This post talks about VMware Tools and Open VM Tools – packages that help you improve performance and integration of your Unix-like virtual machines in VMware environments.
What are VMware Tools?
VMware Tools are a set of virtual machine enhancements providing tighter integration, smoother operation and much better performance for VMs running in VMware environment. VMware Tools are available for all the platforms supported by VMware, so there's a separate installer for Windows, Linux and Solaris.
Usually you have to install VMware Tools using virtual CD drive mapped into each virtual machine – you find and run the installer, it installs and configures tools, you reboot and enjoy VMware Tools benefits.
Benefits of Using VMware Tools
- tools are updated in line with vSphere upgrades (so when your virtualization hosts are upgraded, you get fully optimised tools available)
- VMware Tools version is usually the same (if you upgrade in line with vSphere upgradesS)
- VMware Tools version is reported in the vSphere Client and using vSphere CLI
What are Open VM Tools?
Open VM Tools 's actually an open-source version of VMware Tools, made specifically for Linux operating systems. As a result, open-vm-tools are bundled with most modern Linux distros or available from the standard repositories.
Open VM Tools are distributed with the following packages:
Benefits of Using Open VM Tools
- most reliable integrartion with the vendor OS (RedHat, for example)
- no dependencies between vSphere version and Open VM Tools version
- no need to wait for vSphere upgrade to install Open VM Tools updates
- no need to have vSphere access for mounting virtual CD with VMware Tools
VMware Tools or Open VM Tools?
Speaking as a Linux sysadmin and not a vSphere administrator, I would prefer open-vm-tools: installing and troubleshooting them is fully done inside Linux VM, which means you can automate Open VM Tools deployment using native tools.
The same can be done for VMware Tools as well, but would require someone with vSphere access to assist.