VMware-vmkauthd Error

An interesting error message. When trying to connect the Vi Client Console to a virtual machine. The error message said “Error connecting: Error connecting to /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmkauthd-start process. Do you want to try again?”

This week I was teaching the “What’s New” class. This is a two day course which is about upgrading ESX 2.x.x/VirtualCenter 1.x.x to ESX 3.x.x/VirtualCenter 2.x.x. It’s also about updating people skills to the new features in Vi-3. Anyway, we had an interesting error message come up on the second day, when trying to connect the Vi Client Console to a virtual machine. The error message said “Error connecting:  Error connecting to /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmkauthd-start...

process. Do you want to try again?”. On checking the log files you could see the error happening:

Found vmkauthd: /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmkauthd-start 
vmware-authd[21792]: Redirected mks to 10.0.0.1:903
xinetd[911]: START: vmware-authd pid=22871 from=10.0.0.2
vmware-authd[22871]: login from 10.48.114.182 as 527a7bfc-3d21-989c-9983-b7c10c8cb2e0
vmware-authd[22871]: Found vmkauthd: /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmkauthd-start 
vmware-authd[22871]: Failed to spawn vmkauthd (path=’/usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmkauthd-start’, loader=’(null)’)
vmware-authd[22871]: Failed to redirect mks: failed to spawn vmware-vmkauthd

mks stands for mouse, keyboard, and screen – or KVM to you and me. 

Anyway, trying again didn’t seem to help. It felt a lot like some kind of timeout, perhaps with authentication. Searching on VMware’s KB didn’t raise up and immediate answers. So guy from the course (Dan Nicholas, and he works at Eli Lilly…) had a look on the VMTN Forums as he remembered seeing this problem a few months ago – apparently it affected his upgrade and his clean installations. He pretty quickly found the forum post that fixed this issue. This is it here:

http://www.vmware.com/community/message.jspa?messageID=508452

First you edit the /etc/vmware/config file - and add the line vmauth.server.alwaysproxy=TRUE

then restart the vmware-vmkauthd service with service vmware-vmkauthd restart

Problem solved…  Many thanks to Dan for remembering the forum post and this problem!

This was first published in June 2007
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