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Note that this post becomes obsolete with the vSphere 6.7 Update 1 release where the client it’s finally complete.

Some months ago I’ve written a post (Is the HTML5-based vSphere Client ready to replace the vSphere Web Client?) on the limitation of the new vSphere Client, but this was before the vSphere 6.7 and vSphere 6.5U2 releases.

VMware vSphere, during its history and the different versions, has got several types of Graphical User Interface (GUI) client.

One of the most used (not the first, but the standard one since Virtual Infrastructure 3.0) was the vSphere Client for Windows. But on May 2016 VMware has announced that the Legacy C# Client (aka thick client, desktop client, or vSphere Client) will no longer be available with the vSphere 6.5 release, replaced by web-based clients.

Starting with VMware vSphere 6.5 there are mainly two different “Web Client”:

  • the vSphere Web Client (based on Flash and introduced in vSphere 5.0)
  • the new HTML5-based vSphere Client (with the same name of the legacy Windows client, for this reason, we simply call it HTML5 vSphere Client)

On August 2017, VMware has announced the plan to deprecate the Flash-based vSphere Web Client with the next numbered release (not update release) of vSphere, considering that also Adobe has announced plans to deprecate Flash. This will remove the boring dependency from Flash and the several issues that are caused (like the latest from a simple update of Flash). And finally, there will be only one major web client that will become (again) the vSphere Client!

But there are also other web clients, for most specific use cases:

  • the Appliance Manager UI (VAMI): used to manage the configuration of the virtual appliance, in case you are using the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) for the vCenter Server and/or the Platform Service Controller (PSC)
  • the PSC UI: specific for the management of the PSC components, especially the certificate management and SSO management. This interface is available only on embedded or external PSC nodes.
  • the Host Client: an HTML5 web client for the host management, if you don’t have the vCenter Server running or if you have standalone hosts

For more information see also What’s New in vSphere 6.5: vCenter management clients.

Each client has specific scope for usage and different URL as explained in the following table:

Web Client URL Scope
vSphere Web Client https://vCenter_FQDN/vsphere-client Entire infrastructure
vSphere Client https://vCenter_FQDN/ui Entire infrastructure
VAMI https://vCSA_FQDN:5480 vCSA configuration
PSC UI https://PSC_FQDN/psc PSC configuration
Host Client https://ESXi_FQDN/ui Single host management

This topic was really hot, considering that the post remains one with the higher hits and that I’ve also had a session in the TalkShoe community podcast.

After some months and with the recent vSphere 6.7 and vSphere 6.5U2 releases, can we finally consider the (new) vSphere Client mature and enough complete for the day by day usage, not only for the operators, but also for the administrators?

The Functionality Updates for the vSphere Client website tracks the release of vSphere Web Client workflow functionality not available in the vSphere Client both for version v6.5 and v6.7 of vSphere.

The list of vSphere Web Client workflow functionality not currently supported in the vSphere Client 6.7 or vSphere Client 6.5 Update 2 remain still long but really short compared to eight months ago.

Functional Area
Workflow
Unsupported Functionality in the vSphere Client
Content Library Content Library Management and Configuration
  • Clone library
Content Library Deploy from template
  • Advanced deploy options
  • Advanced networking template customization
vCenter Global view vCenter Server Configuration
  • Edit advanced settings
  • Key management services
  • vCenter High Availability
  • Auto Deploy
Distributed Switch Management
  • Topology view filter
Host Management Host Configuration
  • Configure host profiles (partial):
    • Copy settings between profiles
    • Attach workflow invoked from the host profile
    • Schedule compliance check
  • Standard switch diagram
  • Host proxy switch diagram
Performance Charts Overview
  • View overview performance charts
Search Advanced search
  • Search for VMs by compliance status
Global Views Recent Objects view
  • Display recently viewed objects
  • Display recently created objects
Related Objects List Actions
  • Action button bar
Search Advanced search
  • Advanced search
Wizards/Dialogs Inventory Tree
  • Search
VCHA Management and Deployment
  • All workflows
Administration Single Sign-On
  • Users and groups
  • Configuration
VM Administration Deployment
  • Deploy VM from content library wizard
VM Configuration VM Edit Settings
  • Device configuration options
  • Adding the hardware devices: floppy drive, serial port, parallel port
  • SDRS rules
  • Edit advanced settings
  • Fibre channel NPIV
VM Configuration VM Summary
  • Advanced configuration portlet
  • vApp details portlet
  • Update manager compliance portlet
VM Configuration VM SDRS Rules
  • All workflows
VM Deployment Deploy OVF/OVA
  • Advanced storage
  • vService Bindings
  • Customize template
VM Operations Remote Console
  • Changing preferred console from the gear icon
VM Provisioning New/Clone VM
  • Missing devices/options for hardware customization:
    • Host USB device (unsupported in vSphere Client 6.7, supported in vSphere Client 6.5 Update 2)
    • VM Options > Advanced Configuration Parameters (unsupported in vSphere Client 6.7, supported in vSphere Client 6.5 Update 2)
    • VM Options > Power Management > Wake up on LAN (unsupported in vSphere Client 6.7, supported in vSphere Client 6.5 Update 2)
    • VM Options > Fibre Channel NPIV (unsupported in vSphere Client 6.7, supported in vSphere Client 6.5 Update 2)
    • Serial port
    • SRIOV networking
Licensing Licensing
  • Add and Assign License (unsupported in vSphere Client 6.7, supported in vSphere Client 6.5 Update 2)
Solutions vCenter Server Extensions
  • All workflows
Solutions ESX Agent Manager
  • All workflows
Networking Network Protocol Profile
  • All workflows

Anyway most of the operations now can be performed with the vSphere Client, and for people moving from vSphere 5.5 or 6.0 that have only used the old C# vSphere Client, moving directly to this client could be better rather that start learning the vSphere Web Client.

And there are several interesting tips on how increase your productivity with the new client, like this video:

And the number of supported browsers is increasing (note that also if the browser is not listed probably it may work)

The following table lists the supported operating systems and minimum browser versions for the vSphere Client.

Operating system
Browser
Windows
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer version 11.0.96 and later.
  • Microsoft Edge version 38 and later.
  • Google Chrome version 50 and later.
  • Mozilla Firefox version 45 and later.
Mac OS
  • Google Chrome version 50 and later.
  • Mozilla Firefox version 45 and later.

Note that on Flings there is a new version of the vSphere Client, with more features.

Anyway, the UI of the vSphere Client remain probably too different from the old vSphere Client or the vSphere Web Client… yes most are similar, but the behavior is different and also the layout, making more confusing the switch from one client to another.

At least the new VAMI in VCSA 6.7 is totally similar and with the same look&feel of the vSphere Client, and that’s great to reduce the gap from all the multiple interfaces.

Unfortunately, the Host UI remain with a totally different UI (why not merge the look&feel to have only one?) also in ESXi 6.7.

But for operators, the vSphere Client remain a good option and it’s really fast enough.

For vSphere admins, there are still some (minor) limitation and most tasks can be performed from the HTML5 client. But maybe learning a scripting language could be better rather than learning a UI interface. At this point seems that PowerCLI cmdlets are really stable across the multiple vSphere version and could be a good investment in your knowledge. Also, it can be a fast way to deploy and manage your virtual infrastructure.

See also the VMware KB 2147929 (vSphere Client (HTML5) and vSphere Web Client 6.5 FAQ).

Andrea MauroAbout Andrea Mauro (2908 Posts)

Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-18. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-18. Nutanix NTC 2014-18. PernixPro 2014-16. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.


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