The first glimpse of vCenter’s shiny new client is here! Released as a Fling, the new vSphere HTML5 Web Client is currently just a technical preview but you can expect regular development as we saw with the ESXi Embedded Host Client (which has since been released with ESXi 6.0 Update 2).
The installation is a bit clunky but the documentation makes easy work of it. The developers are working on a GUI installer which will be released with a future update.
Okay, let’s be real. It’s too early to have anything bad to say about this early technical preview. Instead of keeping the delicious HTML5 bits to themselves, VMware has very graciously tantalized us with their work in progress. It’s almost like they’re trying to prove they’ve heard us!
The Web Client deploys as a separate virtual appliance, which is great because it doesn’t require any major changes to your vCenter.
Once the OVA has been deployed, you simply run a .bat file on your Windows vCenter and copy the files it generates to the Web Client appliance. Or if you’re running the VCSA you simply configure the Web Client appliance to connect to your vCenter. Easy breezy!
Because I’m not using Network Protocol Profiles I ran into an issue when powering on the Web Client appliance.
“Cannot initialize property vami.gateway.vSphere_Web_Client_appliance. Network ‘xxx’ has no associated network protocol profile.”
Even though I selected a fixed IP at deployment, the VM wouldn’t power on. The fix is to simply edit the appliance keys under vApp Options –> Authoring –> Properties and hard code your gateway, domain, DNS, and subnet masks.
Once the VM was powered on, I ran the included .bat file on my Windows vCenter server to generate the required files.
Once the files were copied to the Web Client appliance, I started the service which was up and running in just over a minute.
The new interface is clean and beautiful with all the information right where you’d expect it. The developers have created a new theme called “clarity” which is as responsive as it is refined.
Performing tasks is a breeze as the developers are clearly trying to keep the familiar menus untouched.
The recent tasks pane got a nice facelift and the status bars behave as they did with the old C# client. That’s right, no more refreshes to check on tasks (even though the refresh button made its way in to the new client).
As I mentioned before, a lot of care has gone in to making sure the layout is consistent between the old Flash based web client and the new HTML5 web client. Take for example the VM settings. While the new client isn’t feature complete yet, the layout is very familiar compared to the current web client.
The performance charts have remained unchanged for this release. Instead of being the interactive charts that we saw in the Embedded Host Client, we have the same old static charts that we’re used to.
With that said, I would almost expect to see the performance charts improved in an upcoming release.
Be sure to give this fling a try for yourself. It’s been a long time coming but VMware has made it very clear that our voices were heard. They also want to continue to solicit our feedback and have included a handy tool to do so. Just click on the smiley face in the upper right hand corner. Feedback is so important that VMware clearly spent a great deal of time refining this feedback tool. It’s impressive!! You can easily include screenshots and mark them up before sending it to the developers.
In summary the new HTML5 Web Client is a very welcome addition to the vSphere family. While VMware administrators won’t be able to perform all of their day to day functions with this preview, the speed and look of this client has made it an instant addition to my daily administration tools.