VMware Tools version 10.3.0 known issues – VMXNET3 is losing connection

By | September 4, 2018

VMware has released VMware tools version 10.3.0 in the month of July 2018. However, its been identified that, serious issues with network stability associated with VMware Tools v10.3 on Windows Systems (Virtual guests). If you are not yet running version 10.3 or planning an upgrade to version 10.3 of the VMware Tools on Windows Servers, please do not proceed and hold on until more information is available from the VMware vendor. Alternatively, you may upgrade to VMware Tools version 10.2.5 which is a stable VMtools version.

If you have already upgraded to 10.3 and are seeing that VMXNET3 is losing connection on Windows Server VMs, collect logs and submit and create a case with VMware and it is advisable to downgrade to VMware Tools version 10.2.5.

Prerequisites to install VMware tools version 10.3.0

This release of VMware tools has some requirements before installation in the Guest OS. VMware tools 10.3.0 has a requirements like Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable version 14.x. If this component is not installed, VMware installer will take care of it and installs it prior to installing.

A note from VMware on its newer version of VMware tools:

VMware Tools 10.3.0 depends on and ships Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable version 14.x. While preparing the system for VMware Tools 10.3.0 installation, Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable is installed on the system as a prerequisite.

In earlier versions, VMware Tools ISO images were shipped with the ESXi image. These ISO images are deployed on ProductLocker partition of the ESXi. However, this approach poses a challenge due to limited space in ProductLocker. In order to address this space limitation, only windows.iso , linux.iso and winPreVista.iso are bundled with ESXi. Other ISO images are available for download from https://myvmware.com and will not be shipped with ESXi in the tools-light vib. ISO images for few end of life guest operating systems are frozen.

Here is what’s new (quote from Release notes):

VMware Tools 10.3.0 supports the following guest operating systems:

windows.iso supports Windows Vista and later.

VMware Tools 10.3.0 depends on and ships Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable version 14.0. While preparing the system for VMware Tools 10.3.0 installation, Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable is installed on the system as a prerequisite. Installing or upgrading to VMware Tools 10.3.0 is not supported for Windows versions that do not meet the prerequisites and customers should continue to use VMware Tools 10.2.x or older until they can patch or update Windows OS to meet the prerequisites for VMware Tools 10.3.0.

Windows OS level per-requisites

  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Windows 7 SP1
  • Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Windows Vista SP2
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 with Microsoft update KB2919355
  • Windows 8.1 with Microsoft update KB2919355

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linux.iso supports Linux guest operating systems Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 and later, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 and later, Ubuntu 10.04 and later. It also supports other distributions with glibc versions 2.5 and later.

darwin.iso supports Mac OS X versions 10.11 and later.
solaris.iso supports Solaris versions.

Integration of VMware AppDefense with VMware Tools: VMware Tools installation includes the VMware AppDefense, a security management, and monitoring solution. This data center security solution is based on application control, detection, and response. For more information, see the VMware Tools User Guide.

Changes in the OpenGL driver: OpenGL driver has been updated for bug fixes and performance improvements

Vertex buffer object (VBO) optimization
Display list drawing optimization

Changes in the VMXNET3 driver: Receive data ring support for the Windows VMXNET3 driver.

Shared folders: FUSE-based Shared Folders client which is used as a replacement for the kernel mode client supports Linux distributions with kernel version 3.10 and later.

VMware Tools user space compiler upgrade: Compiler for VMware Tools 10.3.0 for Windows has been upgraded to Microsoft Visual Studio 2015.

Resolved Issues: This release of VMware Tools resolves few issues which are documented in the Resolved Issues section of this release notes.

Interesting to know that VMware tools ISOs contains installers from all Operating systems and those ISOs are depending on VMware product and Quest operating system installed in particular VM.

3 Ways of distribution for VMware Tools:

ISOs (containing installers): These are packaged with a particular product and are installed in a number of ways, depending upon the VMware product and the guest operating system installed in the virtual machine. VMware Tools provides a different ISO file for each type of supported guest operating system: Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, NetWare, Solaris, and FreeBSD.

Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs): Downloadable binary packages that are built and provided by VMware for particular versions of Linux distributions. OSPs are typically available for older releases, such as RHEL 6. Most current versions of Linux include Open VM Tools, eliminating the need to separately install OSPs. If you want to download OSPs and to find important information and instructions, check the VMware Tools Operating System Specific Packages (OSPs) page.

open-vm-tools (OVT): This is the open source implementation of VMware Tools. Usually, the guys who maintain Linux distros, they pack those tools within their distros, so the administrators can easily install and update VMware Tools side-by-side with other Linux packages.

To conclude that, it is not advisable to install / upgrade the VMware tools version 10.3.0 until we receive an updated release or fix from VMware vendor. Please go with VMware tools 10.2.5 stable version.

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