Problem with VMTools on shared storage in ESXi 5.5

Has anyone used the UserVars.ProductLockerLocation setting to successfully set the location for vmtools on ESXi 5.5? 

I am trying to get this working for autodeploy and the host seems to be ignoring the setting.

I am using the notools install image and all I get when trying to use vmtools in a vm is a error message about not being able to find the vmtools iso but the error always just references the standard location for the tools iso's, not my custom location set by the UserVars.ProductLockerLocation advanced setting.

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Here are the steps:-

  1. Boot an ESXi host that was not provisioned with Auto Deploy.
  2. Copy the /productLocker directory from the ESXi host to a shared storage.
  3. Create a reference host, and create an NFS datastore that includes the directory on which you placed the /productLocker directory.
  4. Change the UserVars.ProductLockerLocation variable to point to the /productLocker directory.
    1. In the vSphere Client, select the host and select Configuration.
    2. In the Software panel, select Advanced Settings.
    3. Scroll down to UserVars and select it.
    4. Set UserVars.ProductLockerLocation to the location of the shared storage.
  5. Create a host profile from the reference host.
  6. Create an Auto Deploy rule that assigns the no-tools image profile and the host profile from the reference host. 
  7. Boot your target hosts with the Auto Deploy rule.

I did the following:-

  1. Copied the /productlocker dir from another esxi5.5 host (not deployed by autodeploy) and placed these files on an already esablished nfs server
  2. Built a esxi host using autodeploy (notools)
  3. On the host built by autodeploy configured the nfs servers export as a nfs datastore
  4. On the host built by autodeploy pointed the UserVars.ProductLockerLocation to the location of the shared storage.
  5. Created a host profile from the autodeployed and fully configured esxi host.
  6. Redeployed that host using a new autodeploy rule that referenced the new host profile

Does that sound right?

The only thing I can think of that I could (should) do different is to do all the configuring on a manually built host and create a host profile out of that for the autodeployed hosts.  

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Ok I have a bit more information here (and a solution).

On a standard built host (that works):-

The vm would have the iso for vmtools mounted at /usr/lib/vmware/isoimages/blah.iso

/usr/lib/vmware/isoimages is a symlink to /productLocker/vmtools

/productLocker is a symlink to /locker/packages/5.5.0

/locker is a symlink to /store

On the autodeployed host:-

/usr/lib/vmware/isoimages is a symlink to /productLocker/vmtools (which is broken)

/productLocker is a symlink to /vmfs/volumes/ISO-STORE/VMtools-5.5.0-1331820/ (which is the location set by UserVars.ProductLockerLocation)

Where I have found a solution/workaround to my problem.

I needed to have the vmtools on the shared storage in a directory named 'vmware'. 

I then set the UserVars.ProductLockerLocation setting to where the iso's sit in the shared storage location minus the 'vmtools' dir.

eg. '/vmfs/volumes/ISO-STORE/'

So when esxi creates the symlink '/var/lib/vmware/isoimages to /productLocker/vmtools the 'vmtools' dir exists in the shared storage.   

Remember /productLocker is symlinked to the location set in UserVars.ProductLockerLocation

I hope that is understandable, symlinks to symlinks makes my head explode.

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VMware Front Experience: How to use the latest VMware Tools with older vSphere versions

A blog post I directed to that is more concise on how to do it than me,  it may be for using older versions of VMTools but it is the exact same method to do it for current VMTools.

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