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The vSphere client for Linux is coming, but the question is what to do in the time between?  Here is a set of instructions for one approach, based on a workaround that has been mentioned in the forums a few times. This workaround does require a Windows machine with RDP enabled and the vSphere client installed.


Step 1: Make sure to get the latest version of rdesktop for the Linux machine, by using the following command:

sudo apt-get upgrade rdesktop

Step 2: Go to and download the file.


Step 3: Extract the zip file to C:\seamlessrdp on the Windows machine -the one with RDP enabled and the vSphere client installed.


Step 4: On the Linux desktop, create a launcher or just run rdesktop with the following command:

rdesktop -A -s "c:\seamlessrdp\seamlessrdpshell.exe C:\PROGRA1\VMware\INFRAS1\VIRTUA~2\Launcher\vpxClient.exe"

Note 1: Change to the IP address of the Windows machine. The path to vpxClient.exe may also differ, if the defaults were not used during install.


Note 2: Unrecommended - If security is not a concern, or if the inconvenience of logging in to the RDP session is just too much, then the following command may be used to bypass the login prompt:

rdesktop -u admin -p pass -A -s "c:\seamlessrdp\seamlessrdpshell.exe C:\PROGRA1\VMware\INFRAS1\VIRTUA~2\Launcher\vpxClient.exe -passthroughAuth -s LOCALHOST"

After the login screen clears, the vSphere client will be running on the Linux desktop just like any native Linux application would be.  No WINE, Windows remote desktops or other hassles (other than having the Windows machine) are required.


Update: Rich Brambley over at VM/ETC has a blog entry with an even more elegant solution.  It still requires a Windows box though!


Enjoy, and thanks for reading.

I recently was asked to patch an ESX 4 host for a customer.  This customer did not make use of VMware's Update Manager, and the customer also wanted a simple set of instructions to be provided for use in future patching. Below is a simplified bullet-item version of the ESX 4 Patch Management Guide that I presented to the customer.



On a Windows box, download the patch bundle directly from VMware. This will be .zip file.



On a Windows box with the vSphere client installed, use the vSphere client's datastore browser to upload the .zip file to a datastore on an ESX 4 host.



Obtain local console access, or SSH (putty), to the ESX 4 host that the bundle file was uploaded to.



Verify that the ESX 4 host disk free space is acceptable (2X the size of the bundle), using the command:


vdf -h



Move the bundle file off of the datastore and into /var/updates, using the command:


mv /vmfs/volumes/datastore/ /var/updates


Note: The directory /var/updates is used in this document, but any directory on a partition with adequate free space could substituted.

The patch bundle referenced in this document ( was for the 09/24/2009 update release.  Adjust file names as required, for newer bundles.



Verify that the patch bundles aren't already installed (or if they are required), using the command:


esxupdate query



If applicable, use the vSphere client to put the ESX 4 host in maintenance mode.  Alternatively, use the command:


vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter


The following commands may also be used to list and then shut down virtual machines.  This is for environments without VMotion or for single hosts.


vmware-cmd -s listvms

vmware-cmd <full path to .vmx file> stop soft



To determine which bulletins in the bundle are applicable to this ESX 4 host, use the command:


esxupdate --bundle file:///var/updates/ scan



To check VIB signature, dependencies, and bulletin order without doing any patching (a dry run), use the command:


esxupdate --bundle file:///var/updates/ stage



If the stage (dry run) found no problems, then the bundle can be installed using the command:


esxupdate --bundle file:///var/updates/ update



When (or IF) prompted to reboot, use the command:




Note: Not all patches will require an ESX host reboot.



After the system boots, verify patch bundles were installed with the command:


esxupdate query



If applicable, take the ESX host out of maintenance mode with the command:


vimsh -n -e /hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit



If applicable, restart virtual machines using the vSphere client or the following command:


vmware-cmd <full path to .vmx file> start



Delete the bundle zip file from the /var/updates folder, using the command:


rm /var/updates/*.zip



Verify that host disk free space is still acceptable, using the command:


vdf -h


As always, thanks for reading!

For a recent vSphere upgrade, I needed to find all virtual machines that had the VMware Tools Sync driver installed.  All this required was a few Excel exports and the Microsoft devcon utility.  I simply built batch files around the exported server lists with the following syntax:


devcon -m:\\<SERVERNAME> find * | find "Sync Driver"


With the lists created, it is now just a matter of following the instructions in either kb 1009073 to disable the Sync driver or kb 1009886 to remove the Sync driver and replace it with the VSS driver as part of the VMware Tools upgrade.


Thanks for reading!