Zen LoadBalancer on ESXi – Installing VmWare tools

Zen LoadBalancer: http://www.zenloadbalancer.com is a great appliance for deploying networking load balancing and high availability for server farms. It’s has a good web interface for defining and monitoring them, and it’s quick to deploy on a VMWare infrastructure, if built from the ISO file into a virtual appliance. This virtual appliance is based on Debian Squeeze and needs very low resources (512KB RAM).

For deploying on ESXi infra-structure there is the need to install the VMWare tools provided by ESXi, and these are steps to do so:

1) On Vsphere/VMware administration console, after deploying and booting up the appliance, select the usual Install Vmware tools.
Nothing should happen…
2) Access by SSH to the appliance, or use the console.
3) Make sure that you can use the apt-get command: apt-get update
4) If not, check your DNS settings, default gateway, and/or proxy/firewall.
5) if you’re behind a proxy, you can define the proxy by using the following commands:

export http_proxy=http://proxy_server:port
export https_proxy=http//proxy_server:port

6) if your proxy requires authentication, use the syntax: http://username:password@proxy_server:port
Check: http://blog.mypapit.net/2006/02/how-to-use-apt-get-behind-proxy-server-ubuntudebian.html for more info

7) Mount the virtual ESXi CD-ROM with the following command: mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

8) Copy the tar file of VMware tools from the CDROM to the root home directory:
in my case: cp /media/cdrom/VMwareTools-8.3.12-493255.tar.gz ~

9) Expand the tools:

cd ~
tar xvzf VMwareTools-8.3.12-493255.tar.gz

10) Update the system:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

11) Install the basic tools for the VMWare tools to compile:

apt-get install gcc
apt-get install make

12) Find out the kernel version: uname -a
in my case:

root@zenlbapp:~# uname -a
Linux zenlbapp 2.6.32-5-686 #1 SMP Mon Oct 3 04:15:24 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux

Install the corresponding Kernel headers:

apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.32-5-686

13) We are ready: goto the base VMware tools directory, in my case:

cd ~/vmware-tools-distrib/

14) Compile and install the tools:


15) Reboot.

Because the Zen LoadBalancer does not have X11 installed, the only way the manipulate the vmware tools is through the vmware-toolbox-cmd command.

8 thoughts on “Zen LoadBalancer on ESXi – Installing VmWare tools

  1. Hi, I get:
    root@vip1:~/vmware-tools-distrib# uname -a
    Linux vip1 2.6.32-5-686 #1 SMP Wed Jan 12 04:01:41 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux

    root@vip1:~/vmware-tools-distrib# apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.32-5-686
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    E: Unable to locate package linux-headers-2.6.32-5-686
    E: Couldn’t find any package by regex ‘linux-headers-2.6.32-5-686’

    Any ideas?

    1. edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list and replace all the entries “stable” with “squeeze” BEFORE run apt-get update / upgrade

      example of working sources.conf file:

      #official repository for Debian
      deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main non-free
      deb-src http://ftp.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main non-free
      deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main
      deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main
      #official repository for Zen Load Balancer Updates
      deb http://zenloadbalancer.sourceforge.net/apt/x86 v3/


  2. Sorry for the delay answering. My blog is a very low traffic, so I’m not monitoring it promptly…. Sorry about that.

    Probably the package doesn’t exist anymore, because probably that kernel is very old now…

    Try to do a full upgrade again, and see if you get a newer kernel.

    If that doesn’t work, you can export your rules, and use one of the more recent Zen LoadBalancer versions, that have a more recent kernel.

  3. You can either search from them manually I just updated the kernel to 3.2…. for that one the headers are available in repos. So magic command you might want to execute:
    apt-get install linux-image-3.2.0-4-686-pae linux-headers-3.2.0-4-686-pae gcc make

    (if you have a regular account and sudo setup; use sudo for this command)

    1. Good question:

      The easiest way is on another machine download the packages and transfer them through by mounting an external disk/usb drive.

      If not possible, one thing that I’ve done is to crosscompile on a machine that has network and then transfer the binaries.

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