Troubleshooting vmware-hostd service if it fails or stops responding on an ESX/ESXi host
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Troubleshooting vmware-hostd service if it fails or stops responding on an ESX/ESXi host


Article ID: 316598


Updated On:


VMware vSphere ESXi


You see these errors:
  • VPXA log errors:

    Authd error: 514 Error connecting to hostd-vmdb service instance.
    Failed to connect to host :902. Check that authd is running correctly (lib/connect error 11).
  • Error in hostd.log

    2014-06-27T19:57:41.000Z [282DFB70 info 'Vimsvc.ha-eventmgr'] Event 8002 : Issue detected on esxi.domain.local in ha-datacenter: hostd detected to be non-responsive
  • vCenter Server Errors:

    Unable to access the specified host. It either does not exist, the server software is not responding, or there is a network problem.
  • When you try to add or reconnect the host to vCenter Server using vSphere/VMware Infrastructure Client, you see the error:

    VMware Infrastructure Client could not establish the initial connection with server your server. Details: A connection failure occurred.
  • When you try to connect directly to the ESX/ESXi host, you see this error in the vSphere/VMware Infrastructure Client:

    Unable to access the specified host. It does not exist, the server software is not responding, or there is a network problem.


VMware ESXi 3.5.x Embedded
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Embedded
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Installable
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Embedded
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1
VMware ESX Server 3.5.x
VMware ESX 4.1.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7
VMware ESXi 3.5.x Installable
VMware ESX Server 3.0.x
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Installable
VMware ESX 4.0.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0


Note: Some of these steps are valid only for ESX only, and not ESXi as the Service Console has been removed.

The vmware-hostd management service is the main communication channel between ESX/ESXi hosts and VMkernel. If vmware-hostd fails, ESX/ESXi hosts disconnects from vCenter Server/VirtualCenter and cannot be managed, even if you try to connect to the ESX/ESXi host directly. When this happens, you see these errors.

To resolve this issue, validate that each troubleshooting step below is true for your environment. The steps provide instructions or a link to a document, for validating the step and taking corrective action as necessary. The steps are ordered in the most appropriate sequence to isolate the issue and identify the proper resolution. After each step, attempt to restart the management agents. Do not skip a step.

Note: For information on restarting mgmt-vmware, see Restarting the Management agents on an ESX or ESXi Server (1003490).

When the vmware-hostd service fails to respond

  1. Verify network connectivity to the ESX service console or the ESXi management console. For more information, see Testing network connectivity with the ping command (1003486).
  2. Verify that vmware-hostd is running. For more information, see Verifying that the Management Service is running on an ESX host (1003494) and Verifying if management services are running on an ESXi host (2030663).
  3. Verify that either ports 80 or 443 are open, by running these commands:

    For ESX: netstat -an

    For ESXi: esxcli network ip connection list

    For more information, see Determining if a port is in use (1003971).
  4. Verify that the /etc/hosts file is written correctly and has entries similar to:

    # Do not remove the following line, or various programs
    # that require network functionality will fail. <localhost>.<localdomain> <localhost> <server>.<domain> <server>

  5. Verify that service console partitions have available disk space. If either / or /var/log is full, then vmware-hostd cannot start because it is trying to write information to a full disk. For more information on disk space usage on the ESX host, see Investigating disk space on an ESX or ESXi host (1003564).
  6. Verify that there is SAN connectivity and that SAN has been properly added or removed, by running this command:

    ls /vmfs/volumes


    vdf -h

    If the commands take a very long time to complete or report an error, see Identifying shared storage issues with ESX or ESXi (1003659).
  7. On an ESX host only, verify that file /etc/vmware/esx.conf is not missing or corrupt. If the file is missing or corrupt, replace it with a backup copy from/var/log/oldconf/. For more information, see Troubleshooting an ESX host that does not boot (10065).
  8. For an ESX host only, verify that there are no syntax errors in the /etc/vmware/firewall/services.xml file:
    • Check /var/log/vmware/hostd.log for these errors:

