Do you really need VMWare tools?
Things like Gui integrations are fine and handy/essential if you are virtualizing a desktop OS.
But even if setting up a headless virtual server that you never access on the console after sshd is running you should still use them in order to benefit from virtualized disk and network I/O. This can deliver decent speedups if your VM is bottlenecking in that area.
The drivers you want should be in ports, or a precompiled package for all common OS's. If this is not true for your VM system then you should be questioning the VM provider, not the guest OS, about why they are so hard to setup.