Installing VMware Tools on an isolated ‘Minimal’ CentOS VM

I just came across the situation where I was deploying a new CentOS VM based on the “minimal” installation ISO. Trying to install VMware Tools based on this distribution is somewhat different from installing it based on the default ISO when you dont have an active internet connection. I’ll explain in this post what the necessary steps are.

This information is applicable to any RedHat-based distribution.

Because the minimal ISO (in my case CentOS-6.3-i386-minimal.iso) only install the kernel modules for CentOS, it lacks the presence of the Perl compiler that is used to install VMware Tools. In result, you are unable to use a VMXNET3 virtual NIC and will have no network connectivity to download the appropriate packages using for example yum install perl.

To install the Perl packages, you should download the first DVD ISO that matches your version ,which should be on the same page where you downloaded the “minimal” ISO. In my case this is CentOS-6.3-i386-bin-DVD1.iso. Mount this ISO thru the vSphere (Web) Client to your VM and run the following command in the console:

mount /dev/cdrom /mnt

After performing this command, it should come back with something like mounted read-only.
Navigate to the Packages directory on the mounted ISO and install the necessary Perl packages using the following commands:

cd /mnt/Packages

yum –disablerepo=\* localinstall perl-5.10.1-119.el6_1.1.i686.rpm perl-libs-5.10.1-119.el6_1.1.i686.rpm perl-version-0.77-119.el6_1.1.i686.rpm perl-Module-Pluggable-3.90-119.el6_1.1.i686.rpm perl-Pod-Simple-3.13-119.el6_1.1.i686.rpm perl-Pod-Escapes-1.04-119.el6_1.1.i686.rpm

After this installation is completed, you can proceed with the usual VMware Tools installation by mounting the VMware Tools installation ISO through the vSphere (Web) Client and running the vmware-tools.pl script.

When VMware Tools is running you should restart the network service (service network restart command) or reboot the VM. Use ifconfig to see if your virtual NIC is discovered and operational. If not; use ifconfig -a to see if it appears. If so; you should make sure that the ifconfig file is configured correctly.

Navigate to /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts and use VI to edit ifcfg-eth0 and make sure the at least the following lines are present, using DHCP on the specific NIC:

DEVICE=eth0
BOOTPROTO=dhcp
ONBOOT=yes

If you are seeing a different eth ID when you used ifconfig -a make sure you reflect this ID in the ifcfg-eth0 file, or create an ifcfg-ethX file with the right ID.

After editing these files, use network service restart or a VM reboot to apply this configuration. Everything should be OK now!

During my search on how to install VMware Tools on this CentOS VM based on the minimal ISO, I found out CentOS has a so-called “Vault” which contains every version in all CPU architectures in a single page: http://vault.centos.org/. Could be handy for you as well!

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