Get full control over your ESXi Server

Richard Garsthagen from VMware at posted a nice article about ESXi and the ability to get full control over it.

an excerpt from his post:

As you probably know ESX 3i is the embedded version of ESX, mainly run from USB flash disks build-in servers from HP, Dell, IBM and FSC, but you can also install this on your own servers.

The main thing about 3i is that the Red Hat service console has been removed and replaced by a small busybox Linux version.

By default the 3i server gives us no access to this small service console, but there are some down sides to this, as certain things can only be done from the service console :-( and until VMware builds those missing functionalities into the VC interface you still need to get yourself console access. In the beta versions of 3i there was an option in the advanced settings, but this has been removed in the final releases. Luckily the service console is based on a open source product, so VMware has to publish this source code.. after some lovely source code reading, I found the new backdoor to still get console access.

  • Hit ALT-F1
  • type: unsupported
  • and viola you will get a password prompt and after typing the root password you have a console :-)

    So what can you do with (why you need) this service console:

    • enable SHH access to your server remotely
    • change HBA driver options
    • make use of thin-provisioned disks (disks will start small and only grow when you need the space)!!

    Richard also posted an animated gif with which he shows the screenshots of the process to access the small console.

    Read the full article here

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