ESXi tip: hostd unresponsive? there is a tool to help

Hitting hostd unresponsive issues?

The VMware-hostd service as you probably know is the main communicator between the host and the VMkernel. Handles  most of the management tasks, including interfacing connections from vCenter and remote command-line connections with esxcli or PowerCLI.

If the hostd service fails, the ESXi host becomes unavailable for management. Crucially though, ESXi is still aware of all the running VMs, datastore mounts,  so important to note the hostd failure does not mean virtual machines are taken down. At the same time, nearly all your administration will be done through vCenter so vital for the administrator hostd is up and running again.

In some cases, when the hostd service does not respond and cannot be restarted by normal means, vSphere 5/6 offers a new utility called localcli which can help overcome this issue.

As this tool effectively bypasses hostd, it makes it ideal to make changes in emergency situations. Any changes made with the tool will not be reflected in the user’s interface or hostd internal state.

As localcli is an equivalent to esxcli the same syntax applies.


Tool should be used carefully as localcli can bring hosts into an inconsistent state so should be used only as a means to recover from failure. In unsure VMware support can provide assistance with the tool.

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