back to article VMware to finally deliver full-function HTML5 vSphere client

VMware has finally set a date for delivery of a fully-functional HTML5 client for vSphere. Virtzilla revealed the client way back in March 2016. The company needed a new client for two reasons, the first of which was that its old web-based client used Flash. Adobe’s spawn is a byword for dodgy security so VMware owed its …

Richard 12
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Steve - *applause*

The web client is unusable by definition as Flash is long banned in all sane workplaces.

And vSphere is both dodgy as heck and very incomplete.

In-place updates are also very difficult. It is so much harder to patch ESXI than it should be.

Seriously considering Xen tbh, but migrating is a pain that I don't have time for.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Steve - *applause*

"Seriously considering Xen tbh"

Keep up at the back, cloud is the platform these days (as in Azure or AWS, Baidu/Alibaba if you're in China)! If you're messing about with Hypervisors still you're in real danger of being left behind skills-wise, it's just not a necessary task in 2018.

benloveday

Re: Steve - *applause*

Sure, if you are a business that can be cloud-first. However this does not apply to all businesses. Also I think you'll find a bright future in hybrid, particularly for businesses that need more control over their apps and data.

kryptylomese

Re: Steve - *applause*

Except that not all systems can be connected to the cloud...

Proxmox rocks BTW!

Allonymous Coward
Linux

Re: Steve - *applause*

Upvote for namechecking Proxmox. We use large helpings of it where we can't use The Cloud and it's great.

phuzz
Silver badge

Re: Steve - *applause*

"If you're messing about with Hypervisors still you're in real danger of being left behind"

I disagree, most cloud offerings are basically VMs underneath, so learning the basics by 'messing around' with virtualisation is a great way of expanding your skills. You'll start to get an idea of what machines can be virtualised, and how much resources they're likely to need, and what the problems and pitfalls can be. All of those things are useful for cloud stuff.

cjcox

Re: Steve - *applause*

That's just wrong. Cloud is expensive. It's point it to eliminate IT staffing (the savings). Generally speaking you will do better cost wise with a 5 year life cycle on your own stack... but, that assumes you're not firing your IT staff.

Hypervisors should be in one's arsenal just as much as "the cloud".

Lusty
Silver badge

Re: Steve - *applause*

"It's point it to eliminate IT staffing (the savings)"

Not really. Cloud is about the same cost as on-premises. The main cost savings come from those staff not overprovisioning at every level as an arse covering exercise. This alone can reduce costs by orders of magnitude.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Steve - *applause*

So many box huggers still reading El Reg. Reading the news must be like a sci fi novel to you people!

Nick Ryan
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Flash... ah!

Now if they wouldn't mind taking the moron who made the decision to implement their last stab at the web client using Flash outside and summarily execute them for gross stupidity (followed by a fair trial).

I haven't yet summoned up the self-hate to try the new vsphere client.... They claim "HTML5", does this mean that they've followed the usual route of idiocy and tried to hack a desktop application into a single web page using JavaScript or have they actually built a web interface that isn't crippled by a dumb desktop developer's idea that everything should be rammed into one tab, and to hell with standards, usability, accessibility, reliability and maintainability?

Alister
Silver badge

Re: Flash... ah!

or have they actually built a web interface that isn't crippled by a dumb desktop developer's idea that everything should be rammed into one tab, and to hell with standards, usability, accessibility, reliability and maintainability?

Umm... is this a rhetorical question?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Flash... ah!

I use the html5 client for 6.5, it has everything I need, it's like the flash one that is there if I want it. I use it from Ubuntu so feels very clean. Can html5 directly into each individual host too. Update manager is integrated in vcentre server, very easy to use.

DougMac

Re: Flash... ah!

> Now if they wouldn't mind taking the moron who made the decision to implement their last stab at the web client using Flash outside and summarily execute them for gross stupidity (followed by a fair trial).

At the time, Flash was very embedded and a safe choice with the only other choice being Java in the browser.

Java applets disappeared so much quicker than Flash has, so it was a better choice in hindsight.

The main choice was if they did a web based solution (to get more than just WIndows management) or stick with heavy clients needing to be installed. Flash or Java were the only technologies that could have done what they needed to at the time.

Nick Ryan
Silver badge

Re: Flash... ah!

At the time, Flash was very embedded and a safe choice with the only other choice being Java in the browser.

Java in the browser is, and always was a stupid move. Almost exactly the same stupid move as trying to hack together a desktop modal application in a browser using Flash or JavaScript. Flash has never been an embedded or safe choice - commonly found on insecure systems, yes, but never safe.

Java applets disappeared so much quicker than Flash has, so it was a better choice in hindsight.

A choice of stupid A or stupid B still results in a stupid choice.

The main choice was if they did a web based solution (to get more than just WIndows management) or stick with heavy clients needing to be installed. Flash or Java were the only technologies that could have done what they needed to at the time.

The sensible choice would have been a web application. Not an attempt by desktop developers to pretend that trying to replicate a desktop application in a browser is a remotely good idea and in doing so foolishly duplicating everything the browser already had available using custom code - which always fails somewhere. This choice has been available for years: it's nothing new, nothing scary and nothing bad - however it is different to the blinkered mindset of a desktop developer.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Flash... ah!

