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Enabling SSH access on ESXi

Posted on 2012-04-10
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Last Modified: 2012-04-17
Can SSH be enabled on ESXi host through VCenter? Or do you have to access the host directly?
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Question by:sarasotamac
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by:coolsport00
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Should be able to on the host via Client if you're on v5:
http://www.thomasmaurer.ch/2011/08/enable-ssh-on-esxi-5-via-vsphere-client/

~coolsport00
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by:Anuroopsundd
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Tech Support Mode (TSM) provides a command-line interface that can be used by the administrator to troubleshoot and correct abnormal conditions on VMware ESXi hosts. TSM can be accessed in two ways:
•Logging in directly on the console of the ESXi server.
•Logging in remotely via SSH.

To enable local or remote TSM from the vSphere Client:
 
1.Select the host and click the Configuration tab.
2.Click Security Profile > Properties.

     ESXi 5.0: Select SSH or ESXi Shell and click Options.
     ESXi 4.1: Select Local Tech Support or Remote Tech Support (SSH) and click Options.


3.Choose the desired startup policy and click Start, then click OK.
4.Verify that the daemon selected in step 3 shows as running in the Services Properties window

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1017910
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To enable local or remote TSM from the Direct Console User Interface (DCUI):
 
1.At the DCUI of the ESXi host, press F2 and provide credentials when prompted. Press F2 again to proceed.
2.Scroll to Troubleshooting Options and press Enter. This opens the Troubleshooting Mode Options wizard.
3.To enable local TSM allowing users to log into the virtual console of the ESXi host.

    ESXi 5.0: Select Enable ESXi Shell and press Enter. The right-hand panel mode should now indicate the "ESXi Shell is Enabled".
    ESXi 4.1: Select Local Tech Support and press Enter. The right-hand panel mode should now indicate the "Local TSM  is Enabled".


4.To enable remote TSM allowing users to login via SSH on the virtual console of the ESXi host.

    ESXi 5.0: Select Enable SSH and press Enter.   The right-hand panel mode should now indicate the "SSH is Enabled".
    ESXi 4.1: Select Remote Tech Support (SSH) and press Enter.  The right-hand panel mode should now indicate the "Remote TSM (SSH) is Enabled".


5.Optionally, if you want to configure the timeout for TSM:

     ESXi 5.0: Select Modify ESXi Shell timeout and press Enter. Input the desired timeout value in minutes and press Enter.
     ESXi 4.1: Select Modify Tech Support timeout and press Enter. Input the desired timeout value in minutes and press Enter.


6.Press Esc three times to return to the main DCUI screen.
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1017910
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by:coolsport00
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ANd here is the VMware KB just as FYI - http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2004746
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by:sarasotamac
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Thanks. Follow up question. Can the host root password be reset from SSH?
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by:coolsport00
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According to here: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1317898, the only way to reset a root pwd for ESXi is a reinstall.
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by:coolsport00
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Altho...saw this post: http://www.bock.nu/blog/reset-root-password-vmware-esxi-4.1, and this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoL43UBpVyI&feature=youtu.be, on how to do it (but I don't recommend it since it's not supported).
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Thanks. Follow up question. Can the host root password be reset from SSH?

Yes, type passwd at the console or SSH prompt

~ # passwd
Changing password for root

You can now choose the new password or passphrase.

A valid password should be a mix of upper and lower case letters,
digits, and other characters.  You can use a 7 character long
password with characters from at least 3 of these 4 classes, or
a 6 character long password containing characters from all the
classes.  An upper case letter that begins the password and a
digit that ends it do not count towards the number of character
classes used.

A passphrase should be of at least 3 words, 8 to 40 characters
long, and contain enough different characters.

Alternatively, if noone else can see your terminal now, you can
pick this as your password: "cevzr_Vgnyl=sbeq".

Enter new password:
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