VI / vCenter cannot connect to Host, Service mgmt-vmware restart may not restart hostd

Yesterday, I had a problem after I shutdown a lagcy San, that after I rescaned my HBA’s, ( which timed out), I lost connection to the host.

I tried restarting the normal services, in console,

# service vmware-vpxa restart

#service mgmt-vmware restart

but I would get,

Stopping VMware ESX Server Management services:
   VMware ESX Server Host Agent Watchdog                  



I found the following post , and KB article,


Both which have you kill the hostd, process, then rename the pid, file. Here is the contents of the KB.


Service mgmt-vmware restart may not restart hostd

  • You are using the command  service mgmt-vmware restart but it does not finish restarting hostd.
  • The script gets stuck when stopping the service.
  • The SSH session to the ESX host becomes unresponsive.

  • hostd does not restart


You must manually stop the stuck service and restart it.

To stop the service and restart it:

  1. Log in as root to the ESX host command-line via the physical console or via KVM connection.

  2. Navigate to the /var/run/vmware directory:
    # cd /var/run/vmware
  3. Run the following command to list the files vmware-hostd.PID and watchdog-hostd.PID:
    # ls -l vmware-hostd.PID watchdog-hostd.PID

  4. Determine the Process ID (PID) management service. View the contents of the vmware-hostd.PID file: 
    # cat vmware-hostd.PID
    For example:
    [[email protected]]# cat vmware-hostd.PID
    1191[[email protected]]#
  5. Use the resulting PID to kill the process.
    Caution: Use the kill -9 command with care. It kills the process of the supplied PID without exception or confirmation.
    # kill -9 <PID>
    In this example you run kill -9 1191.

  6. Delete the vmware-hostd.PID and watchdog-hostd.PID files:
    # rm vmware-hostd.PID watchdog-hostd.PID
  7. Restart the management service.
    # service mgmt-vmware restart”

This seemed to fix it, and without any downtime.


Roger L

Written by Roger Lund

VMware and Storage crazy man, vExpert, MN VMUG leader