Discovering vSphere web client 5.1

When the web client was first announced last year, I was really excited with what it had to offer. I was personally even more excited because I really thought, I would finally have no need to run a windows VM on my mbp.

Then I had a rude awakening which triggered me to write this post. Basically, even though you could access the web-client via the browser on OS X, there is still an element called the “Client Integration Plug-in” that cannot be installed on OS X. :(. This and a few more things just killed all my motivation to use the web-client. I figured if I was going to run a VM to access a fully functional client, I might as well run the C# client. But now things have changed a bit.

To start off, the client integration part has still not changed, it still does not fully work on OS X. I just tried it on 10.8 with no luck. So what does this really mean? Lack of inability to install this will keep at least two options away from you that I know of.

  1. Ability to launch the console of the VM
  2. Ability to transfer files to and from datastores
These are the only two that I am aware of, I am not sure if there are any other gotchas yet. But clearly these are not the end of the world. Another thing that I found disappointing was the inability to access VUM from the web-client. Seriously? Why?
So now that I am done with all the trash talking. Lets talk about why should you still get on the web-client bandwagon soon.
  1. I have been told, support for OS X is on the roadmap (that should address the client integration plugin issue)
  2. The VUM plug-in is coming soon
  3. All/most new enhancements of 5.1 are visible and accesible via the web-client ONLY
  4. 5.1 will be the last release for the traditional C# client we have used for all these years. Going forward, web-client is the only way.

So there, #4 should be enough to motivate one to move forward. But let’s keep the draconian approach out for a little bit. The web-client has had a major face lift and IMO has a much better UI. Sure, you will feel lost in the beginning but you will notice the web-client will provide you a much better user experience. The UI is well thought out and has a much better work flow.

To start off, one can now assign searchable tags to objects inside vCenter and yes one object can have more than one tag assigned to it. I am sure this will be a very helpful new feature in large environments.

How many times have you started doing something in vCenter only to realize you have to go back to a different object to get some info. But you can’t without canceling the wizard and what you are doing. In comes work in progress, this is a pretty handy way to address those situations where you can pause what you are doing and come back to it when you are ready.

Another one that I find very useful is the log browser. Basically it gives you the ability to view the logs for your vCenter and all yours hosts in one place. Isn’t that nice? Single pane of glass is what we always wanted. And yes it will let you see all the logs of your host, and you can switch between the type of logs using the drop down list as shown below.

 

These are simply some of the new features that the web-client has to offer among so many more. During the beta, I noticed the OS X compatibility issue but was hopeful for it to be fixed before GA. That didn’t happen but at least its on the road map. The VUM plugin is coming soon along with most other third party plug-ins. Keep in mind, dont be shocked if future third party plug-ins are only available for the web-client. It only makes sense for the vendors to develop for the client that will stay.

Lastly, if you want to make use of all the enhancements in 5.1, the web-client is a must. I was originally not too impressed by the original web client last year, but I must say the 5.1 is not just as good as the traditional c# client but better. Moreover as mentioned above, the traditional client is going away, now will be a good time to get to know your new friend.

The 5.1s are out in the cloud

It would be foolish for me to even think that I will be among the first ones to be bringing this info to you. But like I always say, my blog is also my space to save bookmarks and important info.

All the 5.1s that have been the talk of many vGeeks is finally out. I thought, about compiling a list of links together, but my man Duncan has already have me beat, so I will just borrow his list. He says he didn’t set an alarm but I don’t buy that. Enjoy the new products below, hopefully I will have sometime to blog about some of the new features that are being introduced. This is major update, I would suggest going through the enhancement documentation below that go over the new features. Most new releases go through a vigorous beta, but I will recommend one runs them in a lab first. The vCloud Suite 5.1 is now GA.

Download links:

What’s new docs:

Enhanced / Improved / X – vMotion in 5.1

I noticed a couple of posts around the enhanced/improved/x vMotion on 5.1 today and realized that NDA has been lifted for at least a week now. So I can openly talk about. First of all enhanced, improved or X vMotion are all the same thing that is available in 5.1. Why do many names, perhaps because an official name was never given. I believe X vMotion was its codename used internally. We will call it enhanced vMotion to keep things simple.

So what is enhanced vMotion? Ever tried to storage vMotion and vMotion a VM at the same time while it was powered on? You must have realized you could only change the host, or the datastore. enhanced vMotion combines that and allows you to do both those tasks at ones on a running VM. Moreover, it can also vMotion and storage vMotion a VM from a local datastore of a host to a local datastore of another host. Pretty cool right. Obviously this does not mean that we don’t need shared storage anymore, HA would still rely on shared storage.

To make things clear. Lets look at what vMotion has traditionally been. I am using the graphics from a presentation that was used by VMware to introduce the feature. Notice, how moving a VM from one host to another relied on shared storage as one of the requirements.

Now lets look at the graphic below. The VM in this case is running on the host on the left and is also using its local datastore. With enhanced vMotion, I can

  • move this VM to either the shared storage and switch the host
  • move to shared storage and keep the same host
  • Or even move the VM to the local datastore of the host on the right (obviously that would mean the VM would also be running on that host)
All the above three mentioned options are possible using the enhanced vMotion feature in 5.1.

So what else is left to talk about? Lets look at some of the requirements:

  • Hosts must be managed by the same vCenter
  • Hosts must be the part of the same datacenter (which is also the requirement for a regular vMotion)
  • Hosts must be on the same layer 2 network (and same switch if VDS is used)

Other operational considerations that were:

  • It’s a manual process – DRS and SDRS will not leverage the new enhanced vMotion
  • Maximum of 2 concurrent enhanced vMotion per host (these will count against the max vMotions Storage vMotion allowed)
  • Will leverage multiple nics when available

So there. That’s everything I have known about it. From what I understand, this is not being offered as a new feature but more of an enhancement of whats already in place. If you have the license to vMotion, you can count on having the enhanced vMotion capability with 5.1