How to embed the VMware Tools version 10.0 into ESXi

Recently I ranted about the current situation with VMware Tools, and my blog post The great VMware Tools dilemma caught some attention and got a lot of agreement. The good news is that VMware is listening to its customers and trying to improve things.

In a new blog post VMware's Brian Graf elaborates on the recommended solution to use a shared productLocker location for VMware Tools with your ESXi hosts. I complained in my post that it is not easily possible to populate such a shared location with the new "standalone" Tools version 10.0. And this has been improved now:
  • The VMware Tools version 10.0 download now includes all the files that you need to upload to the shared productLocker location, and
  • Brian has shared some scripts on his own blog to automate the process of creating a shared productLocker, uploading the Tools to it and configuring the hosts to use it.
Great news!

But what if you only have one or few ESXi hosts and want to avoid the overhead of creating a shared productLocker? Wouldn't it be good if we could just update the Tools that are embedded into ESXi to the new version 10.0?

To say it short: Yes, we can! The embedded Tools is just a VIB package (called tools-light) that can be updated. Unfortunately, VMware refuses (so far) to make VMware Tools 10.0 available as a VIB file, but we can build this ourselves! Here is how ...

[Update] ESXi Community Packaging Tools updated to version 2.3

After almost two years I decided to touch my ESXi Community Packaging Tools again and give them an important update. These tools consists of two scripts that enable Community Developers to create software packages for ESXi 5.x/6.x in the VMware proprietary formats VIB (VMware Installation Bundle) and ZIP (VMware Offline Bundle).

Read on to learn what's new and to not miss an exciting sneak peak of what's to come next.

VMware introduces support for Intel i219 (Jacksonville) NICs in ESXi

In this year's summer Intel introduced their new Skylake platform. These motherboards are based on the Z170 chipset and often include onboard Intel i219(-V or -LM) Gigabit Ethernet adapters. VMware ESXi did not properly support the Skylake chipset from the beginning, but it looks like this changed with the release of ESXi 6.0 Update 1 and 5.5 Update 3. I do not own such a system myself, but I have heard reports of users who were able to successfully install ESXi 6.0 U1 on such a system.

However, ESXi 6.0 Update 1 does not (yet) include a driver that supports the i219 NICs. But ESXi 5.5 Update 3 (that was published only few days later) comes with an updated e1000e driver (version that supports these NICs. Here is how you can make best use of it, even if you are already using ESXi 6.0.

The great VMware Tools dilemma

Recently VMware made VMware Tools version 10.0.0 available as a standalone download. This version is now an official downloadable component of vSphere 6.0 with its own Release Notes document and a download page in MyVMware.

In the announcement blog post VMware's Brian Graf writes:
Good news. We have decided that there isn’t any specific reason that VMware Tools builds should be tied to vSphere releases/ESXi builds. Rather, when our engineering teams are ready with key features/updates, we should have the ability to get those benefits out to our customers as quickly as possible.
This release was announced and perceived as a great achievement, but - except for this good news that Brian shared with us - I cannot follow any of the other excited statements that were made about it. It's time to debunk some myths, and it's time to admit that the whole VMware Tools story is still a great mess!

Shut up, Windows 10! Here is a free must-have tool to protect your privacy.

If you install Windows 10 with the default "Express Settings" then it will collect a plethora of data from you and send it to Microsoft and "trusted partners": Not only whatever you ask Cortana (Microsoft's version of Apple's Siri or Google Now), but also what you type or write by hand, where you are, what networks you connect to, what you search for and more...

Sure, they are not alone with this: Google does it with Android, Apple with iOS devices, and - if you ask them - they all collect the data only to optimize the personalized services that they offer you for free. Really for free? No, you pay with your data ... However, more and more people are concerned about data privacy and want to have a choice about what data they disclose. Recently I stumbled over a great tool that helps those people when using Windows 10.