I have inherited a VMWare environement ESX v3i 3.5. When I opened Virtual Centre, one of the Hosts showed up as Not Responding.

Hosts Not Responding

The error I am seeing is:

Unable to acquire licenses because license source is unavailable: The license manager has not been started yet, the wrong port@host or license file is being used, or the port or hostname in the license file has been changed.

What I have tried:

  • I have Stopped and Started the license server within the application. When I do this, I am able to disconnect the host in Virtual Centre and reconnect. This brings the host back online, but a few minutes later, the host goes to a not responding state again.
  • I have rebooted the server with the Licensing software installed.

License Server

While browsing Google, I have not been able to find any steps I feel comfortable performing and I would like the opinion of the VMWare pros.

Where are the log files I should be looking at to correctly determine what is going on? Has anyone seen this behaviour and how did you resolve it?

  • 1
    Have any network changes been made recently? This can happen when the vCenter server is able to talk to the host (it reconnects OK) but then drops when the host can't initiate a connection to vCenter. Also check that the Managed IP Address looks correct for vCenter, if one is configured or the vCenter server has multiple IPs. If you click on the host in vCenter, then the tasks and events tab, then events, are there any that look relevant? – Shane Madden Dec 6 '12 at 1:48
  • I will check this and get back to you. There have been no network changes at all. The Host was showing not responding. When I disconnected, I was unable to reconnect it. When I restarted the Licensing Server, it would connect and then go to a not responding state again after a few minutes. – Ross Dec 7 '12 at 23:11

Can you specify whether the unreachable host is a VMWare ESX 3.5 host or a VMWare ESXi 3.5 host? Both exist, and the approach to resolving this issue is slightly different.

Let's assume it's an ESXi 3.5 host...

Connect to the console of the server or use a keyboard/monitor. Press "F2" and enter your password. You can use the "Restart Management Agents" option from the "Customize System" menu. This is detailed here.

If this is an ESX host with the Red Hat-like service console, you can just login and restart the management agent services from the command line:

service mgmt-vmware restart
service vmware-vpxa restart

Try the appropriate action for the server that's having the issue.

More detail at VMWare Knowledgebase #1003490

  • This is ESXi, there does not appear to be SSH access to the hosts. I have a KVM connected to the Host, so I have gone through Restarting the Management Agents. This allowed me to connect to the host for a brief moment but then the host went back to a not responding state after about 1 minute. Are there recommended Log files I could access in order to try see why the host is going to this not responding state? The license server is a Windows Server 2003 install which I am able to connect to. – Ross Dec 10 '12 at 0:22
  • Ok, So. I spoke with VMWare licensing support and we have confirmed there is no issue with the license file. I cannot see it being a network issue as nothing had changed (I have inherited the network, so I am not comfortable changing anything until my audit is complete.) – Ross Dec 10 '12 at 6:01
  • This link has the steps: kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/… – Ross Dec 10 '12 at 6:48

OK, I am so happy right now.

Note to all and my future self. Even if you think you have restarted the correct Management Agent and the Virtual Centre management server twice; quadruple check that you have restarted the correct Management Agent. The VMWare Link for Restarting the Management agents on an ESXi or ESX host

The issue is now resolved.

Turns out, after speaking with VMWare licensing support, who were very helpful and remotely connected to the license server and checked the file. The licensing was not the issue.

With this out of the way, I went back to the Management Agent and trying to SSH or Telnet into the Host that was not responding. Without success, I was not able to get access.

Now, keep in mind, I have inherited this infrastructure from another Sys Admin.

I discovered a dusty old document with some details on accessing the Blades remotely using their Lilo cards. (Bless the Built in KVM access.)

I then realised all this time, that I was restarting the wrong hosts Management Agent. Ding ding ding. After restarting the Management Agent on the correct host. All was happy and working.

I was going around in circles and the license server errors and DRS errors on the other host were just blinding me.

Thanks to all who read and answered.

So happy!

  • 2
    With all due respect, this is essentially what @ewwhite posted – Dan Dec 10 '12 at 10:50

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