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We have about 8 ESXi Servers (5.5) and about 100 VMs. I always try to keep the ESXi Servers up to date with the vmware patches. This seems to work more or less well for me. Sometimes i need some weeks but i am always nearly up to date. (Thanks to HA-Cluster i don't need downtime for this).

But i am not up to date with the VMWare Tools on the VMs. I think this is much harder to stay up to date. At the newer VMs on which we already have Tools newer than 9.0.0 build-782409 the update works without a restart, but we also have some older Tools running which would need a restart --> so i need a downtime. Also i am not brave enought to do it automaticaly on the VMs which wouldn't need a restart.

So at the moment i don't plan to update VMWare Tools, i just do it when i have an other scheduled downtime e.g. for Windows updates or other patches. So if i have to work on something like that, i also do the vmware Tools update too.

So now i have two Questions:

a) Is it really so important to be also up to date with VMware Tools? What are the disadvantages when i'm not on the newest VMWare Tools (and if i don't have any problems with the VM)?

b) how often do you update VMWare Tools and how do you handle it? manually on every single VM? automaticaly over many VMs?

Thank you for your help!

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    VCenter does a good job of doing mass-updates. Simply select all the VMs and it's a right-click option. I do that whenever I update ESXi. – Nathan C Dec 4 '14 at 13:43
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Vmware tools are actually a very important part of the VMware software packet. They contain the device drivers, and act as an API to the host for the ESXI. Upgrading them is a big part of maintaining stability and performance of your vSphere environment.

A full list of features the vmware tools provide should be able to demonstrate quite quickly that they are an important part of vSphere.

I don't have immediate proof, and a quick google search showed no results. But I have anecdotal experience with CPU managment on an older VM acting erratic after an update to 5.5. And updating the VMWare tools resolved the issue.

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