How to check vCenter Server essential service status and dependencies
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How to check vCenter Server essential service status and dependencies


Article ID: 328009


Updated On:




This article provides information on how to determine whether critical services are failing to start on vCenter Server, and if so, which service is the first to fail.

vCenter Server is not accessible through the web client if essential services are not starting.


Services may fail to run for many reasons, such as:
  • Disk space is full
  • Database problems
  • Operating System problems
  • System performance problems
  • System resource problems


Determine which services are currently running

vCenter Appliance:

  • Through the vSphere Appliance Management Interface (VAMI):

  1. Log in to Center Server Appliance Management Interface following Log In to the vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface.
  2. Select Services.
  3. Note which services are stopped. Generally, the services which have a Startup Type of "Manual" or "Disabled" are not required services.
  • Through the command line interface:

  1. Log in as root through an SSH or console session on the vCenter Server Appliance.
  2. If trying to use an SSH client, and the connection is rejected, please connect to the VAMI and enable SSH access through Access > Access Settings > EDIT > SSH Login > Enabled.
  1. Required for vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 only. You are prompted to run this command to enable the shell:
shell.set --enabled true
  1. Run this command to launch the shell.


  1. Run this command to list the running services:

service-control --status

Windows vCenter Server:

  1. Log in to the vCenter Server device with Administrator level credentials and open a command window with Administrator level access.
  2. Run the command to reach the vCenter Server binaries:

c:\Program Files\VMware\vCenter Server\bin

  1. Run the command to list running services.
service-control --status

You should see a list of services such as :


Above, we see a system where all required services are running. So typically, the following services are not required:

  • vmcam
  • vmware-imagebuilder -- unless the Imagebuilder feature has been enabled
  • vmware-netdumper
  • vmware-rbd-watchdog
  • vmware-vcha -- unless vCenter High Availability has been enabled

Determine which service is failing first

  1. When there are multiple critical services not starting, it is important to understand which service is actually failing first. Some services depend on other services to be started before they can start.
  2. Run the commands to restart the services to see which generates the failure first:

service-control --stop --all
service-control --start --all

  1. Take note of which service reports failure to start. Do searches for articles based on that finding to proceed with further troubleshooting.

Checking service dependencies

To find the dependencies of any one service, run the command, where the text in italics is replaced with the name of the service as it appears in the list:

service-control --list-dependencies servicename

Additional Information

"503 Service Unavailable" error on the vSphere Web Client when logging in or accessing the vCenter Server
vCenter Server Appliance disk space is full
Stopping, Starting or Restarting VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.x & above services