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Upgrades! My Office, Your VMware Tools.

This last weekend, the WordPress install on the site wasn’t the only thing that got an upgrade. The Professional VMware ‘offices’ got an upgrade as well. I’ve upgraded from a monolithic old wooden eyesore of a desk to a larger, aluminum & glass setup, that I think is just stylin. Take a look:

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Enough of that however, lets talk about VMware tools, upgrading them, why should you, and some methods how.

VMware Tools!

The VMware tools provide any number of little tweaks to the guest OS they’re installed on. First they provide some degree of “Paravirtualization” This helps with timekeeping, startup, shutdown, and overall performance.

VMware has used certain aspects of paravirtualization techniques across the VMware product line for years in the form of VMware tools and optimized virtual device drivers. The VMware tools service provides a backdoor to the VMM Hypervisor used for services such as time synchronization, logging and guest shutdown. Vmxnet is a paravirtualized I/O device driver that shares data structures with the hypervisor. It can take advantage of host device capabilities to offer improved throughput and reduced CPU utilization. It is important to note for clarity that the VMware tools service and the vmxnet device driver are not CPU paravirtualization solutions. They are minimal, non-intrusive changes installed into the guest OS that do not require OS kernel modification.

 

Why Upgrade the tools?

There are any number of reasons for keeping the tools updated then. Lets take a look at a few:

  • Bugs! It’s software, there will be bugs.
  • Security! With bugs, there can be security flaws. With something that lets the guest have limited backdoor access, it’s important to pay attention here.
  • Performance! With each new release, tweaks are made that can help your virtualized workloads perform better.
  • There are more, and I’m sure you can come up with plenty, if not, check out this doc from the Fusion team, a tools 101!

So now we have an idea as to what the tools are, and why updating them is good. So how do we do it?

Upgrading the tools

There are quite a few ways to do this, as such, we’ll cover some, but not all of them.

The first way to upgrade the tools and likely simplest is with the VI client, select your VM or list of VMs > right click > “Install/Upgrade tools”

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Next we’ll hit it with the PowerShell Bat:

From Hal R’s post.

This will parse through all your VM’s and upgrade the VMware tools without reboot.

Any questions? Comments? Hit me up on Twitter or in the comments. Thanks to Hal for the sexy PowerShell.

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