Start and stop services in vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 6.5

This post will focus on managing the important individual services that are the core of the VMware infrastructure. We'll learn how to start, stop, and restart services in vCenter Server Appliance 6.5. The procedure is similar for a vCenter server installed on a Windows server, which I'll cover as well.
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Vladan Seget

Vladan Seget is as an independent consultant, professional blogger, vExpert 2009-2016, VCAP5-DCA/DCD, VCP, and MCSA. He has been working for over 15 years as a system engineer.
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The VMware vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) 6.5 is a fundamental building block of the modern vSphere environment. All the management features of a vSphere environment revolve around this product that is very easy to deploy and manage. Its principal functionality is embedded into a single location, a single virtual machine (VM).

This platform now runs on Photon OS, a very lightweight Linux environment with a minimal footprint (300 MB) and most importantly, VMware's own distribution. However, this might make some users a bit uncomfortable. There is a small learning curve starting, for example, with this basic post on how to manage the principal vCenter services.

VMware administrators have always been accustomed to managing the VMware vSphere environment via a vCenter server installed on a Windows server. The switch to a new platform based on Linux might not be easy for some, though most management options are available through the graphical user interface (GUI) via the Appliance Management User Interface (Appliance MUI).

You can access the interface using https://<fqdn or ip>:5480.

For vCSA 6.5, you will need to enable the SSH and appliance shell first through the Appliance MUI. To do this, log in to vCSA as root and go to Access > Edit, then select Enable SSH login and Enable BASH shell.

Enable SSH and bash first

Enable SSH and bash first

You can now log in via SSH with your preferred SSH client, such as PuTTY.

After login, type: shell

List services in a vCSA appliance ^

It is important to know that the list of services may differ depending on the deployment type, for example, a vCenter appliance, an external Platform Services Controller (PSC), and also for an embedded vCSA. To list all services, execute this command:

List all the services in a VCSA appliance

List all the services in a VCSA appliance

As you can see, the above command only lists the available services without displaying their statuses. To check the status of all services, you can enter the following command:

List services and their statuses

List services and their statuses

If you want to know the status of a particular service, say the vpxd service that is the main vCSA service, you would type this:

Status of individual service

Status of individual service

Start and stop a service ^

To start a service, type the following command:

Start an individual service

Start an individual service

Or to stop a service, type:

Stop an individual service

Stop an individual service

Stop and start all VMware vCSA services ^

Sometimes it may be necessary to stop and restart all services installed on this particular vCSA based on the installed roles such as vCenter, external PSC or an embedded vCenter server.

You can stop all services with this command:

Stop all VMware vCSA services

Stop all VMware vCSA services

To start all services present in the current profile, execute this command:

Note that starting all services takes time because the process itself manages internal dependencies and the initialization of each service. In my lab environment, it sometimes takes five to six minutes to start all services.

Start all services in VMware vCSA

Start all services in VMware vCSA

It is worth noting that with vSphere 6.5, the vCSA services are not standalone services under the Windows Service Control Manager (SCM) but run as child processes of the VMware Service Lifecycle Manager (SLM) service.

List all services via vSphere web client ^

You can also list all services and their statuses via the vSphere web client. This is the easy way. After login, simply go to:

Administration > Deployment > System Configuration.

Click Services to view the list of all services within the vCenter Server system.

To view a list of services for a specific node, click Nodes, select the node, and click the Related Objects tab.

Check service health through the vSphere Web Client

Check service health through the vSphere Web Client

vCenter Server on Windows Server ^

In case you're running vCenter on a Windows server, the process is similar with just different ways to access starting and launching the command prompt window. Here is how to do it:

Open an administrative command prompt and run the following command to change to the vCenter server or the PSC installation directory:

Then simply run:

You can also use any other command I discussed above to stop and start a particular service or all services.

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