws-3\32bit.
    • vix.dll
    • iconv.dll
    • libxml2.dll
    • libeay32.dll
    • ssleay32.dll
    • vmcryptolib.dll
    • zlib1.dll
  2. Add the header file to an include statement in your source code:
    #include "vix.h"
    ... program code here ...
  3. Compile your code to link in vix.lib statically.
  4. Compile for, and link with, the multithreaded version of the C runtime library. You must use the non-debug version of this library (libcmt.lib) by using compiler option /MT with Microsoft Visual Studio.

To compile your code for use with VMware Server 1.0:

  1. Make the following DLL files available to your program, either by placing them in the same directory as your executable, or by placing them in your system directory (C:\WINDOWS\system32). The easiest option is to copy DLL files from the directory C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware VIX\server-1\32bit.
    • vix.dll
    • ssleay32.dll
    • libeay32.dll
  2. Add the header file to an include statement in your source code:
    #include "vix.h"
    ... program code here ...
  3. Compile your code to link in vix.lib statically.

Compiling on Linux Without Wrapper Library

To compile your code with VMware Server or VMware Workstation installed:

  1. Add an include statement in your source code for the header file:
    #include "vix.h"
    ... program code here ...
  2. Compile your application, linking statically to libvix.so, as in the following examples.
    • To link the VMware Workstation library on a 32-bit machine:
      gcc -I/usr/include/vmware-vix -o vixapp vixapp.c /usr/lib/vmware-vix/Workstation-6.5.0/32bit/libvix.so
    • To link the VMware Server 2.0 library on a 32-bit machine:
      gcc -I/usr/include/vmware-vix -o vixapp vixapp.c /usr/lib/vmware-vix/lib/VIServer-2.0.0/32bit/libvix.so
    • To link the old VMware Server 1.x library:
      gcc -I/usr/include/vmware-vix -o vixapp vixapp.c /usr/lib/vmware-vix/lib/server-1/32bit/libvix.so

Installing Vix Perl

To install the Perl component of Vix, find the vix-perl.tar.gz file on Linux or the vix-perl.zip file on Windows, and unpack it. The README file describes how to install the vix-perl module.

To remove the Perl component, type make uninstall.