VMware Tools Enhancements

By Carina Burk|July 28th, 2016

VMware Tools Enhancements

VM Tools is the Guest enhancement toolkit of VMware which is IT industry leading software that provides cloud computing and virtualization in the open systems world. First of all, we need to know what the VM Tools or VMware Tools are. VMware Tools is a set of OS drivers and services which boosts the performance of the virtual machine guest operating system and improves managing of the virtual computer system in general. It also improves the interaction between the guest and the host.

The Formats In Which VM Tools Is Available Are

  • ISO’s

These contain installers for various operating systems that VMware supports and are installed in many kinds of ways and are packaged along with the product. There is a different ISO file provided by VMware tools for each type of supported guest operating system.

  • Operating System Specific Packages

These are binary packages which are suitable for only select versions of Linux. These are mainly available for older releases. 

  • Open VM Tools

It is mainly aimed at Linux distribution maintainers and virtual appliance vendors and this is the open source implementation of VMware.

VMware Tools Enhancements in virtual computer systems
VM Tools improves the interaction between the guest and the host.

Some Enhancements After Using VM Tools

  • Comparatively faster performance of graphic card operations.
  • A feature called the Unity feature which makes an application appear on the host desktop as any other application window if using Workstation or Fusion.
  • Folders can be shared between host and guest file systems if using Workstation or Fusion
  • Copying and pasting text, graphics and files can be done between host and guest systems.
  • The performance of the mouse movement is improved and smooth.
  • The clock on the virtual machine get synchronized with the clock of the underlying virtualization host.
  • Scripting can be done, which is used to automate guest operating system operations.
  • It also increases the efficiency in memory allocation (ballooning).
  • They help in neatly shutting down or rebooting the virtual machine without logging on to the virtual machine’s operating system.
  • It helps in reducing the amount of disk space if using Workstation or Fusion.

VMware software has made VMware Tools available for Microsoft windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, FreeBSD and Novell NetWare guest systems. The package of VM tools contains both open and closed source components.

The Following Components Make Up VM Tools

  • VMware Device Drivers

These replace the guest operating drivers and ensure the connection of the network and also avoid issues of the drive compatibility. VMware device drivers make the operations of the mouse smoother, make the option of folder sharing available and improve the performance of the graphics, sound and network.

  • VMware Services

It takes care of the communications between the host and the guest. It synchronizes the time of the host and the guest operating systems. This service starts with the booting of the guest operating system.

  • VMware User Process

With the help of this, the administrator can cut and paste any text between VMware remote console and the host operating system. It also improves the functionality of the mouse and screen resolution.

  • VMware Tools Control Panel

Within the guest operating system, this provides a user-friendly central location for the change of settings of VMware tools. It also helps in reducing the size of the disks attached to the virtual machine of the guest.

There is a module called the Puppet module is concerned with the installation and configuration of the VM Tools. It removes old VMware tools package and installs a VMware package repository.

The process of installation of the VM Tools varies with the guest operating system. Many new functionalities and enhancements have been made to VM tools to make it easier for the customers. There have been many new versions of VM tools.

VM Tools Enhancements

Find out about your VMware Tools status and the performance impact

Some Of Them Are As Follows

  • 10.0.6 ESXi 6.0 update 2

The new thing in this is the vmxnet3 driver and the issue that it resolves is the Windows guest operating system customization now does not fail to complete.

  • 10.0.5

The new thing is the drivers and certification and the issue that it resolves is now the VM Tools does not stop responding while opening the network file system.

  • 10.0.0 ESXi 5.5 update 3, ESXi  6.0 update 1b

The new things are common version, common agent framework, enhancements of snapshots on Linux, shared folders, serviceability of ESXi, and enhancement of guest info.

  • 9.10.5 ESXi 6.0 update 1.
  • 9.10.1 ESXi 6.0.0b.
  • 9.4.15 ESXi 5.5 update 3.
  • 9.4.12 ESXi 5.5 patch 5.
  • 9.4.11 ESXi 5.5 patch 4.
  • 9.4.10 ESXi 5.5 patch 3.
  • 9.4.10 ESX 5.5 update 2.
  • 9.4.6 ESXi 5.5 patch 2.
  • 9.4.5 ESXi 5.5 update 1a.
  • 9.4.5 ESXi 5.5 update 1.
  • 9.4.0 ESXi 5.5 patch 1.

When the latest version of VM Tools is installed, many of the features and services get enhanced resulting in better working of the software. These tools are different in every other operating system. The diverse and multiple packages of VM Tools are important because many guest operations are supported by VMware. The installation methods are different because of the difference in the operating systems. 

Installing VM Tools is a necessity and not something to think over before doing. The management of the virtual machine is improved by the use of VM Tools. Even though a guest operating system can very well run without the VM Tools many of the features will not be available until VM Tools is installed.

All the installers of VM Tools are ISO image files. Even though an upgrade is optional, but it is always wise to use the latest version of VM Tools. These upgrades always need a reboot of the operating system. Without the presence of proper drivers, the virtual operating system may not function properly. Installing VM Tools is as easy as installing any other application in windows. The virtual machines, should keep the VM Tools up to date. 

This will make sure that the latest hypervisor will work without any problem and the administration console will be free of any warning about the tools not being up to date. Installing and using VM Tools is an effective way to establish a great connection between the host and the guest.

Check your VM Tools status using vSphere Health Analyzer


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