Installing VMWare Tools (Open VM Tools) on JunOS SPACE 16.1 or newer

These instructions are for JunOS SPACE 16.1 or newer. I also have instructions for JunOS SPACE 15.2 or older.

JunOS SPACE, Juniper’s management tool for JunOS devices (switches, routers, firewalls), officially supports Open VM Tools for management from ESXi. Unfortunately, Juniper’s instructions are to build Open VM Tools, and that won’t work without a dev environment, which is not present in JunOS SPACE.

SPACE 16.1 is built on CentOS 6, which in turn is a RHEL 6 clone. Open VM Tools exist in CentOS 6 repositories, so all we need to do is to enable those repositories and we can install binaries.


Navigate to /etc/yum.repos.d and create a new file named centos6.repo, with this content:

name=CentOS 6 Repository

name=CentOS 6 Extras Repository

Back on command line, add the EPEL repository:

yum install epel-release

Install Open VM Tools:

yum install open-vm-tools

Start them:

service vmtoolsd start


For good measure, you can now disable the centos 6 and epel repos again, by editing centos6.repo and epel.repo in /etc/yum.repos.d/ and setting this line for centos6, extras, and epel:


Verify those repos are disabled:

yum repolist


JunOS SPACE upgrade hangs at 0%

I attempted to upgrade a JunOS SPACE instance from 15.2R1 to 15.2R2. It would sit at “upgrade process has not started” and 0%. If I changed the URI to the base, I’d be back in the SPACE GUI as if nothing had happened and I had never entered maintenance mode.

This was caused by a failed upgrade months earlier which left a msg.<date> file behind in /var/jmp_upgrade/master/msg . Deleting that file allowed me to successfully upgrade the unit.

After a successful upgrade, the msg/ directory will be empty in both the master and slave directories.

In the process, I learned about a few more files that SPACE looks for. If these exist from a failed upgrade, they can keep a new upgrade from starting. Delete these if they exist:



You can find a clue as to why your upgrade is not proceeding in these two directories:



Look for log files named after the current and target SPACE version.

Also monitor this file for any issues with maintenance mode:



Change admin user password expiry on JunOS SPACE

The admin user on JunOS SPACE, which is used for ssh / root access, has a default password expiry of 70 days. This may not be desired.

NB: An upgrade of the JunOS SPACE platform will set the admin password expiry to the default of 70 days again. To avoid the admin user password being prompted for change after the upgrade, this procedure needs to become part of your documented upgrade procedure for JunOS SPACE:

  • Change admin user last password change to be today using chage
  • Upgrade SPACE
  • Change admin user expiry to “never” using chage

The Linux command “chage” will show you the current settings for a user and let’s you change those:

  • Log in as admin via ssh
  • Choose “(Debug) run shell”
  • Use “chage” to see and then change the admin password expiry:
    chage -l admin
    Last password change : Mar 15, 2016
    Password expires : May 24, 2016
    Password inactive : never
    Account expires : never
    Minimum number of days between password change : 7
    Maximum number of days between password change : 70
    Number of days of warning before password expires : 7
  • Change the parameters: 

    chage admin
    Changing the aging information for admin
    Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default

    Minimum Password Age [7]: 0
    Maximum Password Age [70]: 99999
    Last Password Change (YYYY-MM-DD) [2016-03-15]: <today’s date>
    Password Expiration Warning [7]:
    Password Inactive [-1]:
    Account Expiration Date (YYYY-MM-DD) [1969-12-31]:

    And verify:

    chage -l admin
    Last password change : Mar 25, 2016
    Password expires : never
    Password inactive : never
    Account expires : never
    Minimum number of days between password change : 0
    Maximum number of days between password change : 99999
    Number of days of warning before password expires : 7

Reset admin password on JunOS SPACE VM

Picture this: Bob, your JunOS SPACE administrator, left the company. IT diligently wiped his laptop. Bob was the only one who had the admin password (for ssh / CLI access) to your JunOS SPACE installation.

After vowing to do better in future and storing all infrastructure passwords in some form of centralized, encrypted, backed-up password safe, you are left with the task of restoring access.

If you are running your JunOS SPACE instance on an appliance, all you need is a USB stick and Juniper’s instructions. (Note: That may not be entirely true – see discussion of how /etc/shadow behaves in 14.1R2 of SPACE, below)

If you are running your JunOS SPACE instance in a VM, read on.

You’ll need vSphere-level access to the VMWare host JunOS SPACE runs on. Make friends with the VMWare admin.

You’ll need an ISO of a Linux rescue disk.

