Installing VMware Tools from VMware’s Repository 5

Update (10/03/2013):  It has been brought to my attention that you can also learn more about the details of the open source packages for VMware Tools by reading this PDF.  The PDF talks about how to maintain your tools across kernel upgrades, etc.

Surprisingly, not many vSphere administrators I talk to are aware that VMware provides an online repository for use when installing VMware Tools on Linux (there are also links to the latest downloads for Windows on the repo site).  The online repository has a few distinct advantages:

  1. You can use your OS’s native package manager to install VMware Tools.
  2. Updates can be managed via configuration management tools.
  3. Wide range of OS support, both 32-bit and 64-bit where applicable (list accurate as of 08/16/2013):
    • RHEL 3, 4, 5, and 6  (includes support for variants, such as CentOS)
    • SLES 9.x, 10.x, and 11.x
    • Ubuntu hardy, intrepid, jaunty, karmic, lucid, maverick, natty, oneiric, precise
    • Windows

You can also find older versions of the VMware Tools packages via the online repo, although, I would hope you would not need them!  When forming URLs to the VMware Tools packages, use the “latest” folder.  It is a symlink that VMware maintains that always points to the latest version of the tools.

Like many other repositories for Linux, VMware packages RPMs that can be used to install the repository information into your package manager before actually installing any real software.

The packages that install the repository information can be found in the “repos” folder:  http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/latest/repos/index.html

You can access the base of the repository here:  http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/index.html.

However, I still recommend you use the “latest” folder here:  http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/latest/index.html

As an example, I will install the latest VMware Tools on a newly installed CentOS 6.4 x86_64 virtual machine:

(Note:  There are two pseudo packages that you can choose from, vmware-tools-esx and vmware-tools-esx-nox.  Use the former if you are installing the tools on a system that runs the X windows GUI environment, use the latter if you are installing on a CLI only system.)

[root@homer ~]# wget http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/latest/repos/vmware-tools-repo-RHEL6-9.0.5-1.el6.x86_64.rpm
--2013-08-16 09:22:32-- http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/latest/repos/vmware-tools-repo-RHEL6-9.0.5-1.el6.x86_64.rpm
Resolving packages.vmware.com... 69.47.66.185, 69.47.66.147
Connecting to packages.vmware.com|69.47.66.185|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 2546 (2.5K) 
Saving to: “vmware-tools-repo-RHEL6-9.0.5-1.el6.x86_64.rpm”

100%[==================================================================================================>] 2,546 --.-K/s in 0.04s

2013-08-16 09:22:33 (61.5 KB/s) - “vmware-tools-repo-RHEL6-9.0.5-1.el6.x86_64.rpm” saved [2546/2546]

[root@homer ~]# rpm -Uvh vmware-tools-repo-RHEL6-9.0.5-1.el6.x86_64.rpm
warning: vmware-tools-repo-RHEL6-9.0.5-1.el6.x86_64.rpm: Header V3 RSA/SHA1 Signature, key ID 66fd4949: NOKEY
Preparing... ########################################### [100%]
1:vmware-tools-repo-RHEL6########################################### [100%]

[root@homer ~]# yum install -y vmware-tools-esx-nox

 

Now that installation is complete, we can check to ensure the VMware Tools are running (should automatically start after installation):

[root@homer init]# ps -eaf | grep vmtools
root 987 1 0 09:25 ? 00:00:00 /usr/sbin/vmtoolsd