Virtualization Technology News and Information
VMware has a Fling with a New HTML5-based Web Client

HTML5 Client Logo For the last few years, VMware engineers have been turning out a number of free "experimental tools" designed to operate within its server virtualization platform. Dubbed "Flings" these VMware Lab creations were defined by VMware as a brief casual relationship intended to be a short-term thing. And although these interesting freebie tools are not part of any official product offering, they have been well received over the years by VMware's community of virtualization users.

If you aren't already familiar with Flings, there is one important aspect that you should be aware of before going down the proverbial path of installation and usage: VMware clearly states that these tools are intended to be played with and explored, but they do not come with VMware support and therefore shouldn't be used in production environments. If you are the adventurous type, perhaps these Flings will find their way into your production environment at work. Like anything else, it may come down to a risk/reward scenario.

Here we are in 2016, and the VMware Lab engineers are at it again. This internal group of VMware developers and engineers have really outdone themselves this time. The latest Fling, called the vSphere HTML5 Web Client, is the company's attempt at finally ditching its old school Flash-based vSphere Web client in favor of a more modern HTML5 version.

Vishwa Srikaanth, a VMware product manager for vSphere Web Client, explained the decision to move from Flash to HTML5 in a blog post, stating, "The decision to go with Flash was made years ago, before HTML5 and developer tools were ready. The situation has changed, and we've been working very hard on removing the dependency on Flash to improve performance, stability, and security."

The new Web client is written using HTML5 and Javascript and is designed to work with your existing vSphere 6.0 environments (sorry to those still running 5.x, but it isn't "supported"). The client Fling is being deployed as a new VM from a downloadable OVA using command-line based installation instructions (with plans of offering a GUI installation somewhere down the road).

The Fling isn't feature complete yet, but it does have what VMware believes to be the most commonly used actions/views ready to go, including:

  • 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)

VMware HTML5 

Remember, it is important to keep in mind this is a Fling and not a production ready client being readily deployed as a replacement for the existing Flash-based version. There are a number of challenges associated with this client, clearly identified in the feedback section of the Fling as people attempt to deploy and use it. But again, that is what VMware engineers are looking for -- feedback.  

For those community members that have already been able to get it up and running, they've said it appears to be "fresh," "snappy" and "highly responsive." 

Want to try it out for yourself and provide your own feedback? VMware has made the process of doing so fairly easy by integrating a feedback tool directly inside the Web client. Using it, you can submit your comments along with annotated screenshots to help engineers. You can also provide feedback using the VMware community web site or share your thoughts about the HTML5 Web Client on social media using #h5client.

Are you ready? Click here to get started with the vSphere HTML5 Web Client.  And make sure to check out the list of known issues and notes before jumping in.
Published Tuesday, March 29, 2016 2:55 PM by David Marshall
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