Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 & vCenter Customization Specifications

While on a vRealize Automation 6.2 engagement, the customer wanted to be able to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 VMs from a blueprint. The customer has prepared a RHEL 7 Template for me to use for deployment. I have created as well a vCenter Customization Specification to customize the VM and apply the desired IP Address & Host Name to VMs as they get deployed. While VMs deployment worked smoothly,  I have noticed no customization was carried out. I have tried to deploy VMs from the template directly using vCenter to test my vCenter Customization Specification and that did not work either, which eliminated vRA of being the source of the issue.

Red Hat Logo

As many others can still face the same issue with or without vRA, as its a vCenter Customization Specification related issue rather than vCloud Automation Center, I have decided to document what we had to do to fix it:

1- Make sure you are running vSphere Components (vCenter/ESXi/VMware Tools) versions that support your version of Red Hat Enterprise. For RHEL 7 the guest customization started being supported at vCenter 5.5U2 as per VMware Guest OS Customization support in vCenter Document.

2- Make sure to install VMware version of VMware tools. (Yes, the Open VMware Tools included within RHEL 7 will not cut it). 

Please note that you might get an error as the below one when trying to install VMware tools on RHEL 7, where it is caused by the minimal default installation of RHEL 7  not including net-tools package. As a result, the ifconfig program is not available which is required for the installation of VMware tools. To over come this, all you have to do is to install the net-tools using the following command before trying to install VMware tools: #sudo yum install net-tools

Error: <Setup is unable to find the “ifconfig” program on your machine. Please make sure it is installed. Do you want to specify the location of this program by hand?[yes]>

Note: If you want to stick with the Open VMware Tools from Red Hat, while the Open VMware Tools is not sufficient on its own, you can get it to work with Customization Specs by installing the DeployPkg plug-in. For instructions please see KB2075048

deployPkg plug-in


2- Make sure you set your VM Operating System Setting to Red Hat 7

3- Make sure /var/log/vmware-imc/toolsDeployPkg.log shows the right OS version.

Ex: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 7.0 (Maipo)

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