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Monday, 4 July 2016

Using the SAME VMware tools location for multiple stand alone hosts and different vCenters

Now that VMware tools has been fully separated, and importantly, is now working properly with version 10.0.9 - I now want to get VMware tools consistent across our estate.

As we have separate vCenters (for SRM) and stand alone ESXi hosts using the free license in remote offices - I don't want to manage multiple silos of VMware tools.  So I have set up a NFS share on a Windows server (which is a VM on our main production site) which can then be accessed by all the hosts.

Here's what I did.

I set up an alias in DNS pointing to the VM that will host the new NFS share. I called it

Obviously ensured that the NFS service was installed on the Windows VM that was going to host this.  I presented a new VMDK to make this disk dedicated for this requirement.  

I then mounted the disk, formatted it, created a sub-directory and then went to the new tab on the properties to create a NFS share.

The main thing is to make the share name as unique as possible.  This is the authentication for security.  So, you could put something more GUID like {47623568934-fghgh-37647839} for example, but the sake of documentation, I will leave it as VMToolsDatastore.

Don't forget to click the Permissions button (highlighted in green).  You need to change the Type of Access to Read-Write - just highlight the ALL MACHINES and change the drop down menu.

Then that is it really.  Click OK, OK.

Now go to your vSphere client - I am naughty - I am still using the C# client as it is just faster - but the logic would still work through on the web client.

Go to a host, configure storage and go to add storage.

You will see this screen.

The box highlighted in red, you type in the DNS alias you created.
The box highlighted in green, you type in the unique share name that you created within the Windows NFS share properties.
The box highlighted in blue, you type in a name that you wish the datastore to be called on your ESXi hosts.

Click finish, and look at your datastores!


So now you can do this on your other hosts.  That makes the one datastore consistent across your disparate hosts, in different datacenters and stand alone ESXi hosts.

Now to get VMware tools on there.  Download the latest VMware tools from the VMware website and extract the ZIP.  You will end up with two folders - one called floppies and one called vmtools.

You need to upload them to your new datastore.  This bit is annoying in the fact you end up like a user with a sub-directory with the same name as the parent directory but the vmware tools installation for your VMs needs the two folders, floppies and vmtools.  So you can could call the parent directory, VMwareToolsDistribution or something - but.... I didn't.

So, you can see the folder structure and the uploaded files.  Now we need to make the hosts see the new VMware tools locations.

I've SSH'd into one of my hosts and you can see the folder structure that we created with the AnotherDirectory and OtherDirectory also visible.

Now you need to go to the Advanced Software settings on each host and slide down to the UserVars on the left (highlighted in red) and amend the UserVars.ProductLockerLocation on the right hand side (highlighted in green)

Note the last subdirectory on the configuration string is VMTools (the directory I created) and not vmtools (the one I uploaded).

Once you have amended that setting on the host, you can either arrange to reboot the host or amend the shortcut within the OS (just like a Windows shortcut) that actually points to that directory.

SSH on to the host in question and type in

rm /productLocker/

That removes the original shortcut

Then, the next command is a lower case L

ln -s /vmfs/volumes/CentralVMwareTools/VMTools /productLocker

Then that is it - you just need to make the amendment on all of your hosts.  I know there will be a boffin out there who will script it all, but I've got under 20 hosts in total (including the freebie ESXi hosts) so I've worked through it.

It is a bit of work but then after that, you have just ONE central repository of VMware tools to maintain.

Happy Maintaining peeps!


  1. Dinert IT is the website that is having the blog post of using the same VM ware tools location for the multiple stands. These are the hosts for making the alone show of this is ‌‌buy online dissertation that is for the different centers and the assignment of copies.

  2. it is very important to use VMware tools correctly

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