I am Dale Hayter, a Microsoft and VMware certified Technical Consultant.

My blog has been built up over the years from my experience of working on an IT helpdesk and also from being out on-site.

VMware vSphere 5.5 – 503 Service Unavailable – ramdisk (tmp) is full

Had a couple of VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5 hosts stop responding in Virtual Center today. In the VC they were showing as not responding, if you tried to go to the host on https then you would get the error :

503 Service Unavailable

To troubleshoot this I enabled SSH from the DCI and then opened a putty session to the host. Once SSH’d to the server I restarted the service management agents.

/sbin/services.sh restart

After restarting them I checked the status of the hostd service

/etc/init.d/hostd status

This came back with a status of not running. I started the service up using the command

/etc/init.d/hostd start

However shortly after it started it stopped again. I then looked at the VMkernel log file.

tail /var/log/vmkernel.log

From the log file I could see that it was complaining the ramdisk tmp location was full.

2014-05-30T17:01:01.536Z cpu29:8332408)WARNING: VisorFSRam: 305: Cannot extend visorfs file /tmp/auto-backup.8332400/etc/shadow because its ramdisk (tmp) is full.

To see if the tmp file location is full the command below can be run:

vdf -h

If we go into this directory we can then see some log files have filled up the drive.


After the logs were removed and the service management agents restarted again the server came back to life.

It would seem that the problem is caused by the scratch path not being specified on the host. To configure this location use the VMware KB below :-

VMware KB 1033696 : Creating a persistent scratch location for ESXi 4.x and 5.x