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5 Free VMware Flings for your Virtualization Toolbox

ToolboxFor the last few years, VMware engineers have been turning out a number of free experimental tools that operate within the company's server virtualization platform. Dubbed Flings, these VMware Lab creations are intended to be a "short-term thing." While these interesting freebie tools are not part of any official product offering, they have been well received over the years within VMware's community of virtualization users.

There is one important caveat to these Flings -- useful though they may be -- that needs to be mentioned over and over again: 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. But then again, when has that really stopped anyone?  :) Honestly, these Flings have really helped fill in the gaps of missing functionality across numerous products put out by VMware.  In fact, VMware has already amassed a list of 107 different Flings currently made available online for download.

VMblog recently talked about one of the newest Flings, a useful addition to make backups of your VMware App Volumes possible. App Volumes users have been asking for a way to back up their AppStacks and writable volumes. VMware knows that normal virtual-machine backup tools cannot back up App Volumes AppStacks and writable volumes because the AppStacks and writable volumes are not part of the vCenter inventory unless they are connected to a user's virtual machine (VM). Enter the App Volumes Backup Utility Fling.

But there are so many more!  Here are just 5 of the recent Flings that really stand out and should be considered worthy of being added to your virtualization toolbox.

  1. VMware vSphere HTML5 Client - The old vSphere Web Client is based on Flash, which as you know, is no longer the technology of choice. 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"). By removing the dependency on Flash, VMware hopes to improve performance, stability, and security. 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.
  2. VMware OS Optimization Tool - If you are running VMware Horizon View, this will be a very popular addition to your toolbox. The VMware OS Optimization Tool helps optimize Windows 7/8/2008/2012/10 systems for use with VMware Horizon View. The optimization tool includes customizable templates to enable or disable Windows system services and features, per VMware recommendations and best practices, across multiple systems. Since most Windows system services are enabled by default, the optimization tool can be used to easily disable unnecessary services and features to improve performance.
  3. Horizon View Configuration Tool - Here's another handy addition to VMware Horizon View.  The Horizon View Configuration Tool automates Horizon View 6.2 installations and deployments. It removes the complexities and manual steps required for setting up a basic Horizon View deployment. So if you need little assistance with the setup, grab this Fling.
  4. Horizon Toolbox 2 - Once more, let's circle back and add some assistance to your Horizon View environment. This time, the Toolbox 2 Fling adds a Web portal that acts as an extension to View Administrator in VMware Horizon 6 or above. The tool assists with monitoring, managing and administration of Horizon and is a must add to fully engage with a Horizon environment.
  5. VSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker - In an effort to make life easier, this VSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker Fling helps verify the installed storage adapters against the VSAN supported storage controller list. The tool will verify if the model and firmware version of the storage adapter are supported. For firmware version validation, the VSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker supports LSI and HP, and their OEM variants storage adapters.

In the end, Flings remain a community fan favorite. They remain extremely useful and, perhaps best of all, they remain free without any nagging registration to go along with it. And judging by its latest track record, it certainly looks like VMware will keep them around for the foreseeable future.

So if you're a VMware vSphere or View admin, remember to check out the full list of Flings if you're searching for a freebie tools that helps make your life easier or performs a missing function that VMware hasn't yet implemented themselves within the product.

Published Thursday, May 05, 2016 7:03 AM by David Marshall
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