When you install ESXi host and keep the settings by default, VMware tools are “sitting” on a local ESXi. The ISO files for Windows and Linux containing the latest drivers are in “vmtools” and “floppies” directories on ESXi hosts. This is ok. But if you want to have always the latest version of VMware Tools in your environment you should know that VMware tools are released independently of ESXi and many times ahead of time the new release of ESXi. As such VMware tools have the most recent version up, but your environment runs the older version, bundled with the ESXi. That's why redirecting to a new shared location makes sense, but you might just want to check How to use vSphere Update Manager to update ESXi with the latest VMware Tools.
You can configure a central repository for your VMware tools located on shared storage and access to all your ESXi hosts. This has also another advantage allowing you to deploy the image of ESXi without VMware Tools integrated. The central repository can also be located on VMware VSAN. Basically any shared location can be used.
However, you might also prefer not changing the location of VMware tools to a shared location and use vSphere Update Manager (VUM) to deploy the latest version of VMware tools.
Before we get into details, I'd like to point you to the VMware mapping file which tracks VMware tools version, their version numbers and their relation with ESXi releases and associated built numbers. I don't know if everybody is aware of that, hence I'm writing about this here.
It is interesting to see that when VMware tools are released ahead of time of ESXi release, the ESXi version is marked as “esx/0.0“.
ESXi server version “esx/0.0” indicates that the tools version is not yet bundled with ESXi.
So right now if you check the VMware tools online page, and the particular mapping file here, you can see that the latest version of VM tools is not present on ESXi latest ISO.
You can have a look at the latest VM tools release notes here.
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How to quickly set up a shared location for the latest version of VMware tools?
Instead of writing what's been written, check out my detailed post on it here:
(Note: It's an old post).
Advantages of having VMware tools in a shared location?
You only need to update VMware tools once and in a single location. When you trigger VM tools update for your VMs, the system will look and download the update package from your shared location.
You create a dependency. If your shared location isn't available or dead, you won't be able to upgrade your VM tools.
Using VMware vSphere Update Manager (VUM) to update your hosts with the latest VMware Tools.
Sometimes Keep it simple, silly (KISS) strategy is the best one. Why would I mess with a redirecting of VMware tools to the shared repo when I can use VUM to do the job for me and update my hosts with the latest VMware tools? Once the host is patched/updated, I can update my VMs (also via VUM)…
VUM is really good at it and while in the past one had to deploy VUM as a separate component, since many releases, VUM is integral part of vCenter server appliance (VCSA).
- Download the latest version of VMware tools
- Update my hosts/clusters with the latest version
If you're setup with automatic download, you should see the latest VMware tools already downloaded within VUM.
The VMware tools package is part of the “Non-critical host patches (predefined)” baseline. So as long as you attach this baseline to your hosts, those will be patched with this version of VMware tools every time you patch your ESXi host.
Note the 7.0 version number there -:)
I know, NDA
but I'm not blind
So when you then check which patches has a host installed (via web client), you can find that the 11.0.5 was installed…
Latest versions of VMware Tools (11.0.5) has several fixes which might be affecting your environment if you haven't updated yet.
Here are all resolved issues (from the release notes):
- Outbound IPv6 traffic for ICMP and UDP protocols could experience packet drops – NSX Network Introspection Driver is used to retrieve the network context from the Guest VMs. From VMTools 11.0.0, support has been added for ICMP and UDP protocols. The driver now intercepts the UDP and ICMP traffic, collects the required context, and re-injects the packets back. There was a problem in the packet re-injection code for the ICMP and UDP IPv6 packets for outbound traffic. As a result, outbound IPv6 traffic for ICMP and UDP protocols could experience packet drops.
Note: Network Introspection Driver is not installed by default and can be installed with VMware Tools ‘Complete’ installation for NSX IDFW and NSX Intelligent features only.
- DNS server is reported incorrectly as ‘127.0.0.53' when using systemd-resolved – DNS server is reported incorrectly in GuestInfo as ‘127.0.0.53' , when the OS uses systemd-resolved.
- Changing the VM to a large display toplogy fails on Windows 7 and earlier, when Aero is disabled – Users are unable to switch to a large display topology (example, 3 full screen monitors) on Windows 7 and earlier, when Aero is disabled.
You like or you don't. Some people might prefer letting vSphere Update Manager (VUM) to handle the job as you can let VUM to handle download the and push that to all your ESXi hosts via VUM. But some people like to set up a shared location. There is even a PowerCLI script around where you can automate the enhancements for larger environments.
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