Every part of the virtual infrastructure environment needs a channel to communication and a safe and secure channel always requires a certificate. ESXi Hosts, vCenter Server, NSX Manager, Horizon Connection Server and so on, each one of them has at least a machine certificate or a web-access management portal with a self-signed SSL certificate. After introducing of vSphere6.0 Platform Service Controller (PSC) will handle the vSphere generated certificates with a web access panel that has been called VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA). But in this post I want to introduce some CLI to manage VMware certificates:

  1. VECS-CLI: This is a useful CLI to manage (create, get, list, delete) certificate stores and private keys. VECS (VMware Endpoint Certificate Stores) is the VMware SSL Certificate repository. Pic1 show usage of some of its syntax:


  2. DIR-CLI: Manage (create, list, update, delete) everything inside the VMware Directory Service (vmdir): solution user accounts, certificates, and passwords.



  3. Certool: View, Generate and revoke certificates.


There are many types of stores inside the VECS:

  1. Trusted Root: Includes all of the default or added trusted root certificates.
  2. Machine SSL: With the release of vSphere6.0 all communication of VC & PSC services are executed through a reverse proxy, so they need a machine SSL certificate that is also backward compatible (ver 5.x). Embedded PSC also requires Machine Certificate for its vmdir management tasks. 
  3. Solution users: VECS stores for a separate certificate with a unique subject for each of solution users like VPXD. These user certificates are used for authentication with VC SSO.
  4. Backup: Provides revert action to restore (only) the last state of certificates.
  5. Others: Contains VMware or some Third-party solution certificates.

Now let me ask what are the roles of solution users? There are five solution users:


  1. machine: License server and logging service are the main acts. It's important to know Machine solution user certificate is totally different from machine SSL certificate that has been required for the secure  connections (like LDAP for vmdir / HTTPS for web access) in each node of VI (VC / PSC instance)
  2. SMS: Storage Monitoring Service.
  3. vpxd: vCenter Daemon activity (Managing of VPXA - ESXi host agents)
  4. vpxd-extensions: Like Auto Deploy and Inventory service
  5. vsphere-WebClient: lol, certainly web client and some additional services like performance chart.

The default paths of certificate management utilities are down below:





And for windows type of vCenter server you can go to the:

    "%programfiles%\vmware\vcenter server\vmafdd


Surely I will talk about what is the vmafd itself and other useful CLI vdcpromo in this path on another post. Also, I will provide a video about how to work with certificate-manager." is the default path of windows-based vCenter server.

For the last note, always remember that deleting Trusted Roots is not permitted, because if you do it, it can cause some sophistic problems in your VMware certificate infrastructure.

Link of content inside my personal blog: Undercity of Virtualization: Manage VCSA Certificates - Chapter I