The VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance) provides a very simple way of regenerating the self-signed SSL Certificate by using the VAMI web management interface. This is extremely useful if you change the IP Address or hostname of your VCSA and want a proper SSL certificate with the correct common name, especially important if you are plan on using something like vCenter Orchestrator which validates this. To regenerate the SSL Certificate, you just need to login to the VAMI web interface by pointing your browser to the following address: https://[VC-IP]:5480 and under the Admin tab there is a option to "Toggle certificate setting".

After enabling this option, you will need to reboot your VCSA for the new SSL certificate to be generated. Once the VCSA is booted up, you will need to go back into the VAMI interface and disable this setting, else another SSL certificate will be generated upon the next reboot.

I was recently asked if it was possible to automate the SSL regeneration via the command-line without using the GUI which would be very useful for automated VCSA deployments. In looking into this, it turns out the process is quite simple and the present of a file within the VCSA will determine whether a certificate regeneration is required.

To enable certificate regeneration, run the following command which will "touch" (create) allow_regeneration file under /etc/vmware-vpx/ssl directory:

touch /etc/vmware-vpx/ssl/allow_regeneration

To disable certificate regeneration, you just need to remove the file after the VCSA has rebooted. Behind the scenes, this is what is happening when you are toggling the option in the VAMI interface and now you can automate this from the CLI without using the GUI!

UPDATE (09/04/13)

For the new VCSA 5.5, there is a new option that you can specify which will re-generate the SSL certificate and then delete the file without requiring manual intervention after reboot. You would still need to create the /etc/vmware-vpx/ssl/allow_regeneration file but if the contents of the file contains "only-once", it will delete the file automatically which is nice from an Automation perspective.

To re-generate the SSL certificate and automatically have it clean itself up, run the following command:

echo only-once > /etc/vmware-vpx/ssl/allow_regeneration

4 thoughts on “Automating SSL Certificate Regeneration in VCSA 5.1 & 5.5 (vCenter Server Appliance)

  1. Anybody know how to cleanly remove currently installed CA generated set of certs and get back to this self signed ones on vcva 5.5? Simply turning on cert regeneration and rebooting maintains the CA certs. I see the self signed ones being generated on boot but not installed.

  2. This worked for us. I will say that you need to remove or .bak the original .crt files, leave the sms certs alone though…Thanks!

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