Unable to SSH into ESXi server

You’ve turned on SSH, and even enabled the firewall profile for SSH. But for some reason you still can’t SSH into the ESXi server and get a “Connection Refused” message back when hitting port 22. You’ve also checked your corporate firewall and that’s it’s not blocking comms.

Have a look in Tasks and Events to see if the server’s ramdisk for root is full. There’s a good chance that it is. This is a problem i’ve encountered with vSphere 5.1 recently and is preventing SSH from starting properly.

The cause of the ramdisk filling up is ESXi not truncating /var/log/wtmp properly. That’s another issue, but to fix the immediate problem, vMotion all the VMs off the ESXi server first. You may get errors like “Cannot migrate <vmname>”. It’s all because of the full ramdisk. You can often give it a kick by re-running DRS for the cluster and that gets it going again.

Once all VMs are off the server, reboot it and your problems should go away.


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