RIP vSphere Client

On Monday I got invited along with other vExperts to an announcement from VMware. They cut straight to the chase and announced that the C# fat vSphere client would not be available with the next release of vSphere. This has been expected for some time since with more and more features having been available only in the web client.

 

The web client first appeared in vSphere 5 and was met with grumbles from the start. One of the primary complaints was the speed of operation which was significantly less than the C# client, this has been improved in each iteration but there is still some way to go. The second main challenge has been convincing people that the interface its self is better. The vSphere client was somewhat of a classic piece of work offering quick administration and a cleanly laid out structure, improving on this was always going to be a challenge.

 

I have become increasingly interested in the attempts of companies to improve their GUIs over the past few years, since they generally tend to get it wrong! The saga of the Windows start menu is a classic example of when they perfected the design around Windows 7 and then proceeded to destroy it in Windows 8, making it semi useable again in Windows 10. This is by no means an isolated case, developing a new GUI that appeals to a wide range of people especially when the old one was good is a big challenge.

 

VMware however seem to be listening, the announcement hosted by Mike Adams from the vSphere product marketing division. Mike stated that VMware recognised the challenges that had been faced with the web client and they were focused on delivering a product that performed in terms of speed and structure. The fact customers don’t like menus to be moved about was also recognised and was described as  “who moved my cheese”.

 

The new web GUI will be HTML5 based, in contrast to the current web client which is Flash based. No details were given around the look of the new web client but perhaps the vSphere HTML 5 Web Client fling released at the end of March offers a clue. If you have not seen a fling before it is a software offering from VMware that you are able to download and test but is not officially supported. The HTML5 fling has been widely well received, but currently is limited to offering the following functionality.

 

  • VM Power Operations (common cases)
  • VM Edit Settings (simple CPU, Memory, Disk changes)
  • VM Console
  • VM and Host Summary pages
  • VM Migration (only to a Host)
  • Clone to Template/VM
  • Create VM on a Host (limited)
  • Additional monitoring views (Performance charts, Tasks, Events)
  • Global Views (Recent tasks, Alarms–view only)
  • VM Power Operations (common cases)
  • VM Edit Settings (simple CPU, Memory, Disk changes)
  • VM Console
  • VM and Host Summary pages
  • VM Migration (only to a Host)
  • Clone to Template/VM
  • Create VM on a Host (limited)
  • Additional monitoring views (Performance charts, Tasks, Events)
  • Global Views (Recent tasks, Alarms–view only)

html5 web client

 

The new HTML 5 client that replaces the vSphere client will be available with the next release of vSphere, no date has been set for this yet.

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