I am unable to connect via vSphere or SSH to an ESXi hypervisor box that manages two important virtual machines. I do not recall changing any passwords and the data centre does not have any credentials. I suspect we messed up sshd_config, since I have tried every password I know 50 times.
If I restart the hypervisor, e.g. to reinstall ESXi, the VMs will stop and not be restarted automatically, which would be disastrous if we cannot reclaim access to the hypervisor.
What are my password reset/recovery options to get root access to the same hypervisor configuration with no data loss and as little downtime as possible?
If there is no way to reset root password, what safe steps can I take to backup/snapshot the two VMs (one Ubuntu, one Windows 2008 Server) and move them to a fresh server, bearing in mind that I cannot SSH into the hypervisor?
Edit: Great feedback so far, thanks guys. More details: Local storage, RAID-1, pretty standard hardware otherwise. Yes, I can arrange physical access to the box or schedule maintenance at the data centre. AFAIK, vSphere uses SSH to talk to the hypervisor, but I could be wrong here.