Fully Install VMware Tools Via Yum in CentOS

I’ll be the first to admit that I know far less about Linux than is necessary to be good at it and more than necessary to be dangerous at it.  That said, if nothing else, I do try to learn more about it.  I find that in general I’ve basically committed to CentOS as my flavor of choice with it being the underpinnings of every non-appliance installation I’ve got.  Alot of this has to do with the fact that my first experiences were with RedHat and the subsequent RHEL, so with CentOS being the server side, open source derivative of RHEL it makes sense that that’s where I’d go.  In the vSphere world as you get further down the rabbit hold of monitor systems for your infrastructure you’ll find that for most things to even begin to operate effectively you’ve got to have VMware tools installed.  While there are various instruction sets out there floating around for how to get these on both, through the “Install VMware Tools” GUI and via yum (the RHEL package installation system) I’ve found that your mileage may vary greatly.

Below is a list of commands that I’ve finally got happy with to get these installed and allow for complete control over the VM much like you do with your Windows VMs via the VI client.  With the exception of a couple of modifications regarding your revisions of vSphere and CentOS you can pretty much copy and paste this into your elevated prompt (root) on your linux box and get all the information and monitoring you need.

1. Add the VMware GPG keys
rpm --import http://packages.vmware.com/tools/keys/VMWARE-PACKAGING-GPG-DSA-KEY.pub
rpm --import http://packages.vmware.com/tools/keys/VMWARE-PACKAGING-GPG-RSA-KEY.pub

2. Copy the following to create a yum repository with all of the relevant information. You will need to change the ESXi version (red) and CentOS base (blue) to match what you run:
echo "[vmware-tools]" >> /etc/yum.repos.d/vmware-tools.repo
echo "name=VMware Tools" >> /etc/yum.repos.d/vmware-tools.repo
echo "baseurl=http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/5.0/rhel6/$basearch" >> /etc/yum.repos.d/vmware-tools.repo
echo "enabled=1" >> /etc/yum.repos.d/vmware-tools.repo
echo "gpgcheck=1" >> /etc/yum.repos.d/vmware-tools.repo

3. Install all portions of the VMware Tools:
yum -y install vmware-tools*

And that’s pretty much it.  Once done you’ll probably immediately notice that it shows as you are running a 3rd Party version of the tools, but now you’ll see the IP address of the box in the VM summary screen.  Further you’ll now be able to monitor heartbeat and view performance data for your VMs, which is very nice to have.  In my environment I immediately began getting issue notifications via Veeam ONE letting me know about issues I didn’t even know I had.

A lot of the other guides on how to do this have you use the command yum install vmware-tools-core, but I find that to be pretty incomplete as there are various plugins that allow for greater management and utilities such as auto update abilities.  You can see a whole list of what’s possible and cherry pick if you like by running the command yum search vmware-tools* once you’ve added your repository (step 2).