vSphere UI

Where is my VM?

Find a VM by Note


I am sure most of you are aware that vCenter Server provides the ability to add free-form textual information to a Virtual Machine (VM). In the vSphere UI this feature is available in the VM Summary view:

For those of you who love programming, the vCenter Server API is VirtualMachine.reconfigure. To add notes to a VM you need to provide ConfigInfo.annotation to the reconfigure method.

In 7.0 release the vSphere Client supports various means to search the inventory. Nevertheless, for UX reasons some of the search capabilities have remained hidden in the UI.

How can I find a VM by note?

Global search is the most obvious place to start from. And that will give you no results:

The reason is that annotation field is not included in the search query.

Are you ready for some hidden features? Here we go!

  1. Select some parent object in the inventory tree (Cluster, Datacenter or the vCenter Server itself).
  2. Select “VMs” tab. It will show you all child VMs.
  3. Click on the down arrow on an arbitrary column of the VMs grid. You will see a menu with one item only – “Show/Hide Columns”:
  4. Open the sub-menu to reveal a huge list of all available columns.
  5. Select the “Notes” checkbox. The grid will refresh and you will see the Notes column (you might need to scroll right to see it).
  6. Use the “Filter” input to search a VM by note:

The hidden feature is that the filter works only on the visible columns. If “Notes” column is not visible, you will not be able to find a VM by note.

What if I have many vCenter Servers?

If you have multiple vCenter Servers in linked mode you might want to search all of them at once. This is how you can do this:

  1. Select “Global Inventory Lists” from the “Menu” button.
  2. Select “Virtual Machines”

  3. In the central pane you will see the already familiar grid with all VMs from all vCenter Servers.
  4. Ensure that “Notes” column is visible.
  5. Use the “Filter” input on the top-right corner of the grid to search a VM by note.

Note: With big inventory searching across many vCenter Servers will cause heavy load on your vSphere Client and might take significant amount of time.

Which columns are searchable?

Filter in VM grid works only on several columns and only if they are visible. These are:

  • Name
  • State
  • Status
  • Managed By
  • Host
  • Cluster
  • Fault Domain
  • Guest OS
  • Compatibility
  • IP Address
  • Ha Protection
  • EVC CPU Mode
  • EVC Graphics Mode


Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on search capabilities from the vSphere UI Community Team!


2 comments have been added so far

  1. Hey this was great and useful. BUT…. why not have the global search search notes? Is that on a roadmap somewhere? i’ve wanted that for years now. I can’t be alone!

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Bill!
      I am not aware if it is on the roadmap. Something that you can do to bring Product Management attention to this use case is to vote and comment here: https://vsphere.ideas.aha.io/ideas/VSP-I-434

      The more customers vote for this idea, the better chance it has to find its place in the roadmap 🙂

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