Using VMware dynamic inventory plugin - Hostnames

VMware dynamic inventory plugin - customizing hostnames

VMware inventory plugin allows you to configure hostnames using the hostnames configuration parameter.

In this scenario guide we will see how you configure hostnames from the given VMware guest in the inventory.


To use the VMware dynamic inventory plugins, you must install pyVmomi on your control node (the host running Ansible).

To include tag-related information for the virtual machines in your dynamic inventory, you also need the vSphere Automation SDK, which supports REST API features such as tagging and content libraries, on your control node. You can install the vSphere Automation SDK following these instructions.

$ pip install pyvmomi

Starting in Ansible 2.10, the VMware dynamic inventory plugin is available in the community.vmware collection included Ansible. To install the latest community.vmware collection:

$ ansible-galaxy collection install community.vmware

To use this VMware dynamic inventory plugin:

  1. Enable it first by specifying the following in the ansible.cfg file:

enable_plugins = community.vmware.vmware_vm_inventory
  1. Create a file that ends in vmware.yml or vmware.yaml in your working directory.

The vmware_vm_inventory inventory plugin takes in the same authentication information as any other VMware modules does.

Here’s an example of a valid inventory file with custom hostname for the given VMware guest:

plugin: community.vmware.vmware_vm_inventory
strict: False
username: [email protected]
password: Esxi@123$%
validate_certs: False
with_tags: False

Here, we have configured a custom hostname by setting the hostnames parameter to This will retrieve the property from the virtual machine and populate it in the inventory.

You can check all allowed properties for the given virtual machine at Using Virtual machine attributes in VMware dynamic inventory plugin.

Executing ansible-inventory --list -i <filename>.vmware.yml creates a list of the virtual machines that are ready to be configured using Ansible.

What to expect

You will notice that instead of default behavior of representing the hostname as + _ + config.uuid, the inventory hosts show value as

  "_meta": {
    "hostvars": {
        "template_001": {
            "": "template_001",
            "guest.toolsRunningStatus": "guestToolsNotRunning",
            "guest.toolsStatus": "toolsNotInstalled",
            "name": "template_001"
        "vm_8046": {
            "": "vm_8046",
            "guest.toolsRunningStatus": "guestToolsNotRunning",
            "guest.toolsStatus": "toolsNotInstalled",
            "name": "vm_8046"


If the custom property specified in hostnames fails:

See also


The GitHub Page of pyVmomi

pyVmomi Issue Tracker

The issue tracker for the pyVmomi project

vSphere Automation SDK GitHub Page

The GitHub Page of vSphere Automation SDK for Python

vSphere Automation SDK Issue Tracker

The issue tracker for vSphere Automation SDK for Python

Using Virtual machine attributes in VMware dynamic inventory plugin

Using Virtual machine attributes in VMware dynamic inventory plugin

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An introduction to playbooks

Using encrypted variables and files

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