Terraform - vSphere - CentOS 7 Customization Issues

2 minute read

I was recently working on a project to spin up about ~50 VMs which were all based on CentOS 7.4 and ran into an issue during the customization phase failing. The error I was receiving was:

"Customization of the guest operating system 'centos64guest' is not supported
in this configuration. Microsoft Vista and Linux guests with a Logical
Volume Manager are support only for recent ESX host and VMware Tools versions"

Now this was not the first time I have seen this over the years but honestly it had been a while. So I am documenting this here in case I run into this again and of course forget how to resolve the issue.

The vSphere template that I was using initially did have LVM for the volume manager so I built a new fresh template using the CentOS Minimal ISO and did not use LVM but rather just standard partitioning. I then installed open-vm-tools and tried provisioning with Terraform once again. And of course ran into the same issue again. After a bit of trying (~3 hours) to figure out if the issue was with Terraform or vSphere I finally narrowed down that it was actually on the vSphere side. My next attempt I converted the template back to a VM, uninstalled open-vm-tools and then decided to use the open-vm-tools-deploypkg instead. The steps to install open-vm-tools-deploypkg is as follows:

yum install wget
wget https://packages.vmware.com/tools/keys/VMWARE-PACKAGING-GPG-DSA-KEY.pub
wget https://packages.vmware.com/tools/keys/VMWARE-PACKAGING-GPG-RSA-KEY.pub

Now create /etc/yum.repos.d/vmware-tools.repo with the following:

name = VMware Tools
baseurl = https://packages.vmware.com/packages/rhel7/x86_64/
enabled = 1
gpgcheck = 1

And now install open-vm-tools-deploypkg:

yum install open-vm-tools-deploypkg

After installing the open-vm-tools-deploypkg I converted the VM to a template once again and attempted to provision using Terraform. This time I got past the error that I was originally getting but this time the VMs would spin up and the customization would run but the VM hostnames and static IP addresses were not being configured. I was making progress but why was this not working still? So I did some more Google searches and found a blurb that triggered my memory on this, Perl, Perl is a requirement for the customization to work correctly. So I converted the template to a VM once again and spun it up, and sure enough, Perl was not installed. So after installing perl:

yum install perl

I converted the VM back to a template and kicked off the Terraform provisioning once again. And sure enough, there it went, worked as it should and only took about ~5 minutes to spin up all of the VMs, configure their hostnames and static IP addresses as desired.

So there you have it. Hopefully I will remember this post or at least find it through Google whenever I run into this issue again. Or maybe it will also be useful to someone else.


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