I mentioned in my first how-to blog post that if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that VMWare’s Flash-based vSphere Web Client sucks. It’s clunky, slow, and I’ve never talked to an administrator that honestly prefers the web client over the standard C# client. If you’re like me, you use the standard client for everything except for the times when you absolutely need to use specific features that are only in the web client.
Well, an awesome new fling just recently came out that I’m sure will make a lot of you happy. The vSphere HTML5 Web Client has just been released and let me tell you that it is awesome. If you’re familiar with the ESXi Embedded Host Client (which is now built into the latest ESXi release) you know that it’s quick, seamless, and makes you wish the vSphere Web Client was the same. Although the HTML5 web client can’t be used as a full replacement for the web client (yet), it still comes with a nice set of initial features that’ll definitely give you a taste of what’s coming soon.
The vSphere HTML5 Web Client is downloaded as a convenient OVA appliance that requires a minimal amount of configuring to get going in your environment. Here are the steps I used to get this going in my homelab (this is also assuming you’re using the vCenter Server Appliance):
Deploying the vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling
1. Go to the Fling’s page here and download the OVA appliance. https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vsphere-html5-web-client
2. Open up your standard vSphere client and connect to your vCenter. Now go to File, and Deploy OVF Template. Once there, click Browse and navigate to the OVA file you just downloaded. Click Next.
3. You should see the similar screens below. Click Next, then Accept the agreement, then Next again.
4. I kept the default VM name the same, but you can name it whatever you like. Choose your correct inventory destination. Click Next.
5. Choose the correct storage location, click Next, choose the correct storage format, then click Next.
6. Choose the correct network the VM will be using, then Next, then the type (Fixed, Transient, or DHCP), then next. Please note, I originally chose Fixed and tried to assign it a static IP but the VM was not turning on with that setting. After redeploying and choosing DHCP, it turned on ok. I’m not sure if your results would be the same, but choose DHCP if you’re having trouble with Fixed.
7. Once you click Finish, it should only be a small amount of time till your new vSphere HTML Web Client is finished.
8. Once it’s done, power it on and open up it’s console. You should be seeing the same screen below. Take note of the IP address if you chose DHCP during deployment.
9. Next, you’re going to need to SSH into your current vCenter Server Appliance using your favorite terminal emulator (like Putty). Once you’ve done that, type in the following to ensure that bash is the default shell:
shell.set --enable True shell /usr/bin/chsh –s “/bin/bash” root
Once you’ve typed all of that in, your screen should look like mine below.
10. Next, SSH into your new vSphere Web Client. Username is root and password is demova (it’s always a good idea to change the default password). Once you’re in, type the following to register the appliance against your vCenter (and type Yes if prompted).
“/etc/init.d/vsphere-client configure --start yes --user root --vc <IP_Address_Of_vCenter>”
Once done, your screen should look like mine below.
(Optional) If you’d like to chance the default shell back on your vCenter Appliance, SSH back into it and type the following:
/usr/bin/chsh -s /bin/appliancesh root
11. After that, you should be done! All that’s left is to log into it. To do that, go to https://IP_ADDRESS_OF_HTML5_APPLIANCE:9443/ui and log in using your usual vCenter credentials. You should see a similar screen below.
This great Fling is still in it’s infancy so the features right now are limited, but playing around with the HTML5 client will definitely make you happy and then piss you off even more when you have to use the Flash-based web client. Here’s hoping that this Fling adds every feature needed to be as fully functional as the standard web client and maybe VMWare will implement this officially (like it did with the ESXi Embedded Host Client).