For ESXi, permissions are defined as access roles that consist of a user and the user’s assigned role for an object such as a virtual machine or ESXi host. Permissions grant users the right to perform the activities specified by the role on the object to which the role is assigned.

For example, to configure memory for the host, a user must be granted a role that includes the Host > Configuration > Memory Configuration privilege. By assigning different roles to users for different objects, you can control the tasks that users can perform in your vSphere environment.

When connecting directly to a host with the vSphere Client, the root and vpxuser user accounts have the same access rights as any user assigned the Administrator role on all objects.

All other users initially have no permissions on any objects, which means they cannot view these objects or perform operations on them. A user with Administrator privileges must assign permissions to these users to allow them to perform tasks.

Many tasks require permissions on more than one object. These rules can help you determine where you must assign permissions to allow particular operations:

  • Any operation that consumes storage space, such as creating a virtual disk or taking a snapshot, requires the Datastore > Allocate Space privilege on the target datastore, as well as the privilege to perform the operation itself.

  • Moving an object in the inventory hierarchy requires appropriate privileges on the object itself, the source parent object (such as a folder or cluster), and the destination parent object.

  • Each host and cluster has its own implicit resource pool that contains all the resources of that host or cluster. Deploying a virtual machine directly to a host or cluster requires the Resource > Assign Virtual Machine to Resource Pool privilege.

The list of privileges is the same for both ESXi and vCenter Server.

You can create roles and set permissions through a direct connection to the ESXi host.