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How do you enable SSH login for vSphere Data Protection?

You can't pick and choose when a disaster occurs. And, sometimes, you need remote access to monitor the situation. VMware vSphere Data Protection is an important feature that helps keep your environment safe in case of a disaster.

VSphere Data Protection is a virtual appliance that supports full virtual machine and file-level restoration and protects powered-off VMs. You can access the vSphere Data Protection appliance through a Secure Shell (SSH) client, such as PuTTY. However, you might not be able to log in through PuTTY or another SSH client if you don't have the proper settings in place.

First, try to log in through PuTTY. Open PuTTY, choose the proper IP address and try to log in as root with the password you received during installation. In most cases, you'll receive the message, "Access denied."

If you were unable to log in through the SSH client, you have to log in directly to the console -- via the VMware remote console -- to enable SSH login. Open the vSphere Web Client and select the vSphere Data Protection (VDP) appliance from the list. In that window, under the Summary tab, click the blue settings wheel in the top left. From that drop-down menu, select Launch Remote Console

Log in as root and use the password you used when you set up the vSphere Data Protection appliance.

VSphere Data Protection login
Figure A. Log in to VDP through the VMware Remote Console.

To enable SSH login, there is one configuration line you need to change. First, you need to access that directory. In the VMware Remote Console, enter the cd/etc/ssh command to list the directory options.

Next, enter vi sshd_config to launch the proper file in a vi editor. If you're not familiar with the vi editor, it's best to learn about it before you edit files. There are a couple of different modes, such as insert mode, that allow you to edit differently.

Near the bottom of the file, find the line, PermitRootLogin no. There are actually two lines that are very similar, but we're looking for the first reference and the one that lists no after it.

Using the arrow keys, place your cursor at the end of the line, on the "n" in no. Press the Insert key, and replace no with yes (Figure B).

PermitRootLogin yes
Figure B. Changing PermitRootLogin from no to yes.

Press the Escape key to return to command mode. At the bottom of the file, enter the command :wq! to save (write) and quit.

The final step is to restart the sshd to make sure the configuration change takes place. Enter the /etc/init.d/sshd restart command.

Open PuTTY, or whichever SSH client you use, and try to log in; you should be able to remotely access the vSphere Data Protection appliance now, giving you more flexibility in case of a disaster.

To disable remote SSH access, follow the same steps, but change the first PermitRootLogin line back to no instead of yes. Just make sure to restart the sshd daemon again to have the change go into effect.

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