IT Infrastructure | Virtualization | Application Delivery | Networking | Storage

VMware vCenter IP Change – 503 Service Unavailable

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One of my clients had endless issues with a problematic vCenter server running on Windows Server 2008R2. I recommended the vCenter appliance (vCenter 6 Update 1) and subsequently got asked to do the work… all went to plan, but I got a call a few weeks later to say it stopped working following a relativity straight forward migration to different network segment.

The client actioned an export / import of the vCenter OVA and updated the IP address with one from the new subnet. When trying to access the vCenter via the web to manage their environment they got the following error:


I jumped on to take a look and after some digging, I found that host file on the appliance is not updated with the new IP address following the change. To fix this, connect to the appliance using ssh and drop into the shell. If you have issues connecting, make sure ssh and bash are enabled, you can do this by browsing to:



  • Connect to the appliance using your ssh client of choice
  • Drop into the shell by typing ‘shell’
  • Now, edit the ‘hosts’ file in ‘etc’ using VI
  • Command – ‘vi /etc/hosts’

Rusty with VI? Let me google that for you:

Once the IP is updated, give the appliance a reboot.

If you are still having issues connecting, give all vCenter services a restart,

  • Connect to the appliance using your ssh client of choice
  • Drop into the shell by typing ‘shell’
  • Change directory to bin ‘cd/bin’
  • Stop all services ‘service-control –stop –all’
  • Start all services ‘service-control –start –all’

Now, you should be cooking with gas…

Author: John Gallacher

John Gallacher is a Senior Technical Consultant working for a Global Systems Integrator and MSP specializing in Microsoft, Citrix & Cloud Computing technologies.

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