Installing VMware Tools on Photon OS for ESXi-Arm 

VMware Tools is a set of utilities and drivers that improve the performance and management of your Virtual Machines running on ESXi and it is a general best practice to have it installed, especially as it enables soft power operations when shutting down a guest using either the ESXi Host Client or vSphere UI.

With the ESXi-Arm Fling, VMware Tools for Arm is currently not bundled nor is it available using package manager for your Guest Operating System. However, customers can install VMware Tools by simply building it from source using open-vm-tools and in the ESXi-Arm documentation, there is a section that provides an example on how to do this.

The other day I came to learn that for VMware Photon OS, you can actually install VMware Tools by using its package manager, tdnf. Hats off to Rudi Martinsen for sharing!

One caveat that Rudi found was that the systemd unit file for VMware Tools had an issue and would not automatically start without a minor tweak to the systemd file. After filing a bug with the Photon OS team, it turns out this has been fixed by applying a newer version of systemd. I thought I had originally updated the system prior to trying but after giving it another go this morning, it worked without any tweaks.

Here are the instructions for installing VMware Tools on Photon OS Arm:

Step 1 – Apply the latest updates
tdnf -y update

Step 2 – Reboot the system to ensure all updates have been applied (you may want to run the above command one more time to ensure there aren’t other updates)

Step 3 – Install VMware Tools
tdnf -y install open-vm-tools

Step 4 – Enable and start VMware Tools service
systemctl enable vmtoolsd.service
systemctl start vmtoolsd.service

If you now navigate to Photon OS VM using either the ESXi Embedded Host Client or vCenter vSphere UI, you should now see VMware Tools is running