The musings of an IT Consultant

Feb 6 2009   4:54PM GMT

Enabling SSH on a VMware ESXi Server

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

For those of you that are used to having service console access in VMware ESX server, you might find yourself in for a bit of surprise when you try and do this with ESXi. By default you do not have access. However there is a way to enable access to the console.

Why do you need access to the console? With access to the console this gives you the ability to troubleshoot larger support issues when things aren’t working the way they should and it also enables you to run some pretty cool scripts that are available out there on the Internet.

The ESXi console uses BusyBox so it is different from ESX even after you get console access. To enable SSH access to the shell, please do the following:

  • From the ESXi console hit Alt-F1
  • Type in the word unsupported and hit enter (you will not see the characters appear on the screen)
  • Type in your root password
  • Edit the /etc/inetd.conf file by typing in vi /etc/inetd.conf
  • Scroll through the file until you find the line that says #ssh and delete the # sign
  • Save the file
  • Now you can reboot the ESXi server and you will have shell access
  • Alternatively you can run the /sbin/ restart command to restart the management services without rebooting the box.


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