During a virtual machine compatibility upgrade, you must shut down the virtual machine for all guest operating systems. For VMware Tools upgrade, downtime is not required for many Linux operating systems.

Table 1. Virtual Machine Downtime by Guest Operating System

Guest Operating System

Upgrade VMware Tools

Upgrade Virtual Machine Compatibility

Microsoft Windows

Downtime to restart the guest operating system.

Downtime to shut down and power on the virtual machine.

Linux

Downtime to restart the guest operating system is required to load drivers.

Downtime to shut down and power on the virtual machine.

NetWare

No downtime.

Downtime to shut down and power on the virtual machine.

Solaris

No downtime.

Downtime to shut down and power on the virtual machine.

FreeBSD

No downtime.

Downtime to shut down and power on the virtual machine.

Mac OS X

No downtime.

Downtime to shut down and power on the virtual machine.

Note:

For Linux guest operating systems, you must restart the virtual machine to load the new versions of the VMXNET, VMXNET3, and PVSCSI drivers. You can also manually reload the drivers. To verify that the drivers are configured in the Linux kernel and that the virtual hardware is available, see Knowledge Base article, http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2050364. Manual restart is not required for the Linux guest operating system using kernel version 3.10.

Planning Downtime for Virtual Machines

You can stagger virtual machine downtimes to accommodate a schedule convenient to you and your customers.

For example:

  • If your virtual machine users are located in diverse time zones, you can prepare by migrating virtual machines to specific hosts to serve a given time zone. This way you can arrange host upgrades so that virtual machine downtime occurs transparently outside business hours for that time zone.

  • If your virtual machine users operate around the clock, you can delay downtime for their virtual machines to normally scheduled maintenance periods. You do not need to upgrade any stage within a certain time period. You can take as long as needed at any stage.