As I do quite a bit of lab development and support I see often people lock themselves out of the ESXi web based host client. Keep in mind this only locks you out from ssh and the web console. Password lockout is NOT active on the console/DCUI. Below is how you reset the counter and regain access.
Procedure to unlock the ESXi host account at the console
At the console press CTRL+ALT+F2 to get to the ESXi shell. If a login shows up continue with step 3, otherwise continue with step 2.
Login to the DCUI (to enable the ESXi Shell if not already done)
Login with root and the correct password.
Go to Troubleshooting Options
Select Enable ESXi Shell
At the ESXi shell login with root and the password
Run the following commands to show number of failed attempts:
pam_tally2 --user root
Run the following command to unlock the root account:
With more than 20 years of experience in the IT-Industry, Yves was – beside his work at the comdivision group – also involved with successfully bringing several (IT) startup companies to market. Yves was honoured several times by vendors and customers for his capability of transporting the highly technical IT concept to regular IT consumers using their language.