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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.
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:
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:
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:
service-control --status vpxd
Start and stop a service ^
To start a service, type the following command:
service-control --start vpxd
Or to stop a service, type:
service-control --stop vpxd
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:
service-control --stop --all
To start all services present in the current profile, execute this command:
service-control --start --all
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.
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.
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:
cd C:\Program Files\VMware\vCenter Server\bin
Then simply run:
You can also use any other command I discussed above to stop and start a particular service or all services.