One of the most important step, but often forgotten by the user while configuring Virtual Machine on VMware vSphere are VMware tools installation and configuration. In addition to improving VM’s performance (increase the quality on VGA, network card, etc), VMware tools also useful to provide the ability on host server to restart and shut down the VM normally.
VMware Tools installation on Windows based VM generally quiet easy. Choose the Install/Upgrade VMware Tools menu, the auto installer will automatically run, click a few steps to install and then restart the VM guest to assure the change. On Linux based VM, the setting is different, the processes itself need a more steps to make it run properly. Those differences make some vSphere SysAdmin worries and choose to deploy VM without installing VMware tools rather than crashing the VM 🙂
There are several ways in doing the VMware tools installation on linux, ranging from standard method which some people said it quiet difficult, until the easy one. The following are the standard VMware Tools installation steps on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
- Create a snapshot as a preventative measure to prevent unwanted things
- Check the system version, to make sure which SLES system is being used : cat/etc/SuSE-release
- Make sure OS type of VM guest. If it appears wrong, the mounted binary VMware Tools cannot be installed. (For example, it’s a Linux VM, but set on guest mode = Windows or otherwise. Another case is SLES was installed but the OS type is set to Debian)
- Mount the VMware tools, choose the menu on VM : Guest | Install/Upgrade VMware Tools. If you use vSphere Web Client, choose VM and then click Summary tab | Install VMware Tools. If there is an error message while trying to mount the CD ROM-such as the CD ROM on guest is not available-add the CD ROM (Set the VM to off before set the CD ROM)
- Make sure compilation package (kernel-source make gcc) is available. If it does not, install it using the following command : zypper in kernel-source make gcc.
- Make sure the working kernel and kernel-source have the same version. Check it out by using following command : uname –r and zypper if kernel-source
- Mount and Install VMware Tools (adjust the binary name in the mount result folder) with the following instruction :
mount /dev/sr0 /mnt cp /mnt/* /opt cd /opt tar -zxvf VMwareTools-9.0.0-782409.tar.gz
- Go to extracted folder (vmware-tools-distrib) and install VMware Tools with the following command : ./vmware-install.pl and follow the instruction
- After finish the installation step, we can check the status on VM summary, whether the VMware Tools already installed or not
For some SysAdmin, especially Windows based SysAdmin, the above tutorial seems to be quite complicated because I try to show all the steps as detail as I could explain to you. Besides this standard way, there is also another simpler and easier way by using VMware Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs,. I will discuss it later). Although looks like a complicated step, this standard procedure has an advantage compared to OSPs, such as:
- Shows that we are really Linux SysAdmin whose able to play with CLI (this part is intermezzo, you can ignore it 😀 )
- This method is applicable on Linux openSUSE or others Linux Distro. The VMware installation in all Linux Distro or System are similar with the tutorial above, the difference is only in the installation essentials package (kernel-source, make, gcc. ex : on Ubuntu, compilation package can be install by using following command : apt-get install build-essentials)
- Applicable if VMware Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs) is not available for guest OS
- Applicable if OS type are a brand new Linux system, non-mainstream 😀 system, or a remastered system
- Applicable if the installation using VMware Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs) failed