How do I reconfigure a used VMWare ESX server that somebody gave me?

…submitted by Dave…

Remember, VMWare ESX is Linux-based, not like the new VMWare Server which… well… nevermind. Anyway, the ones I’ve worked with are actually based on RedHat, around the 2.4 kernel. The good news is that we can use the old-school RedHat configuration tool, netconfig. But we have to get there first…

So, plug it in, connect a monitor and keyboard, and let’s get to work. Here are the simple steps to get into the console, and reconfigure the addressing and host info:

  1. When the LILO prompt comes up, hit the TAB key to stop the boot process.
  2. To boot into runlevel 1, type: esx 1 (caveat: it may not specifically say “esx” depending on how it was installed… the important thing is that it ends with the number 1, so it knows to boot to runlevel one)
  3. When the server root prompt arrives, type: passwd root
  4. Change the password as prompted
  5. To reboot into the default runlevel, type: init 6
  6. Log in to the booted server as root when prompted.

To change the ip address info immediately, do the following:

  1. Type: ifconfig eth0 [ipaddress] netmask [mask] broadcast [broadcast]
  2. Type: route add -net gw [router address]

To change the ip address info permanently, do the following:

  1. To use the menu-based config tool, type: netconfig
  2. Fill in the networking info as prompted, and save (changes take effect on reboot)
  3. To edit the host info, type: vi /etc/sysconfig/network
  4. To reboot, type: init 6

Now you’re done! Point a browser at the address you configured, and log in as root with the new password. Of course there’s all kinds of stuff you still have to do to clean up the server, but at least you’re up and running…

Maybe next time I should to explain some stuff about Xen, to help you stay away from VMWare… 😉

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