APC PCNS setup for VMware

There’s a lot of confusion of APC’s PCNS software for VMware. Basically, ignore the generic instructions provided on the CD 😉 This was tested on multiple ESX 3.5 Update 4 hosts and worked perfectly connected to a pair 2200’s. From what we could tell, the pay-for version is basically just PCNS 2.2.3 but with compatible VMware components. Nothing on the CD tells you this, and the instructions just add to the confusion. These setup steps figured out in conjunction with Kurt Bunker from GCS and posted here for reference.

Prior to configuring the PCNS software you need to configure the SNMP card with the following (note that the admin password and passphrase need to be the same on multiple APC units):

1. IP address
2. Administrative account password
3. Administrator Passphrase (minimum 15 char, Max 32)
4. Set APC SNMP settings for shutdown: UPS tab -> Configuration -> Shutdown -> Low Battery Duration

With the CD inserted, from the command line of your ESX host:

mount /dev/cdrom
cd /mnt/cdrom

During the install:

Instance '1'
Default install directory
Hit enter to automatically install JRE

Once install finished, open require firewall ports *before* running PCNSConfig.sh – you can only run the script once – even if you cancel out, it won’t run again unless you run the full uninstall script. If you’re unhappy about opening all these firewall rules, browse the forums to see exactly what they’re doing. We found they all needed to be open to function correctly.

esxcfg-firewall -o 80,tcp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 80"
esxcfg-firewall -o 2161,tcp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 2161"
esxcfg-firewall -o 2161,tcp,in,"APC PowerChute Port 2161"
esxcfg-firewall -o 2161,udp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 2161"
esxcfg-firewall -o 2161,udp,in,"APC PowerChute Port 2161"
esxcfg-firewall -o 3052,tcp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 3052"
esxcfg-firewall -o 3052,tcp,in,"APC PowerChute Port 3052"
esxcfg-firewall -o 3052,udp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 3052"
esxcfg-firewall -o 3052,udp,in,"APC PowerChute Port 3052"
esxcfg-firewall -o 6547,tcp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 6547"
esxcfg-firewall -o 6547,tcp,in,"APC PowerChute Port 6547"
esxcfg-firewall -o 6547,udp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 6547"
esxcfg-firewall -o 6547,udp,in,"APC PowerChute Port 6547"
esxcfg-firewall -o 6548,tcp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 6548"
esxcfg-firewall -o 6548,tcp,in,"APC PowerChute Port 6548"
esxcfg-firewall -o 6548,udp,out,"APC PowerChute Port 6548"
esxcfg-firewall -o 6548,udp,in,"APC PowerChute Port 6548"

With the ports open, configure the PCNS software:

cd /opt/APC/PowerChute/group1

During the configuration:

Select option '3' - Configure for multiple Smart-UPS devices
Enter IP address, port 80 (default), username, password, authentication passphrase
'Yes' to register settings
Enter IP of second card - username, password + phrase set already based on previous details
'No' to register another card
'Yes' to start the PCNS service

Note: you can start/stop/check status of thePCNS service in /etc/rc.d/init.d at any time such as /etc/rc.d/init.d/PowerChute start/status/stop

Can then load up http://esx-hostname:3052 in web browser and:

Configure Events - scroll down to UPS: On Battery
Click fourth column from the end
Check box for 'Yes, I want to shut down the system' and enter 60 seconds in box below
Select 'Configure Shutdown' from sidebar
Uncheck the box to 'Turn off the UPS after shutdown finishes'

Depending on what else you’ve tried to configure, these instructions might need tweaking to remove previous components, and the JRE might be picky. But, we pulled a UPS without the shutdown signal being sent, and then correctly initiated a shutdown when the second UPS became low on battery. Oh, and make sure you set your power management options in the BIOS correctly – as the UPS initiates a clean shutdown, when the power is restored, make sure the server is set to always power back on 🙂 On our R805’s, ‘Last’ is great in the event the power just drops whilst the server is running, but since it was shut down cleanly, will not power on with the UPS back online, needs to be set to ‘Always’.


Senior Content Development for Microsoft writing about Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Model train nerd. Occasionally I play video games.

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