Updating vmware tools without reboot

We are currently on VSphere 5.1 across the board globally with around 450 Windows server VMs. We have an issue where we have various VMs throughout the organization that end up having expired VMware tools. Depending on how out of date the tools are and what needs updating in the tools, you may or may not have to reboot the virtual machine (it’s pretty common to have to reboot in Windows).

updating vmware tools without reboot-8updating vmware tools without reboot-53updating vmware tools without reboot-66

Most of the time, it works fine however, it’s not always that easy.

In some cases you might not know how to install the tools (perhaps you have a Linux VM and are more familiar with Windows) or perhaps you have a virtual appliance and you don’t have access to install the tools.

Reboots = downtime and that will require you to wait to install the tools or advise the affected end users and application owners. The first question to answer is, what is the impact if you have out of date or VMware tools? This means you can only use the VM power options to perform a hard power off or power on of the virtual machine from the toolbar.

VMware Tools also improve the virtual machine’s storage I/O, graphics performance, and allows the virtual machine to synchronize its clock with that of the host.

If you have the VMware Tools installed but they are out of date, you may lose some functionality depending on how out of date the VMware tools are.

In this VMware blog – Is a VMware Tools Upgrade Required When Upgrading v Sphere?

Transparent page sharing is a method that allows virtual machines to share memory pages through what is essentially a memory deduplication process.

The result of not being able to use such memory management techniques is that your virtual-machine-to-host consolidation ratio will be lower and your return on investment from the virtual infrastructure will be negatively impacted.

As with many scenarios, updating the VMware tools on a single VM might be simple but in the real world, most companies have hundreds or even thousands of virtual machines – making the solution not as simple. Although the guest operating system can run without them, many VMware features are not available until you install VMware Tools.

In some cases, even gathering a list of all the virtual machines that have outdated tools or whose tools are not installed can takes considerable time. Some versions of VMware tools require a reboot where others don’t. For example, if you do not have VMware Tools installed in your virtual machine, you cannot interact with the Guest OS to perform a graceful / clean shutdown or restart.

In many cases, Opvizor even has a video showing you step by step how to perform the resolution to the problems that it identifies.

Tags: , ,