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How to enable SSH access to VMware ESXi

From the new VMware users we often hear the question of how to enable access via SSH to the server console, VMware ESXi (this mode is called Remote Tech Support Mode). I must say that the server console: VMware ESXi is built on a BusyBox package, which allows you to perform a certain set of nix-teams, and the console itself is not meant to replace the Service Console of VMware ESX. Since the fifth version of VMware vSphere will contain only ESXi, ESX hypervisor itself and cease to exist, users are encouraged to use the interface of VMware vSphere Management Assistant for the centralized execution of scripts on the servers of VMware ESXi.

So how to include SSH access to VMware ESXi. It can be activated in two ways:

  • Directly from the VMware ESXi server console
  • From the VMware vSphere Client connecting to ESXi server

1st Way – Enabling SSH from the ESXi server console.

1. Open VMware ESXi Server console and press <F2> key .

2. We turn to the Troubleshooting Options:

3. Enables or disables SSH access to VMware ESXi (Remote Tech Support Mode).

Please note that there is also a Local Tech Support Mode – is access to the physical server console for VMware ESXi directly nix-execution of commands.

2nd Way – Enable SSH for ESXi from vSphere Client.

1. Connecting to the host via VMware ESXi vSphere Client in the Configuration tab and go to subcategory Security Profile in category Software.

Click Properties:

2. We can see a list of services included for VMware ESXi. It is evident that Local Tech Support and Remote Tech Support (available on SSH) enabled. Press the Options button for the selected services – Remote Tech Support (SSH).

3. Choosing a policy to start the service (either manually or automatically) and run the service SSH, by clicking Start.

To manage theVMware ESXi server via SSH use Putty.

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