If you’ve used VMWare’s Flash-based vSphere Web Client, there’s one thing we can all agree on: it sucks. Sure, vSphere 6 introduced some new enhancements that made it slightly cleaner and more usable, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it’s still bad. If you’re like me, you still use the vSphere C# Client and only resort to the Web Client when you absolutely have to.
Like me, you were probably excited when a new VMWare Fling came out a few months ago called the ESXi Embedded Host Client. It’s essentially a way to manage your ESXi host using an HTML5 based web interface (and just your ESXi host, this cannot be used to manage vCenter). If you click on the link, you can read through all the great features you can do with it. It’s fast, intuitive, full of features, and most of all it’s what we wish the vSphere Web Client would be.
Here’s the quickest/easiest way to install it. You’re going to want to make sure you have SSH enabled on your host. If you already do, skip these next few steps and SSH into your ESXi host.
Enabling SSH on your ESXi host
• In the vSphere C# Client (not the Web Client no one likes, but you can do it there too), click on your ESXi host. Click on the Configuration tab, Security Profile (under the Software table), and then the Properties link next to Services. Your screen should look like the one below.
• I already have SSH running but yours should say stopped. Click SSH and then Options in the lower right. Click Start and you’re ready to go. You can also choose any of the Startup Policies. You can see below I chose to “Start and stop with host”.
• Now SSH into your host.
Onto the good stuff: installing the HTML5 Embedded Host Client on your host
Note: If you’re doing this on ESXi 5.5 U2 (or prior) or on ESXi 6 that was previously upgraded from 5.5 U2, you’ll probably get a 503 error or translations errors, so make sure you do the workaround I’ll post after the install.
• SSH into your ESXi host using your favorite terminal client (Guacamole is an awesome HTML5 based clientless remote desktop gateway and I’ll post a tutorial on installing that later).
• You need to allow HTTP requests through your ESXi firewall, so enter the following:
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
• Now install the Embedded Web Host Client Fling VIB by typing:
esxcli software vib install -v http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmw-tools/esxui/esxui_signed.vib
That’s it! It’s installed and you didn’t even have to reboot!
• For security reasons, though, let’s close the HTTP rule in the ESXi firewall:
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient
If you installed this on a fresh ESXi 6 install, then you’re done! Your screen should look like mine below:
You can now go to the client by opening any browser and going to https://Host-IP-or-FQDN/ui. After logging in with your host’s credentials, your screen should look similar to mine below:
If you’re getting an error, on ESXi 5.5 U2, or on an ESXi 6 host upgraded from 5.5 U2 or prior, you’re going to want to edit the endpoints.conf file and restart the rhttpproxy.
• You can either use the vi text editor after connecting to your host via SSH and editing the file in /etc/vmware/rhttpproxy/endpoints.conf (command is vi /etc/vmware/rhttpproxy/endpoints.conf) or use an FTP client (like FileZilla) and establish a connection with your host using port 22 (same port SSH uses).
• Once the endpoints.conf file is open in either vi or in any text editor (if you used an FTP client), remove the entire line that starts with /ui, then overwrite the file.
• Now restart rhttpproxy by typing the following:
You should now be able to get to https://Host-IP-or-FQDN/ui.
You can now enjoy your new HTML5 Embedded Host Client. You can also cry even more using the standard Flash-based vSphere Web Client after seeing how awesome it could be if it was HTML5 based like the bad boy you just installed.