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Short tip: VMware vSphere 6.7 Guest Customization and openSUSE Leap 15.2

When automatically customizing openSUSE 15.2 guests under VMware vSphere 6.7 recently, I stumbled upon the famous “Guest Customization failed” issue (once again).

After eliminating the most common error (not having Perl installed which is necessary) I had a look at the VMware Compatibility Guide. Looks like openSUSE 15 is officially not supported under vSphere but only under the desktop hypervisors:

openSUSE is not supported under VMware vSphere

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15, which is technically comparable is supported on the other hand:

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15.2 is supported under VMware vSphere

Changing the operating system type configured for the VM has no effect on the issue at all. Having a deeper look at the appropriate log file (/var/log/vmware-imc/toolsDeployPkg.log) listet the following issue:

INFO: Getting hostname
DEBUG: Command '/sbin/uname -a'
DEBUG: Result:
DEBUG: Exit Code: -1
ERROR: Fatal error occured during customization !! Customization halted.
ERROR: Error: Customization Failure !! Unknown distribution. at /var/run/.vmware-imgcust-d2asUMq/scripts/Customize.pl line 107.

INFO: Return code is 255.

I compared two openSUSE and SLE 15 systems and spotted a difference between them regarding the file /etc/issue. openSUSE lists the following:

Welcome to \S - Kernel \r (\l).

While under SLE 15 the file has the following content:

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15

Changing the file content like for SLE 15 fixed the problem. Keep in mind that this is no official solution Рeven though openSUSE might become SLE upstream project in the future.

My expectation is that VMware realizes the changes between openSUSE and SLE and extends official support.

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4 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Ian says:


    I’m running ESXi 6.7u3 and matching vCenter.
    Trying this with Suse Leap 15.2, but despite updating the text in /etc/issue it still detects the OS as opensuse when the VM is powered, and refuses to give me customisations when it is a template.

    No errors, just no customisations. Seems they “fixed” it, but I can’t see what they are keying it off now.
    Has it broken for you with later VMWare updates ?


    1. Christian says:

      Hi Ian,
      that’s interesting – I’m using exact the same version (Build 14368073) and the workaround does the trick for me.

      Unfortunately I have no access to the appliance management to update it and see whether this has been fixed in 3a to 3j or 7.0.

      Best wishes,

  2. Sylvestre says:

    vSphere Client version and still the same issue, thanks vmWare!
    Tried to change /etc/issue directly but it was going back to its original value after reboot (on openSUSE Leap Micro 5.2). Finally I created a /etc/issue.d/00-vmware_fix with “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15” and this is persistent.
    Anyway thanks for the trick!

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