Power down the SPACE VM and change its boot properties to force boot into BIOS, and delay by 10,000ms for good measure, like so:

Screenshot 2015-07-16 10.44.33

Power on the SPACE VM, and open a Console. You’ll find yourself in the BIOS shortly. Connect the virtual CD drive to the ISO you downloaded (that’s the CD-with-wrench icon in the Console) and change the BIOS to boot from CD first, like so:

Screenshot 2015-07-16 10.54.02

Alternatively, you could have left the BIOS alone and hit ESC to get the boot menu during the 10 second boot delay.

Whichever option you choose, make sure the CD has finished connecting (loading the ISO) before you hit F10/Enter. If you are remote to your VMWare host, it may make sense to upload the ISO to the datastore first, and connect the virtual CD to that copy.

Once the VM has booted from the rescue ISO, I chose the “standard with US keymap” boot option for the rescue disk.

Use lvscan to see the device names of the SPACE disks:

 ACTIVE '/dev/jmpvgnocf/lvroot' [25.41 GB] inherit
 ACTIVE '/dev/jmpvgnocf/lvtmp' [17.91 GB] inherit
 ACTIVE '/dev/jmpvgnocf/lvvar' [207.78 GB] inherit
 ACTIVE '/dev/jmpvgnocf/lvlog' [4.88 GB] inherit

Mount the root partition:

mount /dev/jmpvgnocf/lvroot /mnt/custom

Move the shadow- backup file (don’t delete it):

mv /mnt/custom/etc/shadow- /mnt/custom/root

I tried this without moving shadow- and it would revert to the previous admin password after editing shadow.

Juniper’s original instructions for the appliance, based on the now-ancient SPACE 1.2, want you to save an empty password (::) for admin in shadow. When I tried that, I could no longer log in.

Instead, I used passwd on the rescue CD to get the crypt string for the password “abc123”. It is:


With this in hand, I could “vi /mnt/custom/etc/shadow” and insert the string for the new password, which looks like this:

Screenshot 2015-07-16 12.55.28

Save that file using “:x!” in vi and you are ready to “reboot”

Note: Typing that string in the VMWare Console is going to be extremely error-prone. It makes sense to ssh to the rescue Linux instead, so you can copy/paste. Use “ifconfig” to see whether you received a DHCP address. If not, you’ll need to follow the instructions for the rescue image to enable networking – or manually type the password string.

If you changed the BIOS to boot from CDROM first, undo that change when the boot screen comes up.

After reboot, you should be able to log in as admin with the default password and use the option “1” to change the password:

Screenshot 2015-07-16 12.54.59

Now that you’re back in the CLI, you can follow Juniper’s instructions for resetting the password for the ‘super’ user which is used for GUI access and the ‘maintenance’ user which is used for software updates.

With those three accounts restored, you have the access needed to administrate JunOS SPACE again – and set up further GUI authentication for users as desired.

Installing VMWare Tools on JunOS SPACE 15.2 or older

[Edit 2017-05-04] The below is still valid for JunOS SPACE 15.2 or older. From JunOS SPACE 16.1 on, you can use “Open VM Tools” instead.

JunOS SPACE, Juniper’s management platform for JunOS devices (switches, routers, firewalls) does not come with gcc or kernel-headers. Installing VMWare Tools from a mounted ISO via is not all that successful. Happily, VMWare still provides RPM versions of those tools. SPACE 15.2 is built on CentOS 5, which in turn is a RHEL 5 clone.

Be sure to use the VMWare Tools package that matches the version of CentOS your SPACE is running.

1) Start by downloading the RPMs for VMWare Tools on RHEL 5. You’ll want the following (or their current equivalent):


That list might change with newer versions of the tools and of RHEL, of course. When in doubt, grab just the vmware-tools-esx-nox package, try to install it, and take a note of all the dependent packages it wants, then download those too.

2) scp the lot to SPACE, say to /var/tmp. While WinSCP is unhappy with the shell the admin user runs on, command-line scp does not care and will work. Choose any version you like: The one that comes with Putty, the one that comes with Cygwin, an Ubuntu one on Windows 10, or any other. And if you’re running OSX or Linux, you can feel extra-smug because you have scp as part of your base OS.

3) Install those RPMs. Now, you could install the GPG key they are signed with, but if you trust that you got them from VMWare, in an unaltered form, then just:

yum install --nogpgcheck vmware-tools*rpm

If there are dependency errors, download the missing packages as well and try again.

5) Satisfy yourself that vmtoolsd is running:

service vmware-tools-services status


vSphere should now be reporting that SPACE is running “VMtools 3rd party/independent”. And that’s all there is to it.

The kmod portion of the tools won’t install, by the way – but then it’s not needed.