vCloud Director upgrade fails: “cpio: chown failed – Operation not permitted”

Posted on 25/11/2013 · Posted in Linux, VMware

Encountered this while making an upgrade of VMware vCloud Director which ended up with an error message “cpio: chown failed – Operation not permitted” as the very beginning when starting the execution of the .bin file. The error has to do with vCloud Director using a NFS share for the transfer folder (/opt/vmware/cloud-director/data/transfer ) and as such doesn’t reside on the vCD Cell itself.  In the NFS server share configuration you need to make a small change to allow the servers which have the directory mounted from the NFS server to make changes to the owner. Most likely you havn’t allowed it as it’s not according to security best practices and vCloud Director works just fine without it.

5.4.3. Do Not Use the no_root_squash Option

By default, NFS shares change the root user to the nfsnobody user, an unprivileged user account. In this way, all root-created files are owned by nfsnobody, which prevents uploading of programs with the setuid bit set. If no_root_squash is used, remote root users are able to change any file on the shared file system and leave trojaned applications for other users to inadvertently execute.


What you need to do is change the NFS Server settings and add no_root_squash to the NFS Server (/etc/exports ). This will allow vCloud Director to upgrade properly.

Note: This applies to vCloud Director versions 1.5, 5.1.0, 5.1.1, 5.1.2 and most likely 5.5