Well, another tidbit (and maybe I’m slow coming to find this out)… from the VMware vCenter Server 5.1.0b release notes:

vSphere Client. In vSphere 5.1, all new vSphere features are available only through the vSphere Web Client. The traditional vSphere Client will continue to operate, supporting the same feature set as vSphere 5.0, but not exposing any of the new features in vSphere 5.1.

vSphere 5.1 and its subsequent update and patch releases are the last releases to include the traditional vSphere Client. Future major releases of VMware vSphere will include only the vSphere Web Client.

For vSphere 5.1, bug fixes for the traditional vSphere Client are limited to security or critical issues. Critical bugs are deviations from specified product functionality that cause data corruption, data loss, system crash, or significant customer application down time where no workaround is available that can be implemented.


Firstly, so, none of the new features of 5.1 are available through the current vSphere client. Not really checked this in detail, or which features this includes, but this suprises me.

Secondly, in the course of studying for the VCP5 exam the existing web client is described as something of a lightweight, not for general use by VMware admins tool. If the existing Windows vSphere client is being done away with, VMware will need to do some SERIOUS work in getting the future web client up to scratch. Not only that but they will have the tough task of choosing what web browsers to support and the various versions thereof.

Thirdly, what about all the third party plugins? Many of those will all need to be updated and rewritten to run on the vCenter server/vCSA. Now this is quite a big one since it will require plugins to be changed from running on the Windows based vSphere client to running on a Linux appliance. Not a totally trivial task I would wager.

Forthly, upgrading from 4.x/5.x to 6.x will probably be frought with some challenges in needing to switch back and forth between the “old” Windows client and the “new” web client. I expect some serious planning and testing will need to be performed to ensure that all operational tasks can be completed before, during and after the migrations/upgrades.

Can’t say I’m pleased about this. I can see massive challenges in keeping web browsers working smoothly with such a core and critical application. Even getting relatively simple websites to render equivalently across browsers can be challenging, let alone something as complex as a vSphere administration console.

However, I can see why VMware would want to do this – for their big vCloud push. “One client to rule them all” for the administrators/providers of clouds all the way down to their end customers. Quite a vision, but I wonder if they can pull it off.

There is a risk here that Microsoft’s Hyper-V will gain a foothold when this comes to pass. I imagine coupled with the removal of the thick client will be the removal of the installable vSphere Server. If this comes to pass then some Microsoft shops are likely to question the introduction of a Linux appliance into their server estate when a Hyper-V and Microsoft based platform will be available (and quite possibly already included in their existing MS licenses).

Customers are fickle and can switch allegance quite quickly… I hope VMware has considered this and doesn’t shoot it self in the foot!


8 thoughts on “The end of the vSphere client is nigh

  1. Hmmm …. interesting – sent the info to our main VM oke – sure he knows but maybe not. Last time I checked the web client it didn’t work that great on all OS, eg on my OSX it was totally useless. Is also the same thing that Novell had with ConsoleOne admin stuff, you STILL can’t admin some stuff from their web management tools (iManager) has been promised for ever, needs backend work vs client API calls or file access or whatever.

    • Yes, current web client is, ahem, lacking. I look forward cautiously to vSphere 6. I wonder if they will pull it off? Have to wait and see.

  2. Web Client lacking you say …

    This is the biggest understatement of 2013

    vmware has seriously dropped the ball, and I believe they have “too many fingers in too many pies” with all there various vXXX products.

    vSphere 5.0 + even up to 5.1 U1 has been plagued with bugs, unreliablilty and dam horrible administration.

    I know the business I work for and a few others that are seriously considering moving away from vmware all togethor.

    Contract ends December 2013 so if vSphere isn’t out by then and is magical we will move to RHEV or heaven forbid look at Hyper-V

      • Don’t know what materials you studied from, but the 5.1 web client is quite robust but, a little slower on-screen when compared to the vClient. Only the earlier versions before 5.1 are light-weight. A few new 5.1 features are only configurable from the web client but, both old and new can be used for most day to day admin tasks. There are still plugins for the vClient for some current 5.1 addons like Update Mgr. We are stuck with both for some time yet. No big deal. The web client just takes some mileage and time to get used to it.

      • Thanks for the comment. My post was based around the 5.0 web client. I agree the 5.1 web client is improved and now has some plugins. Still – I’m not convinced yet that I prefer a web client to a fat client for management purposes of a virtual environment.

  3. Sorry for the double post, I kept getting interrupted and my original one makes me sound like a crazy person…

    I heard this not too long ago as well and to put it mildly…this is FUCKING HORRIFYING.

    VMware’s competitors are gaining ground and IMHO the vcenter client and it’s STABILITY are ultimately what makes the cost of vmware’s core enterprise solution totally worth it. I’ve designed close to 100 clusters with the largest having nearly 500 hosts and thousands of vm’s all of which is replicated via SRM. Doing a VUM activity on a cluster of that size, through the web client, please. I don’t even think the web client supports VUM or like others have said, can’t support any third party integrations. I use IBM servers whenever possible simply because of the IBM Systems Director which makes automating firmware updates cake. Which as im sure many of you know, on Dell servers is more painful then crushing all ur fingers and toes with a sledge hammer, one by one. However Dell released a vCenter Server Manager vApp about a year ago and at it’s latest version, is pretty damn good, now it doesn’t begin to approach ISD but compared to the alternatives offered by Dell, it’s great. I just used it to upgrade the firmware on a pretty decent sized production cluster. There are countless other examples where companies have gone ahead and trusted vmware by sinking mucho money into vcenter integration offerings. And vmware plans to thank them with a hot fireplace poker seat? really? It certainly appears that whatever incurable mental illness torturing AMD’s executives and board of directors is contagious and has spread to VMware.

    If VMware is really gonna do this, it could be one of the most historic things in the history of Enterprise IT…future generations will probably have entire schools of business dedicated to studying and analyzing “How the most visionary IT corporation of the 21st century impaled itself on the cock of stupidity, bleed out and vanished from the IT landscape in a few short days because of one decision”

    To pull this off, they need to CCCCCRRRRRRUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHH a home run, publicize the shit out of it and provide, free of cost “1,000,000 times your entire vmware investment insurance policies” should ANYTHING go wrong or even appear to go wrong.

    If I were VMware, I would sprint in the exact opposite direction. I would make an even fatter client. How an organization not only in but LEADING the Enterprise IT market could ever bet it’s very existence on something as unstable as a browser is downright evil. That would be like entrusting the currency of this great nation to a privately held, for profit corporation of crackheads…no wait, that already happened…it would be like betting the future of maned space flight to the staff of the Salvation Army AND/OR Goodwill interchangeably or in tandem at the micro-task level and on a second by second basis …nothing against those two organizations but it’s probably not the safest bet for success.


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