Why I like the vSphere Web Client a lot!

Hello all,

I started to use the vSphere Web Client before it was released in 5.0 or 5.1 and I was not too happy with it.  But as part of my job I used it anyway.  I found bugs, and made suggestions and it has improved.   I now reach for it by default, and recently I showed a client why I use it most of the time. I thought that would make a nice blog.  So here it is – a list of things I think very cool and actually reasons why I use the Web Client.  As always, you can click on the pictures for larger images.

  • Mac Support – see it running below on my Mac.  And it can deploy appliances, or access consoles too!

vSphere Web Client on Mac

  • Plug-in Support – I love how plug-ins can not be just a tab, but in fact be throughout. For example, Dell has a product that is a wonderful plug-in (more info here).  Throughout vCenter means things like you can search for all the Dell Servers, or the Dell app will use maintenance mode to apply firmware.  So really not just a tab any longer!
  • VMware Plug-ins – For example, see below for VMware Infrastructure (VIN) and vCenter Operations Manager (vC Ops).  This is an important example.  Note how whatever is selected on the left, will show the VIN and vC Ops information for that object.  Below we can see Health and VIN for a host.

Health of my server!

  • Sticky features – this sounds odd right?  An example will help.  If you are looking at virtual switches for a server when working in the Web Client, and you click on a different server, you will find yourself looking at virtual switches on the new server.  This is a sticky feature.  I use looking at virtual switches for an example, but it is the same for working with syslog settings or anything else.  Not exactly sure if sticky features is a technical term or not.
  • Work in Progress – I love this one.  When you are in the middle of a wizard, and you realize you do not have the necessary info, you can check that wizard into WIP to return to it later.  How do you do that?  See the double triangles in the screenshot below?  You use it to put the wizard into the work in progress area.  And to get something out of Work in Progress you just click on it.

Check in to WIP

Work in Progress

  • Tags – I really like tags.  I can search for them, which helps me find what I need, or it can gather things together so I can work with the exact group of objects I need.  See below for the tags that my SQL server has.  Don’t think that all of the tags you see for it are only for it.  If you search for Michael White, you would find all of the objects with that tag, which would not be just the SQL server.  Another example would be if you search for View you would find the desktops, connection and security servers.  I also like tags to use for tracking provisioning date.

My SQL server

  • More info – this is not a named feature.  But you can point at tasks in Recent Tasks for more info.  Below is an example of a vMotion task.  This is sometimes very useful indeed! Yes, this also works in vSphere 6 where the Recent tasks is stretched out on the bottom.

More Info

  • Update Manager compliance – I like being able to see the status of the Update Manager since I use VUM to keep my servers compliant.

VUM status

  • Performance – the vSphere Web Client in vSphere 5.5 is faster than before.  However, you can improve even the older version if you increase the Adobe Flash cache size.  See more info on that here.
  • Related objects – every object has a tab that shows the objects that are related. For example, below is the related objects when I have a host selected.  You can see all of the VMs, templates, datastores, networks, and distributed switches that this host is connected with or is consuming.  Remember that all, or almost all objects have the Related Objects option.

RelatedObjects

  • Add new datastore to cluster – this is very handy in that you can add a new datastore to the cluster rather then to each host individually.  Plus, later, when you can add a new host it is easy to add him.  In the image below you can see that I have already selected Gold (the cluster) and used Actions \ Add New Datastore.  The start of the wizard is below.

datastore

So you see?  I have some good reasons to use the vSphere Web Client.  And I use it almost all of the time.  If you have reasons to use the Web Client, or not use the Web Client let me know.

Update:

  • 1/21/16 – in vSphere 6.0 U1 all of the VUM capabilities is in the Web Client now.  Also the client is much faster under vSphere 6 so that is nice to be able to say.  As well, here is an article that details all of the features / functionality missing from the C# client – quite a big list.
  • 8/27/15 – added the info on adding new datastore to cluster. BTW, this is all vSphere 5.5 and nothing vSphere 6 yet.
  • 8/25/15 – added the bit about related objects.

Michael

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3 comments on “Why I like the vSphere Web Client a lot!
  1. smflanders says:

    Reasons why I do not love the web client:

    * Slow – even in 5.5
    * Buggy – getting better, but recently hit http://t.co/lYSLBuK22b, the workaround is to use the fat client
    * Flash – HTML5 please

    I agree 5.5 is a big improvement, but still has a ways to go!

    • Yes, it is not perfect. And yes, it does have a way to go. But it does work well for me most of the time. The slow can sometimes be helped with the increase in the cache size I mentioned. And yes, flash is less than ideal.

      Michael

  2. […] missed this post over the holidays: “why I like the vSphere web client a lot!”  There’s a couple of things in it that are near and dear to my heart, such as Mac support1, […]

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