This is slightly more work than the "do nothing" scenario, but it's very easy because everything sits in the Ubuntu repository. To install the OpenVM-tools on a server , be sure to leave out the recommended packages, so that you don't end up with tons of unnecessary X-server packages:
apt-get install --no-install-recommends linux-headers-virtual open-vm-dkms open-vm-tools
open-vm-dkms package takes care of automatically rebuilding modules whenever there is a kernel upgrade. You can see this in action when installing it:
Setting up open-vm-dkms (2011.12.20-562307-0ubuntu1) ... Loading new open-vm-tools-2011.12.20 DKMS files... First Installation: checking all kernels... Building only for 3.2.0-23-virtual Building for architecture x86_64 Building initial module for 3.2.0-23-virtual Done.
After this there a are quite some vm modules loaded: