A vCenter Server Appliance (vSphere 6.0 Update 1b) belonging to me was bounced and for some reason was unbootable. The trouble during the boot process begins with /dev/sda3 contains a file system with errors, check forced. At approximately 27% of the way through, the process terminates with fsck failed. Please repair manually and reboot.
Unable to access a bash# prompt from the current state of the appliance, I followed VMware KB 2069041 VMware vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 and 6.0 root account locked out after password expiration, particularly the latter portion of it which provides the steps to modify a kernel option in the GRUB bootloader to obtain a root shell (and subsequently run the e2fsck -y /dev/sda3 repair command.
The steps are outlined in VMware KB 2069041 and are simple to follow.
- Reboot the VCSA
- Be quick about highlighting the VMware vCenter Server appliance menu option (the KB article recommends hitting the space bar to stop the default countdown)
- p (to enter a root password and continue with additional commands the next step)
- e (to edit the boot command)
- Append init=/bin/bash (followed by Enter to return to the GRUB menu
- b (to start the boot process)
This is where e2fsck -y /dev/sda3 is executed to repair file system errors on /dev/sda3 and allow the VCSA to boot successfully.
When the process above completes, reboot the VCSA and that should be all there is to it.