I am currently setting up a new Server with ESXi 6.7 standalone (DELL PowerEdge R620, not part of a vSphere Cluster). This is day two for me working on the Server and for the third time I am suddenly unable to login via HTTP or SSH:

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The message for both is simply wrong username/password. I always have to login directly on the Server's ESXi Backend (which is working fine) and do Troubleshooting Options > Restart Management Agents for it to work again. This is a fresh install of ESXi from the 6.7 Image, all I've done so far is installing updates like this:

esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-20180604001-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
# Reboot to complete the upgrade

I already had this problem a couple of weeks ago on another Server (also ESXi 6.7), but the problem only occured once after changing the root password and since it never occured again and was workin just fine after restarting the Management Agents once I didn't bother about it.

I did not find any helpful advice searching for this problem online. Any help/advice would be greatly appreaciated as I would really like to do something about this before leaving the country. This is the current ESXi version of the server:

[root@sbeesx:~] esxcli system version get
   Product: VMware ESXi
   Version: 6.7.0
   Build: Releasebuild-8941472
   Update: 0
   Patch: 14

EDIT: Just happened again, added the poper screenshots. EDIT2: Just had the phenomenon an an ESXi host managed by a vCenter Server

  • maybe your install is on a read only device? Try to change your scratch path to a persistant storage. – hoolycrap Jan 29 '19 at 17:33

Your problem manifests because your ESXi host has password retry protection enabled.

Basically, if you tries to login 3 times and failed, there will be a cool-down time, during which you cannot login even with correct password, after which you will be able to login if no more retries happened during that time. If you keep trying, the cool-down time will keep increasing.

Note that any try of the login will trigger this so if you have SSH enabled and it's exposed you will most likely be prevented to correctly login due to random tries.

What you can do:

  • Disable lockout policy
  • Create a new account and assign admin access to it
  • Disable SSH when you are not using it

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