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INTRODUCTION: In the dynamic landscape of virtualization, ESXi hosts play a pivotal role in delivering robust and scalable virtual infrastructure. However, encountering an ESXi host in a state of unresponsiveness can be a challenging scenario. We address the critical issue of an ESXi host not responding, providing comprehensive insights into the potential causes, systematic troubleshooting methodologies, and effective resolution strategies.

Problem Statement:An ESXi host shows as “not responding” in vCenter Server. ESXi host shows as disconnected in vCenter Server. We cannot connect the host to the vCenter Server.Virtual machines on an ESXi host show as greyed out in vCenter Server.

SOLUTION:We began by verifying the accessibility of the ESXi host from both the vCenter serverand the vSphere Client, confirming that it was indeed accessible. Subsequently, we attempted to reconnect the host and then ensured that the server responded to the correct IP address, verifying the accuracy of the management IP. Additionally, we confirmed the existence of network connectivity from the vCenter Server to the ESXi host using both the IP and FQDN.

Upon inspecting the VPXA log errors, it became evident that the HOSTD service was not running; it had stopped unexpectedly. The vmware-hostd management service serves as the primary communication channel between ESX/ESXi hosts and VMkernel. When vmware-hostd fails, ESX/ESXi hosts become disconnected from vCenter Server/VirtualCenter, rendering them unmanageable even when attempting a direct connection to the ESX/ESXi host.

Efforts to start the HOSTD service were unsuccessful, leading us to initiate a thorough troubleshooting process. Ultimately, our investigation revealed that the /etc/vmware/hostd/config.xml file had become corrupted. To address this issue, we reinstalled the file, successfully restoring the service to an operational state.


Our troubleshooting journey began with a comprehensive assessment of the ESXi host’s accessibility from both the vCenter server and the vSphere Client, confirming its operational status. Despite initial success, we encountered challenges when attempting to reconnect the host and ensuring accurate IP address responses. Delving further into the issue, we discovered that the HOSTD service had unexpectedly ceased, disrupting the crucial communication between ESX/ESXi hosts and VMkernel. This interruption resulted in a disconnection from vCenter Server/VirtualCenter, making the hosts unmanageable even through direct connections. Despite unsuccessful attempts to restart the HOSTD service, our meticulous troubleshooting efforts unveiled a corrupted /etc/vmware/hostd/config.xml file as the root cause. Through reinstallation, we successfully rectified the file corruption, ultimately restoring the HOSTD service to operational status. This experience highlights the importance of a systematic approach to troubleshooting, leading to the identification and resolution of complex issues within the ESXi host environment.

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