Home > ESXi, VMware Tools, vSphere > HOWTO: VMware vSphere – Provide VMware Tools Client updates in advance and silent installation

HOWTO: VMware vSphere – Provide VMware Tools Client updates in advance and silent installation

As we’re aware, VMware tools must be installed within a VM to provide a better experience and support for the VM on an ESXi host.  With the release of vSphere v5.1, VMware has created a ‘no-reboot’ version of the VMware tools (unless it is updating a driver, which requires a reboot – but the drivers seldom update).  Not only is this beneficial to get in place after an upgrade to vSphere v5.1, it is also to our benefit to install this update in advance of the actual upgrade to vSphere v5.1.  This will prevent a later outage or reboot of the VM(s) to update VMware Tools.  Thus, if this update can be done earlier, such as during a quarterly outage or a Windows Update scheduled reboot cycle, this helps keep users and admins alike happy.  The problem, however, is that the VMware tools are provided as part of the ESXi v5.1 installation to install on the ESXi v5.1 hosts, to provide for and mount to the VM’s hosted on that host.  If the host is not on v5.1, how does one resolve this issue?

http://www.v-front.de/2013/01/how-to-use-latest-vmware-tools-with.html has the answer!

Simple.  Obtain the latest patches for vSphere ESXi v5.1.  Extract the VMware Tools from them . Place these VMware tools on a common datastore that all hosts in a cluster can see.  Update the cluster’s advanced options to provide the central path for these updates.  This process takes advantage of the mechanisms used in vSphere AutoDeploy which runs the ESXi hosts via PXE boot.  Obviously, it would be slow and wasteful to push out the updates to the host to be thrown away at reboot, if they are only required once in a while.  By keeping the files centrally, one can provide a common path to all hosts, and control the version of VMware tools in use.

Steps are included in the above Blog link, but essentially:

1) Download the vSphere ESXi v5.1 update VIB

2) Extract the VMware tools folder, which includes the boot floppies (used for F6 disk controller drivers), and all VMware Tools for all OS’s

3) Place these on a common VMFS datastore – VMNFS_EDMPRI01, in the ISO folder, as vmware-tools in this case (/vmfs/volumes/VMNFS_EDMPRI01/ISO/vmware-tools/<folders>)

4) On each host, update the UserVars.ProductLockerLocation to reference the above file path.  Click on the host, then the CONFIGURATION tab, then ADVANCED SETTINGS on the left, and locate USERVARS.  Then on the right, locate the option shown.

5) Via SSH on each host, run “jumpstart –plugin=libconfigure-locker.so” to update the symbolic link to the new path without a reboot

At this point, if you now right click on the VM and choose INSTALL/UPGRADE VMWARE TOOLS, it will use the v5.1 version as desired.  Also, if the VM’s are configured for “Automatically check and upgrade VMware tools on startup”, they will automatically upgrade and reboot the VM as required.  Very handy.

For additional points:

6) Copy the files to a Windows share location  – eg: \\<DOMAINDFSROOT>\software\vmware\v5.1\vmware-tools-v5.1-windows

7) Create a batch file or shortcut with the following command line: \\<DOMAINDFSROOT>\software\vmware\v5.1\vmware-tools-v5.1-windows\setup.exe /S /v”/qn REBOOTPROMPT=S”

NOTE: I have saved this as \\<DOMAINDFSROOT>\software\vmware\v5.1\vmware-tools-v5.1-windows\INSTALL_VMWARETOOLS.BAT

The “REBOOTPROMPT=S” indicates to “SUPPRESS” the reboot prompt.  This will install the tools, but will neither prompt for nor actually reboot the VM.  The only time you would want to use this, would be immediately before performing known maintenance with VM reboots, as this way you can prevent an extra reboot a second time and consolidate reboots between product installations, saving time and effort for everyone.

Hopefully this can help someone get ready for a coming vSphere v5.1 upgrade.

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Categories: ESXi, VMware Tools, vSphere
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