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SSH connection after upgrading to ESXi 5.0 fails with the auth.log error: Could not load host key (2010607)

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  • After upgrading hosts from ESXi 4.1 to 5.0 and when using Private Keys, you cannot establish an SSH connection to the hosts
  • This issue occurs even though:
    • SSH is enabled on the hosts
    • SSH port 22 is accessible
    • No firewall is enabled

  • The /var/log/auth.log file displays these messages on the ESXi host:

    sshd[197442]: error: Could not load host key: /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
    sshd[197442]: error: Could not load host key: /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key
    sshd[197442]: Disabling protocol version 2. Could not load host key
    sshd[197442]: sshd: no hostkeys available -- exiting.
    login[197808]: pam_per_user: create_subrequest_handle(): doing map lookup for user "root"
    login[197808]: pam_per_user: create_subrequest_handle(): creating new subrequest (user="root", service="system-auth-generic")
    login[197808]: pam_unix(system-auth-generic:session): session opened for user root by (uid=0)
    login[197808]: root login on 'char/tty/1'


If you previously used Private Keys for authentication, the keys are no longer valid after upgrading.


To generate a new key pair::
  1. Access the ESXi host command line from the DCUI. For more information, see Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 and ESXi 5.x (1017910).
  2. cd to /usr/lib/vmware/openssh/bin/.
  3. Run these commands:
# ./ssh-keygen -t dsa -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_dsa_key
# ./ssh-keygen -t rsa -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key

Note: You are prompted for a passphrase. Passphrases are optional when generating SSH private keys. For more information, see Allowing SSH access to ESX hosts with public/private key authentication (1002866).

See Also

Update History

04/26/2013 - Added ESXi 5.1.x to Products

Request a Product Feature

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