An overview of CloudControl's support for VM Tools (specifically VMware Tools and Open VM Tools). Prior to the December 2016 release, all Servers deployed within CloudControl had to have VMware Tools installed. From the December 2016 release forward, this is no longer a requirement. This article explains the support.
This article assumes an understanding of Guest OS Customization vs. Non-Guest OS Customization Servers as described in Introduction to Cloud Server Provisioning, OS Customization, and Best Practices.
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VMware Tools vs Open VM Tools
CloudControl supports both VMware's propietary VMware Tools and the open-source implementation called Open VM Tools. Collectively, these are referred to as VM Tools. Although both options are supported, there are some differences in functionality depending on which version is used:
- VMware periodically updates a new revision of VMware Tools with each release, updated with a version number. When viewing a Cloud Server with VMware Tools, CloudControl in turn returns this version number with any further processing.
- It is recommended to keep VMware Tools up-to-date, especially when VMware patches are applied to the underlying infrastructure.
- CloudControl provides functions to help you keep them up-to-date. See:
- How to View the Status of VM Tools on a Cloud Server shows how to identify the version and whether it's running.
- How to Update VMware Tools on a Cloud Server shows how to update tools if it is out of date.
- A complete list of VMware Tools versions is available at VMware here: http://packages.vmware.com/tools/versions
Open VM Tools
- Open VM Tools does have versions, but the release version is not returned by VMware. Therefore, the "version" will always be reported as a maximum integer value (2147483647) which CloudControl returns without any subsequent processing.
- Since there is no explicit claim that this value will remain unchanged, it is not recommended for programmatic integration.
- The Update VMware Tools function cannot be used to update Open VM Tools. If an update is required, it will need to be done manually following appropriate consultation with the Operating System vendor to ensure compatibility.
- Any attempt to install Open VM Tools onto an existing VMware Tools installation or vice versa is strongly discouraged. In both cases, the Server is likely to become unmanageable.
Impact of Cloud Servers NOT Running VM Tools
It is not required to run either version of VM Tools on a Cloud Server...even a Guest OS Customization Server after it's deployed. However, not running one of the versions of VM Tools does impose some functional limitations:
- It is not possible to create a Guest OS Customization Image without VM Tools installed since the server deployment process requires VM Tools. Therefore you cannot:
- Use the Import function described in How to Import an OVF Package as a Client Image to import as a Guest OS Customization Image. However, you can import as a Non-Guest OS Customization Image.
- Use the Clone Server function described in How to Clone a Cloud Server to Create a Client Image to import as a Guest OS Customization Image. However, you can clone to create a Non-Guest OS Customization Image.
- Several functions requiring interaction with the Guest OS are not available without VM Tools running:
- Certain functions can be used without VM Tools running, but they require the Cloud Server to be stopped prior to initiating the action. These include:
- Reconfigure Server (i.e. change CPU, RAM, CPU Speed, etc.) - described in How to Manage a Cloud Server
- Cloud Servers which are not running VM Tools cannot utilize paravirtualized Network Adapters such as VMXNET3. For more details on Network Adapters, see What Operating Systems are Currently Supported on CloudControl?
- VM Tools makes a number of improvements in performance and stability, including improvements to the Cloud Server's storage I/O, graphics performance, and memory management. They also allow the virtual machine to synchronize its clock with that of the host. Therefore, we recommend running either version of VM Tools where possible.