VMware VCSA root password expiration

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VMware's vCenter based on the linux appliance (VCSA) will be the only supported vCenter version after vSphere 6.7. Windows vCenter is deprecated so time to say goodbye. Currently the Windows version is still available but you should plan for a migration to VCSA. Before you start upgrading your 5.x or 6.0 Windows vCenters to Windows vCenter 6.5 keep in mind that the fabulous vCenter migration wizard currently only supports migrations to VCSA 6.5 from 5.5 or 6.0. There is no support for migrating a Windows based vCenter 6.5 to VCSA 6.5. There are some inofficial scripts flying around in the internet but you should stay at officially supported migration pathes. So before you ever think about upgrading your Windows vCenter to 6.5, plan the migration to VCSA. It's nice, it's uncomplicated and VCSA is much faster than the Windows version.

Please keep in mind that when migrating to or installing a new VCSA you will get prompted for a root password. This root user will be used when directly connecting to the VCSAs management, either via WebGUI or SSH. You need this access to configure the VCSA and to do updates (Update Manager currently does not support updating the VCSA as it also didn't support updating/upgrading the Windows version since the beginning). Unfortunately the default setting for the root password is to expire after a specific amount of time. The default is 365 days. If you forget or don't need to configure a SMTP server and activate email alerting then you will never get the password expiration email and no other hint that your root password is going to expire. If it expires then you are locked out from any management functionality. Your only solution now is to reset the root password with booting into single user mode. This requires some effort as you have to press a button during the boot loader phase and set the single user mode option. The fact that the VCSA boots up very quickly and your only console interface is a quite sedate web browser window will make this task nearly impossible. So better be prepared and either extend the password validation period to more than 365 days or disable password expiration at all. You can do that in the web management of the appliance.  


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