The other day I was at a customer for a fresh installation of Nutanix using vSphere 6.5. And for whatever reason, when they were resetting the ESXi root password to their default, it was fat fingered. When they went to add the hosts to vCenter, they couldn’t add them since the password was wrong. So what to do? If this was a non-Nutanix environment, the only supported ESXi method of resetting a lost password is re-imaging the server. But, Nutanix has a CVM running on each node that is configured with SSH keys to access the ESXi host. We can use a private IP address and the embedded SSH keys to successfully reset.
The full process to reset a lost ESXi root password on Nutanix is:
1. ssh into the CVM on the host that has the lost ESXi root password, using the Nutanix account name.
2. Enter: ssh firstname.lastname@example.org
3. ESXi console: passwd root
4. If the account is locked out: pam_tally2 –user root –reset
If you then run the add host wizard in vCenter and your password doesn’t work, try rebooting the ESXi host. This procedure saved us from re-phoenixing the ESXi host.