ESXi Host loses config after reboot, no remediation/update possible. altbootbank damaged.

Short story: A freshly installed ESXi host lost its config after the first reboot. Curiously, it kept it after a factory reset. However, after a vCenter join no update was possible. Solution down below! 😉

Longer story: It has been quiet here. That is due to multiple factors, one of them being that our vSphere installation is running nice and smoothly.

But now we decided to re-install the hosts with a new image and join them to a new vCenter Server. Both, hosts and vCenter, have been upgraded again and again, and sometimes you just want to start over.

So, I installed the newest HP image, configured the hosts management interface, joined it to the vCenter and configured other things like vMotion network and so on. After a reboot, the host did not reconnect to the vCenter Server. The DCUI stated it had not IP whatsoever, and I couldn’t even give it a new one. No vmkernel NICs showed in the ESX CLI.

After a factory reset everything was there again, so like before I configured everything, joined the server to the vCenter and everything seemed jolly. However, I recognized it wasn’t the newest built, so I tried using update manager to remediate the host.

It wouldn’t even stage the patches, so I went to the console and looked at the /var/log/esxupdate.log file. I sure found the problem:

There was an error checking file system on altbootbank, please see log for detail.’)

Solution: With this error message and google right at hand the solution was easy to find: VMware KB 2033564. It seemed that somehow the bootbank / altbootbank was damaged, for whatever reason I cannot be certain. The important part is: It is fixable, and the host is now up and running with all the latest patches.

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