Open VM Tools presents an open-source software solution integral to VMware’s products. It offers a robust and cost-effective alternative to VMware Tools, designed to empower VM users with essential functionality for their virtual machines.
What is VMware Tools?
VMware Tools is a suite of utilities designed to enhance the performance of a virtual machine’s guest operating system and improve the management of virtual machines. This comprehensive set of services includes components such as drivers, libraries, and scripts that provide seamless interactivity and functionality in VM environments.
The VMware Tools suite is essential for multiple vital operations, from enhancing the VM’s graphics performance to facilitating file sharing between host and guest operating systems. One of its critical features is the time synchronization service, which ensures the VM’s internal clock matches the host machine’s. This service is particularly crucial when dealing with logging and incident correlation activities.
Moreover, VMware Tools provides kernel modules necessary for the VM’s efficient performance. These modules help streamline operations like memory allocation between the host and guest operating systems.
It’s worth noting that VMware Tools can be installed on various operating systems, including VMware supported Unix systems and diverse Linux distributions. VMware provides guides to install VMware Tools, which can differ depending on the guest OS.
What is Open VM Tools?
Open VM Tools, on the other hand, represents an open-source alternative to VMware Tools. Spearheaded by VMware, the Open VM Tools project is a Linux community-driven approach to VM functionality. This suite is a source implementation of VMware Tools, intended to provide similar services but with added flexibility and efficiency.
Open VM Tools deliver a host of capabilities to VM users, including clock synchronization, file sharing, and multiple monitor support. However, unlike VMware Tools, they are specifically optimized for Linux guest operating systems. Leading Linux vendors such as SUSE Linux Enterprise, Red Hat, and Oracle Linux openly support Open VM Tools, marking its significant presence in the virtualization sphere.
These tools offer a range of features in VMware products:
- They facilitate graceful power operations for virtual machines.
- They execute pre-set or user-configured scripts in guests during different power operations.
- They allow running of programs, commands, and file system operations in guests, expanding automation within the guest system.
- They enable authentication for guest operations.
- They periodically gather information about network, disk, and memory usage from the guest system.
- They generate a heartbeat from guests to hosts, allowing VMware’s HA solution to determine the availability of guests.
- They keep time in sync between guests and hosts or client desktops.
- They keep guest file systems quiet, allowing hosts to capture consistent snapshots of the guest file system.
- They run pre-freeze and post-thaw scripts when quieting guest file systems.
- They allow customizing of guest operating systems just after the virtual machines power on.
- They enable sharing folders between host and guest file systems in VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion.
- They allow for the copying and pasting of text, graphics, and files between guests and hosts or client desktops.
Open VM Tools vs VMware Tools
The relationship between Open Virtual Machine Tools and VMware Tools is not of rivals but of counterparts. Open VM Tools is an open-source implementation of VMware Tools, providing a similar suite of features while being more suited to certain Linux distributions like Debian and Ubuntu. VMware Tools, however, are better suited to VMWare-supported Unix systems and specific Linux distributions.
OS Vendors and Open VM Tools
Leading Linux vendors like SUSE Linux Enterprise, Red Hat, and Oracle Linux support Open VM Tools, indicating its significance in the realm of virtualization. These OS vendors often provide OS maintenance patches that improve compatibility and performance of Open VM Tools with their distributions.
Delving Into Open VM Tools Desktop
Open VM Tools Desktop is an optional package that enhances interactive functionality. This package is generally required when running a Linux distribution with a GUI, such as Ubuntu or Debian.
Comparing the installation process: Open VM Tools vs VMware Tools
The installation processes for Open VM Tools and VMware Tools differ. For installing Open VM Tools, you can use package managers inherent in various Linux distributions. To install Debian, for example, you could use an apt command, while for openSUSE, you would use zypper.
On the other hand, installing VMware Tools is built into the VMware platforms themselves, such as vSphere and VMware Workstation.
Install Open VM Tools
Here’s a step-by-step procedure for installing Open VM Tools on various Linux distributions.
Ubuntu, Debian, and Related Distributions
- Update the package index using the following command:
sudo apt-get update
- If the virtual machine (VM) has a graphical user interface (GUI) such as X11, install or upgrade open-vm-tools-desktop using the following command:
sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools-desktop
- In the absence of a GUI, you can install open-vm-tools by executing this command:
sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools
RHEL, Fedora, and CentOS
- If the VM has a GUI such as X11, install or upgrade open-vm-tools-desktop with this command:
sudo yum install open-vm-tools-desktop
- If there’s no GUI, install open-vm-tools using the following command:
sudo yum install open-vm-tools
SLE and openSUSE
- If the VM has a GUI like X11, install or upgrade open-vm-tools-desktop with this command:
zypper install open-vm-tools-desktop
- Without a GUI, install open-vm-tools by executing the command:
zypper install open-vm-tools
Install VMware Tools
Installing VMware Tools on a virtual machine running in vSphere is very straightforward and can be done straight from the vSphere Client.
You can also upgrade VMware Tools from the vSphere Client.
Transitioning From VMware Tools to Open VM Tools
Switching from VMware Tools to Open VM Tools demands a cautious approach to minimize virtual machine downtime. You must uninstall VMware Tools before installing Open VM Tools. Despite being OS-dependent, vSphere Update Manager and vCenter Server can facilitate the switch in a VMware environment.
Developing expertise in Open VM Tools is a key to optimizing your virtual machine’s operational efficiency. While the capabilities of VMware Tools are undisputed, Open VM Tools bring to the table a solution more attuned to Linux environments and backed by the open-source community. The process of installing Open VM Tools across different Linux distributions is crucial, as is understanding their potential to bolster your VM’s performance.
Regardless of the Linux flavor you’re installing, be it Debian, Ubuntu, or CentOS, an Open VM Tools package can be found for your virtual machine.
It’s essential to remember that the choice between Open VM Tools and VMware Tools necessarily one or the other, but depends on your specific needs and your guest operating systems. Each has a distinct role in your virtualized environment and contributes to a performant VMware environment.