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Remotely Restarting The Management Agents On ESXi 5.x

The ESXi management agents can be restarted from the host's console - which is not very convenient. Fortunately they can also be restarted remotely using the SSH & ESXi Shell services - but these are not enabled by default.

In Virtual Center select the host, then the Configuration tab. In the security section select Services and Properties in order to enable ESXi Shell and SSH. For both services perform a manuals start.

Once the SSH service is active you can SSH to the host as root and then restart the hostd and vpxa services like any standard LINUX System-V service. This may cause the host to temporarily grey out in Virtual Center; it will come back automatically in a few moments.

awilliam@linux-86wr:~> ssh root@
The time and date of this login have been sent to the system logs.
VMware offers supported, powerful system administration tools. Please
see for details.
The ESXi Shell can be disabled by an administrative user. See the
vSphere Security documentation for more information.
~ # /etc/init.d/hostd restart
watchdog-hostd: Terminating watchdog process with PID 9034
hostd stopped.
hostd started.
~ # /etc/init.d/vpxa restart
watchdog-vpxa: Terminating watchdog process with PID 9336
vpxa stopped.
~ # Connection to closed.

After restarting the management agents the SSH and ESXi services should be stopped in the same manner they were started.

It would be nice if in VMware's "powerful system administration tools" they just had a button labeled "Restart Management Agents".

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