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ESXi: persistent files you can edit to apply settings during boot

Posted by jpluimers on 2022/01/18

Since ESXi boots from RAM, most files in /etc are not persisted after modification.

The files that are persisted, are only persisted once every hour by auto-backup.sh, so better run auto-backup.sh by hand if you want to reboot after changing them.

The auto-backup.sh script is ran every hour at 1 minute past the hour as per below crontab.

Default ESXi crontab in /var/spool/cron/crontabs/root:

#min hour day mon dow command
1    1    *   *   *   /sbin/tmpwatch.py
1    *    *   *   *   /sbin/auto-backup.sh
0    *    *   *   *   /usr/lib/vmware/vmksummary/log-heartbeat.py
*/5  *    *   *   *   /bin/hostd-probe.sh ++group=host/vim/vmvisor/hostd-probe/stats/sh
00   1    *   *   *   localcli storage core device purge

Schedules deciphered via [Wayback] Crontab.guru – The cron schedule expression editor:

  • [Wayback] Every day at 01:01: “This module removes stale temporary files”
    1    1    *   *   *   /sbin/tmpwatch.py
  • [Wayback] Every hour at *:01: saves backup to /bootbank/state.tgz.
    1    *    *   *   *   /sbin/auto-backup.sh
  • [Wayback] Every hour at *:00 logs heartbeat messages to /var/log/vmksummary.log like 2021-02-23T19:00:02Z heartbeat: up 577d2h37m16s, 9 VMs; [[2802426 vmx 4194304kB] [6176344 vmx 4194304kB] [68997 vmx 8388608kB]] [[2802426 vmx 0%max] [6176344 vmx 0%max] [68997 vmx 0%max]]
    0    *    *   *   *   /usr/lib/vmware/vmksummary/log-heartbeat.py
  • [Wayback] Every 5th minute logs to /var/log/hostd-probe.log.
    */5  *    *   *   *   /bin/hostd-probe.sh ++group=host/vim/vmvisor/hostd-probe/stats/sh
  • [Wayback] Every day at 01:00: Removes storage devices which have not been seen in some time interval.
    00   1    *   *   *   localcli storage core device purge

Note that localcli commands are the same as esxcli; for esxcli, a running hostd is required; localcli can run without hostd. See:

–jeroen

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