VMWare VCSA – Root Password Is Not Set

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I was recently working on building a VMWare lab to start learning NSX-T and started off by deploying a VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance) instance to my environment. I started working with version 6.5 to match the version 6.5 of the hypervisor that I had running elsewhere. Small tip, this is not required and you’ll see how this would have helped me in a moment.

I went to deploy the VCSA per the normal process of running the installer from the ISO and noticed that each time it deployed, the process would stop at 80% and when I checked the console of the appliance, it mentioned that my “root password is not set”.

I confirmed multiple times that I did specify the new root password in the installer and even tried the manual process of deploying via the OVA. No luck. I checked the installation logs and it mentioned more errors regarding not being able to authenticate:

“debug: [1]pollRpmInstallProgress:getGuestFileErr:ServerFaultCode: Failed to authenticate with the guest operating system using the supplied credentials.”

After a bit of research on the web, I found the solution and I hope this might save some other people some troubleshooting time. I found a VMWare page referring to this issue: ‘Failed to authentication with guest OS using supplied credentials’ error while Deploy, Upgrade, Migrate or Restore of VCSA 6.5 GA or U1 (51124)

Basically what the issue is is that the root password that is built into the appliance was set to expire 365 days after the OS build time. Meaning, since I was trying to deploy an old version, the time was too far ahead and the root password was expired and stopping my deployment. That’s when I found that you could use a VCSA 6.7 version for instance even with a 6.5 version of ESXi. I deployed the new code and it worked without issue. The issue has also been fixed in newer versions.

Hopefully this can save someone some troubleshooting time!

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