A useful and neat utility not included in ESX server is “screen”. You can connect to SSH multiple times using PuTTy, but each is a separate session. So if you have 5 simultaneous tasks to do, you would have to open 5 SSH sessions and login to each. Each SSH session must be left open while a process is taking place. Therefore, you cannot connect, start a long process, and then disconnect (as you would be able to when using Microsoft RDP and Citrix). The screen allows you to have many “windows” in a single PuTTy session and allows you to close your SSH Session while leaving processes running.
To install the screen you have to download these packages from Redhat Linux website. I found clicking at these links did not work, so instead I had to crank-up an FTP client and connection anonymously to access the FTP site
Download the packages above
WinSCP them to your ESX server
Install utempter-0.5.2-6.i386.rpm first with :rpm -Uvh –nodeps utempter-0.5.2-6.i386.rpm
and then screen with
rpm -Uvh –nodeps screen-3.9.9-3.i386.rpm
Screen is now installed, its not a service so it shouldn’t be a burden on the service console.
Creating “Windows” and Toggling Between Them
It is best to show you this by illustration
Logon to the Service Console using PuTTy
Type the command:screen
You will get a welcome screen, press [Enter] to clear this screen
This is your first window. Typing screen -ls lists will cause the windows to open and socket names will be allocated to each.
Type control+a followed by c to create a new console window within the screen you have created. Note:
You can do this multiple times for multiple processes
In the new “window” Start topNote:
We now have two screens, one running esxtop and the other top.
To switch to the next screen (like Alt+Tab in Windows) type: control+a followed by nNote:
You can use control+a followed by p for the previous screen
Now close your PuTTy session and re-open a brand new session with PuTTy
Type screen -ls to list your screens sockets.
To reconnect to your screen: screen -r 2014.pts-0.esx1
So what we have seen here is how to create multiple screens. To switch between screens disconnect and reconnect to running screens. It’s not a tool I use that much myself – but I imagine others might find it useful. Where I have used it is when I need to be in two different locations on the file system. Rather than having two PuTTy session open, I just create another screen
To exit the screens you are in just type exit as you would in PuTTy
If you want a list of command type control+a followed by ?Note:
If you want to read another guide on screen – see: