I have come across this scenario several times and would like to share how I resolved it.
I have downloaded and put into production a handful of linux virtual appliances from VMware’s Virtual Appliance Library. Due to company naming standards, these virtual appliances had to be renamed. I spent several hours trying to figure out how to do this. Unfortunately, many Virtual Appliance’s web GUI(s) are usually not helpful in this area. Most normal linux hostname editing is reset when the VM is rebooted.