We have had some issues with our Linux guests, especially CentOS 5 and 6, on our VMware ESXi 4.1 cluster during times of vmotion events. For example, after a vmotion migration, our CentOS hosts appear to be powered on, but you cannot access them or interact with them inside of the console in VCenter. I was curious what the requirements are for the guest VM configuration in order to make this successful. Does one need to have VMware Tools installed for all of the Linux guests to allow vmotion to work? We have VMware tools installed on all of our Windows guests and none of our Linux guests right now.

  • Why wouldn't you install VMWare tools anyways? – ceejayoz Nov 7 '11 at 16:05
  • Every time you have to update VMware tools, which seems to be more often than not, it turns into a nightmare on Linux due to the myriad of dependencies, kernel versions, etc. Also, I do not like having to manually perform these steps on many Linux guests every time VMware decides to update the tools. – John Nov 7 '11 at 16:11
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    I install the tools via puppet. But you could also install the open-vm-tools via the package manager, it is present on several popular distros. – Zoredache Nov 7 '11 at 16:24
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    @Zoredache - a sample of how you are running your install in Puppet could prove useful. Care to share? – Tim Brigham Nov 7 '11 at 17:07

You don't need to have the VMWare Tools installed in order to leverage vMotion. However, it makes sense to have the VMWare tools installed in your Linux guests for other management and performance reasons.

  • Thanks for the posting. Do you know if there is an "easy" way to install and upgrade VMware tools on many Linux guests? Perhaps even with different distros installed? – John Nov 7 '11 at 16:11
  • It should be scriptable, but the suggestion above about using Puppet or another configuration management tool applies. – ewwhite Nov 7 '11 at 16:26

it's very easy to check - take a VM, install vmtools, and run a migration. If you can't reproduce the issue with tools installed, you've got it nailed. If not - look elsewhere (I'd start with vmware techsupport)


I know that with HyperV, in order to be able to successfully perform a live migration of a linux host we have to set the virtual nic to use a static MAC address. The usual for a windows guest is to have a dynamic MAC address assigned. It's possible that VMware has the same requirement.

  • Tatas - Thanks for the info. I was not aware of this with HyperV. – John Nov 7 '11 at 17:23

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