VMware Tools: Who are you and what are you doing on my server?

Overview

VMware tools is a Linux daemon or Windows system service which provides a number of features to servers running on our platform.  Even though a server without VMware Tools installed will appear to operate correctly at an OS level, some features of VMware Tools are necessary for the WMS console to interact with your server.  Because of this, all servers on our platform must have a stable and current version of VMware Tools installed and running at all times.

Some of the features provided by VMware Tools are:

1. Driver support

Correct driver support ensures that any virtualised hardware has the optimal drivers to perform at its absolute best.  While the virtualisation layer is very good at emulating standard hardware which works with most operating systems out of the box, there are performance benefits to having specialised drivers loaded inside your OS.  Virtual network cards in particular benefit from having the correct driver support, for both network throughput and CPU utilisation.  Windows servers also benefit from having the correct video and mouse drivers present.

2. Memory management

As our platform makes use of shared physical resources it's important that the server can get fast access to any host memory it needs to use, as well as the host being able to make the best use of available memory.  Having the correct memory management service running inside your server ensures that this all happens transparently, and without a hitch.

3. Host-to-guest communication.

In terms of the WMS Control Panel this is the most important feature that VMware Tools brings. Without direct communication with your server, specific features like graceful shutdown (required by most of our hardware controls) and server information are not available.

How to get VMware Tools

All WMS pre-rolled servers have the correct VMware Tools software already installed and ready to go.  If you've installed your own OS without VMware Tools support, or you need to reinstall or repair your VMware Tools software for any reason, refer to the Installing VMware Tools FAQ article for more information.

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