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VMware and SLES: a good match? September 12, 2010

Posted by vneil in Linux, VMware.
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I’m afraid this is just a bit of a moan.I have seen a few posts lately regarding VMware’s partnership with Novell and SLES. I thought I would post my experience of running an ESXi cluster with SLES Linux virtual machines.

We started running SLES 10 on a ESXi 3.5 cluster and for the VM tools we started using the RPMs packaged from VMware. This was fine until we upgraded to ESXi 4.0 on the hosts, after that VM tools that are installed from the RPMs show up in vCenter with a status of “unmanaged“. This is as described in the documentation. We decided then to switch to using the VM tools installed from the ESXi hosts and VUM, this meant that the status returned to “OK” in vCenter and we had the benefit of being able to upgrade the virtual machines’s VMtools with VUM.

The problem started when we started upgrading our Linux servers from SLES 10 SP3 to SLES 11 SP1, it seems the VM tools distributed with ESXi and downloaded via VUM do not distribute binary kernel modules for SP1 , they have SLES 11 GA but not SP1. This is fine if you have SLES11 SP1 virtual machines with compilers and kernel sources but our production servers do not have these for obvious reasons. The upshot of this is that we have switched back to the RPM distributed tools and will have to put up with the status saying “unmanaged“.

I have checked the VM tools that come on the ESXi4.1 installation and these also do not have the binary modules for SP1.

This is quite annoying as we had a small battle with the other Unix admins to switch to using VUM to upgrade VM tools and to now have to switch back to RPMs means it will be almost impossible to ever switch back to using VUM as and when SLES11 SP1 is properly supported with VMware ESXi.

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1. Administrator Experiences with VMware and SUSE Linux « UNIX Administratosphere - September 12, 2010

[…] Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) directly on VMware vSphere. Neil over at VirtuallyNil wrote about his experiences with SLES and VMware ESXI. Unfortunately, he had some problems with VMware’s additions to […]


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