Recover ESXi Root Password using AD Authentication
Losing a root password isn’t something that happens often, but when it does it’s normally a really irritating time. I have to rotate the password of all hosts once a month for compliance, but sometimes a host drops out of the loop and the root password gets lost. Fortunately, as the vpxuser is still valid I can manage the host via vCenter – this lends itself to this little recovery process:
- Join the host to the domain (I’ve got a handy post for that here)
- Create the “ESX Admins” group in your AD and ensure that you are a member. The AD group will be given full administrator rights on the host automatically.
- Wait for replication, and the host to pick up the group and membership – it took about 15 minutes for me.
- You can now connect directly to the host using the vSphere Client – head on to the “Local Users & Groups” page and edit “root”:
- You should now be able to connect to the host using your new root password.
vSphere Security: Active Directory Authentication
This is the second article in a series of vSphere Security articles that I have planned. The majority of this article is based on vSphere/ESXi 5.1, though I will include any 5.5 information that I find relevant. The first article in this series was vSphere Security: Understanding ESXi 5.x Lockdown Mode.
Why would you want to join an ESXi host to an Active Directory domain? Well you’re not going to get Group Policies applying, what you’re really doing is adding another authentication provider directly to the ESXi host. You will see a computer object created in AD, but you will still need to create a DNS entry (or configure DHCP to do it for you). What you will get is a way to audit root access to your hosts, to give administrators a single sign on for managing all aspects of your virtual environment and more options in your administrative arsenal – for example, if you’re using an AD group to manage host root access, you don’t have to log onto however many ESXi hosts you have to remove a user’s permissions, simply remove them from the group. You can keep your root passwords in a sealed envelope for emergencies! 😉 (more…)