VMware Tools are an important component for virtual machines, supplying drivers for paravirtual devices like the vmxnet3 network interface and the pvscsi virtual SCSI controller, as well as a communications channel between ESXi and the guest operating system. That communications channel is important, as it can ensure that guest operating systems and workload applications shut down gracefully when needed. It will also help the infrastructure detect when virtual machines have booted correctly, as part of vSphere HA actions should a cloud host fail.

VMware Tools is a software package that, like all other software packages, requires updates and maintenance. Include it in your configuration management systems or enable “Check and upgrade VMware Tools before each power on” in the VM settings to have them automatically updated on Microsoft Windows guests.

The Windows drivers for virtual machine hardware have been added to the Windows Update repositories, so that Microsoft Windows operating systems will automatically download and install the latest versions if automatic driver updates is enabled. If your organization manages Microsoft Windows updates using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) ensure that these driver updates are configured as part of what is presented to client systems.

Linux vmxnet3 and pvscsi drivers are incorporated into the upstream Linux kernel sources. The other components that manage the hypervisor-to-guest communications are part of the open-vm-tools package supplied by VMware to Linux distribution maintainers. The open-vm-tools package is updated when you patch and update your Linux guest operating system.

VMware Tools also allows an SDDC to automatically detect the IP address of a workload, for use in dynamic firewall rules.