VMWare, ESXi, Scripting, and fault.RestrictedVersion.summary

My clients are generally small businesses and have limited budgets, myself included. I’ve virtualized my own infrastructure entirely and have started doing so for clients as well using the freely available version of ESXi. I am continually frustrated and disappointed with the write access restriction when scripting from PowerCli or similar. If you have seen this error,  ”fault.RestricedVersion.summary”, you most likely are as well… or at least you will be when you realize how much you actually can’t do with this restriction in place.

As an acceptable, zero cost, scripting solution I am now enabling SSH access on new ESXi installs.  As a reminder ( you can find this all over the internet ) here’s how you do it with ESXi 4.0.

  • At the physical console of the ESXi machine press ALT + F1.
  • Type “unsupported”. This will not echo.
  • Enter your root password.
  • Make changes to the inetd.conf by typing “vi /etc/inetd.conf”. Scroll down using the arrow keys until you reach the section containing SSH. Uncomment them both (remove teh #) and save the file by entering “:wq” .
  • Get the process id of inetd with “pidof inetd”.
  • Restart inetd “kill -HUP [PID]“.  Make sure to replace [PID] with the number output by the previous command.
  • Log out of Tech Support Mode by typing “exit”.
  • Press ALT+F2 to return the standard ESXi console.
  • SSH should now be active; test from another machine.

and in ESXi 4.1 it’s even easier

  • Again at the physical console press F2 to customize the System.
  • Login at the prompt.
  • Select “Troubleshooting Options” from the menu.
  • Select “Enable Remote Tech Support (SSH)”.
  • Test from another machine.