This bug was fixed in the package open-vm-tools - 2:10.2.0-3ubuntu1

---------------
open-vm-tools (2:10.2.0-3ubuntu1) bionic; urgency=medium

  * d/open-vm-tools.service: Add After=local-fs.target dependency ensuring
    filesystems are ready to fix a race on startup (LP: #1750780)

 -- Christian Ehrhardt <christian.ehrha...@canonical.com>  Thu, 22 Feb
2018 08:39:26 +0100

** Changed in: open-vm-tools (Ubuntu)
       Status: Triaged => Fix Released

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https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1750780

Title:
  Race with local file systems can make open-vm-tools fail to start

Status in cloud-init:
  Invalid
Status in open-vm-tools package in Ubuntu:
  Fix Released
Status in open-vm-tools package in Debian:
  Unknown

Bug description:
  Since the change in [1] open-vm-tools-service starts very (very) early.
  Not so much due to the 
  Before=cloud-init-local.service
  But much more by
  DefaultDependencies=no

  That can trigger an issue that looks like
  root@ubuntuguest:~# systemctl status -l open-vm-tools.service
  ‚óŹ open-vm-tools.service - Service for virtual machines hosted on VMware
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/open-vm-tools.service; enabled; vendor 
preset: enabled)
     Active: failed (Result: resources)

  
  As it is right now open-vm-tools can race with the other early start and then 
fail.
  In detail one can find a message like:
    open-vm-tools.service: Failed to run 'start' task: Read-only file system"

  This is due to privtaeTmp=yes which is also set needing a writable
  /var/tmp [2]

  To ensure this works PrivateTmp would have to be removed (not good) or some 
after dependencies added that make this work reliably.
  I added
  After=local-fs.target
  which made it work for me in 3/3 tests.

  I' like to have an ack by the cloud-init Team that this does not totally kill 
the originally intended Before=cloud-init-local.service
  I think it does not as local-fs can complete before cloud-init-local, then 
open-vm-tools can initialize and finally cloud-init-local can pick up the data.

  To summarize:
  # cloud-init-local #
  DefaultDependencies=no
  Wants=network-pre.target
  After=systemd-remount-fs.service
  Before=NetworkManager.service
  Before=network-pre.target
  Before=shutdown.target
  Before=sysinit.target
  Conflicts=shutdown.target
  RequiresMountsFor=/var/lib/cloud

  # open-vm-tools #
  DefaultDependencies=no
  Before=cloud-init-local.service

  Proposed is to add to the latter:
  After=local-fs.target

  [1]: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=859677
  [2]: https://github.com/systemd/systemd/issues/5610

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