Virtual machines are not fully functional until VMware Tools are installed in each guest operating system. If you are using SLES for VMware, there is an alternate approach that you can use to install Tools. Regardless of the virtualization platform, in-guest tools ensure the best performance for any VM.
In this article, I will walk you through the process of installing VMware Tools on SLES for VMware using the VMware Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs). These pre-built packages are designed especially for the most popular Linux distributions so that native package managers can be used. The package manager for SLES is called zypper.
Traditionally, Tools are installed from one of several ISO images that ship as part of VMware vSphere. While it may be tempting to install VMware Tools on SLES for VMware using the vSphere Client, do not do this:
Unless you have software development packages installed in your guest OS — not a great strategy for production servers — the VMware Tools installation will not succeed. Part of the installation requires gcc to compile kernel modules and will fail:
This is where OSPs come in. Setting them up is not a challenge for experienced Linux administrators — the OSP documentation clearly explains how to configure everything. Here is the process to get Tools up and running on SLES for VMware:
# wget http://packages.vmware.com/tools/VMWARE-PACKAGING-GPG-KEY.pub # rpm --import VMWARE-PACKAGING-GPG-KEY.pub # zypper addservice --type=YUM http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/4.1latest/sles11sp1/x86_64 vmware-tools-collection # zypper install -c vmware-tools-collection vmware-tools # reboot
And here is part of the process in action:
After rebooting the VM, the vSphere Client will report that VMware Tools are Unmanaged. This may be an unfortunate choice in terminology, but what it means is that Tools did not come from the vSphere ISO images — they are OSP Tools.
VMware Tools provide optimized drivers for guest operating system devices as well as the balloon driver needed to overcommit memory. Hopefully this overview gives you a jump start on getting the most out of SLES for VMware.