      ['ServiceSystem' 3076444288 verbose] Command finished with status 0
      ['FirewallSystem' 3076444288 verbose] Loading firewall configuration file '/etc/vmware/firewall/services.xml'
      ['App' 3076444288 panic] Application error: no element found
    • Run the command:

      esxcfg-firewall -q

      You may see this error:

      No element found at line 480, column 0, byte 11664 at /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.0/i386-linux-thread-multi/XML/ line 185

      If you observe any of these errors, see Troubleshooting the firewall policy on an ESX host (1003634).
  9. Verify that CPU usage is below 90%, by running this command:


    For more information regarding esxtop, see Using esxtop to Troubleshoot Performance Problems.

    If vmware-hostd is using more than 90% CPU, increase the amount of memory that is assigned to the ESX service console (valid for ESX only). For more information, see Increasing the amount of RAM assigned to the ESX Server service console (1003501).

    If a third-party component is using more than 90% CPU:
    • Check if HP Insight Manager process cmahostd is consuming CPU. If this process is running, upgrade HP Insight Manager.
    • Check if third-party software is running on the service console. If you have third-party products installed in the service console, stop the applicable processes and services and attempt to start the management agent.

      For more information, see Third-Party Software in the Service Console.
  10. For ESX only, check any virtual machines that were migrated from ESX 2.5.x or P2Ved with VMware Converter. For more information, see vmware-hostd may use a lot of CPU or has generated a core dump on an ESX host (4718356).
  11. For ESX only, check for security scanners on your network. For more information, see The ESX Management agent fails when scanned by network security scanner (1002707).

If additional assistance is required for any of the above steps, file a support request with VMware Support and note this KB Article ID (1002849) in the problem description. For more information, see How to Submit a Support Request.

When the vmware-hostd service fails to start

If the vmware-hostd service fails to start, perform these troubleshooting steps:
  1. Check for failed Network File System (NFS) or Server Message Block (SMB) mounts on the ESX/ESXi host. If the are failed NFS or SMB mounts, disable or remove the mounts and restart mgmt-vmware.
  2. For ESX only, check the /etc/vmware/firewall directory for any files other than service.xml. If there are any extraneous files in the directory, move them to an alternate location.
  3. Check for corruption of virtual machine configuration files. For more information, see Re-registering orphaned virtual machines (1007541).
  4. Check for corruption of the /etc/vmware/hostd/config.xml by looking for blank hostd logs. If the config.xml file is corrupt, reinstall it:
    1. For ESX only, copy the RPM Package Manager from your installation media. On the installation CD it is located in \VMware\RPMS\VMware-hostd-xxxxx.i386.rpm.

      Note: Be sure to copy the same version of hostd for the version ESX that you are using. To find the exact version of hostd you are using, run this command:

      rpm -qa | grep hostd
    2. Run this command:

      rpm -ivh --replacepkgs VMware-hostd-xxxxx.i386.rpm
  5. For ESX only, check if there are any third-party monitoring applications using port 9080, such as:
    • Computer Associates (CA) Network System Manager (NSM) (R11)
    • CA Advanced System Manager (ASM) (R11.1)
    • CAeAC - etrust
  6. In ESXi 5.x, run these commands:

    /etc/init.d/hostd status
    /etc/init.d/hostd start
    /etc/init.d/hostd stop

    If a third-party monitoring applications is using port 9080, you may see these error messages:

    ['Solo' 3076436096 info] Micro web server port: 9080
    ['App' 3076436096 panic] Application error: Address already in use
    ['App' 3076436096 panic] Backtrace generated
Disabling the services resolves the issue. For more information, see Third-Party Software in the Service Console.

If the issue continues to exist after trying the steps in this article:

Additional Information:
日本語: ESX/ESXi ホスト上で応答に失敗または応答が停止した場合の vmware-hostd サービスのトラブルシューティング (2080067)
简体中文: vmware-hostd 服务失败或在 ESX/ESXi 主机上停止响应时排除故障 (2086202)