Enable shell access to the VCH Endpoint VM

You can use the vic-machine debug command to enable shell access to a virtual container host (VCH) endpoint VM by setting a root password on the VM. Setting a root password enables access to the VCH endpoint VM via the VM console only. If you require SSH access to the VCH endoint VM, rather than just shell access, see Authorize SSH Access to the VCH Endpoint VM.

IMPORTANT: Any changes that you make to a VCH by using vic-machine debug are non-persistent and are discarded if the VCH endpoint VM reboots.

For descriptions of the options that vic-machine debug includes in addition to the Common vic-machine Options, and for information about password expiry periods, see VCH Debug Options.


You deployed a VCH.


  1. On the system on which you run vic-machine, navigate to the directory that contains the vic-machine utility.
  2. Run the vic-machine debug command.

    • Specify the vSphere target and its credentials, either in the --target option or separately in the --user and --password options.

      The credentials that you provide must have the following privilege on the endpoint VM:

      Virtual machine.Guest Operations.Guest Operation Program Execution

    • Specify the ID or name of the VCH to debug.
    • Potentially provide the thumbprint of the vCenter Server or ESXi host certificate. Use upper-case letters and colon delimitation in the thumbprint. Do not use space delimitation.
    • Provide a password for the root user on the VCH endpoint VM by specifying the --rootpw option. Wrap the password in single quotes (Linux or Mac OS) or double quotes (Windows) if it includes shell characters such as $, ! or %.

      $ vic-machine-operating_system debug
      --target vcenter_server_or_esxi_host_address
      --user vcenter_server_or_esxi_host_username
      --password vcenter_server_or_esxi_host_password
      --id vch_id
      --thumbprint certificate_thumbprint
      --rootpw 'new_p@ssword' 


The output of the vic-machine debug command includes confirmation that SSH access is enabled:

### Configuring VCH for debug ####
SSH to appliance:
ssh root@vch_address
Completed successfully

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