Data Centers

Newbie tips for using vSphere Web Client

VMware introduced the vSphere Web Client as an administrative interface for vSphere with version 5.1. Here are some tips for those who are still learning how to use the new interface.
A few weeks ago, I sent out a Tweet that may end up being more work than I had planned! I simply said that I plan on using the vSphere Web Client for future blog posts that I do. The goal was to be more modern in the content I present around vSphere virtualization. I quickly got a number of replies from fellow bloggers, both encouraging me to do it and also warning me about some current limitations of the vSphere Web Client. Figure A below shows the Tweet and some of the feedback that followed soon after:

Figure A

That’s fair and par for the course. The vSphere Web Client was introduced with vSphere 5.1 and is going to be more mature and likely be the full management interface eventually. Since I’ve been using the vSphere Web Client, I can confirm that it has been a learning curve! I’ve compiled a few of the tips that I’ve learned to help you find what you need in the various menus and displays.

Actions menu

The first tip is to find the Actions menu in almost every object (host, cluster, VM, etc.). The Actions menu is where you and I will instinctively want to right-click. In most web technologies, the right-click is a no-no. Figure B below shows a host with the Actions menu selected:

Figure B

Additionally, at the bottom of the Actions menu is an “All vCenter Actions” menu. This additional menu can even take you to tasks that may not be intuitively accessed from the Summary screen but can be very handy. Figure C shows the additional actions expanded:

Figure C

Manage storage adapters and targets

I had a bit of fun learning to use the vSphere Web Client in more critical aspects of administration, such as adding iSCSI storage adapters and targets. Honestly, this was a bit of a learning curve. Sticking to the host realm of the vSphere Web Client, the Manage tab will take us to the action areas. The context of the table of adapters and context-sensitive adapter details does take a bit of getting used to. Figure D below shows the action areas associated with adding or removing storage for a host.

Figure D

Note that buttons selected at the top in purple; these are handy and are used to rescan for volumes as well as refresh storage devices.

Recent Tasks

The last piece of the learning curve that I am still getting used to is the Recent Tasks display. In the default view of the Windows version of the vSphere Client, this is a nice scrolling log view of what’s going on with the vCenter environment. For the vSphere Web Client, this is on the far right and has multiple tabs that show all events -- what is running and what has failed. Figure E shows the vSphere Web Client with some events in process:

Figure E

These are some of the first learning adjustments I’ve had with the vSphere Web Client, but I am sure there will be more to come! Have you started using it? Have you been fine in this new interface? Share your comments below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

2 comments
headman78
headman78

Press CTRL when Action menu is open to schedule tasks (Clock icon appears after task name)

djo165
djo165

I used the vSphere Web Client for the first time last week, and I am not impressed. I know many vendors have moved to web based interfaces over the years, but I just do not see the attraction of them. Compared to interfaces that run natively on Windows, they are almost always inferior in speed, adaptability, and overall performance. It annoyed me when HP did away with LaserJet Admin in the late 1990's and replaced it with Web Jetadmin, and if VMware does the same with vSphere, it will annoy me even more. Maybe even enough to recommend MS Hyper V to my customers instead of vSphere!

Editor's Picks