The vSphere Client (desktop) Version 5.5.0 correctly displayed the CentOS 7.x point releases until version CentOS 7.4. Where it once displayed, Guest OS: CentOS 4/5/6/7 (64-bit) under the Summary tab of the virtual machine, the display is Guest OS: Linux 3.10.0-693.17.1.x86-x64 CentOS Linux release 7.4.1708 (Core).
As I once thought that this was problematic, I found a discussion in Gitlab and working through that material, came up with this solution. Downgrade the open-vm-tools to a previous version.
# Downgrade yum remove -y open-vm-tools yum install -y http://vault.centos.org/7.3.1611/updates/x86_64/Packages/open-vm-tools-10.0.5-4.el7_3.x86_64.rpm yum install -y http://vault.centos.org/7.3.1611/updates/x86_64/Packages/open-vm-tools-desktop-10.0.5-4.el7_3.x86_64.rpm systemctl restart vmtoolsd.service # To prevent an update to open-vm-tools sed -i '/distroverpkg/a exclude=open-vm-tools\*/' /etc/yum.conf
This did result in the desired outcome of displaying Guest OS: CentOS 4/5/6/7 (64-bit). However, was this really necessary?
I no longer believe so, since ESXi 5.5.x support CentOS 7.x. After a little consideration, I checked out the vmware vSphere Web Client and the Summary tab correctly reflected the Guest OS for other once questionable servers.
The conclusion drawn from this is to not change anything, use the more supported web client than the soon to be depreciated out desktop client.
I wrote this article for two reasons. One, the solution is to leave things along. The other, to document a successful downgrade of open-vm-tools.