Or they could have just made a less crap version of the standalone tools, and dispensed with the nine dimensional compatibility matrix from hell of every OS/browser/platform/plugin combo that no-one will ever actually test. (Ever tried the Flash client via Puffin on an iPad? You were probably the first, poor unlucky sod, but you got what you deserved right?)

In the end, the team people who made a crap installable application weren't able to fix it, so management hired a team of web developers to write a new GUI. The team did what web developers tend to do, try to re-write the desktop app as inside a browser, using Flash. That team copied the first teams mistakes, and then added their own. People pointed out that their new Flash GUI was obsolete by the day it was releases. Each release fiddled with a few things but never really addressed the big issues(like the update manager being absent entirely).

In the end, the team people who made a crap Flash application weren't able to fix it, so management hired a team of HTML5 developers to write a new "New GUI". Keep in mind at this point they are still dependent on the installed client for the update manager and other core functionality. They are also maintaining 3 development, test and supprt teams, one for each GUI. So management cuts development of the one working client, the clunky but feature complete installed client. The HTML 5 client is declared by management, but the Update Manager team announces that it's finally done Porting the Update Manage to Flash. Update after update of Vmware is released with only incremental improvements in the GUI problems.

Sounds like the one constant here is the under performance of some project managers, who in a Nokia like fit, squandered a five year engineering lead, and are now promising that, yet again, it will be fixed sometime closer to the end of the year, so when a delay is announced it will be lost on all of the holiday party invitations.

LDS
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I wonder how long the HTML5 client...

... will be supported by browsers, and when features will stop working because browser will deprecated and remove this and that. I lost the count of the management web application I can't use in a recent browser, and have to keep some old version available to use them.

chivo243
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Re: I wonder how long the HTML5 client...

@LDS

Ah Yes, I have an old version of Netscape Navigator for a web interface of some appliance that will not work properly in modern updated browsers...

A Non e-mouse
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Flame

two-and-a-half years is rather a long time to wait for a much-needed new client. Especially for a company that relies on the goodwill of sysadmins

B******s. VMware were as lazy as f**k. vSphere & vCentre cost an arm and a leg. They should have been able to easily afford the engineering resources to do this properly from day one.

chivo243
Silver badge
Thumb Up

@A Non e-mouse

"B******s. VMware were as lazy as f**k. vSphere & vCentre cost an arm and a leg. They should have been able to easily afford the engineering resources to do this properly from day one."

That's a bit polite isn't it? Totally true, but too polite...

Rinse

They are too busy overpaying fat bags of biowaste in Ballincollig instead of giving them actual work to do

ITBloke

C# vSphere client was - how shall we put this? – bad. Just bad

C# version bad? It works, refreshes properly and is stable. Not sure the consensus is that it is bad, or is it just me that preferred it?

A Non e-mouse
Silver badge

Re: C# vSphere client was - how shall we put this? – bad. Just bad

Its major failing was that it only ran on Windows. Otherwise, it was a heck of a lot better than the Flash abomination. You know your latest product is bad when your own tech support staff refuse to use it.

chivo243
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Meh

Re: C# vSphere client was - how shall we put this? – bad. Just bad

@ITBloke

It works, it's not so pretty, and it's not available in the newest versions of Vstuff. I'm already testing v6.7.

LDS
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Re: C# vSphere client was - how shall we put this? – bad. Just bad

It's not fast, but it does work decently, even without a vSphere server if you have to manage a single simple ESXi. But being C# it's mostly Windows only.

I don't understand why they didn't make it in Java (which they use elsewhere) - I hate Java, but if you need a cross-platform desktop application is one of the very few choices. and probably the easiest one. C++ and cross platform widget library are a more complex solution.

Nate Amsden
Silver badge

Re: C# vSphere client was - how shall we put this? – bad. Just bad

As a linux user I remember my early days with esx 3.5 (before that I used GSX). I hated the .net client. But I grew to like it over time. Obviously much better than the flash version. I access it over xenapp from a windows VM(on top of linux). The linux xenapp client has trouble accessing remote console on my system at least(keyboard gets trapped in console). Xenapp allows me to run just the app remotely from the datacenter(3-7,000mi away) with very low latency to vcenter itself (yes still 5.5). I see a huge perf difference from running the client locally. I have even used the .Net client via xenapp over vpn on android on my note 3 on several occasions . Works best with the stylus to have greater precision on the cursor.

I have never used the flash client for more than a few minutes and have never seen the html client aside from a screen shot here and there.

Most of my co workers use mac and use xenapp on mac to get to it.

My only complaint though minor is when I got my new laptop 2 years ago with 4k screen. Vsphere was pne of two apps (other was remote desktop ) that were unusable at 4k on win7 anyway. (No not using win10). So just went back to 1080 resolution and that works fine. 4k was just smaller i had to increase the size on everything to get it usable. I see little difference to 1080 otherwise at least on my thinpkad p50.

It's not the only thing that windows vm does. I do a bunch of work related things in it including vpn(and outlook and rdp). I ssh to my servers from linux first by bouncing through the windows vm ssh server(cygwin). The linux SSL vpn clients just don't work well enough for me.

stiine
Happy

Re: C# vSphere client was - how shall we put this? – bad. Just bad

Except for the xen parts, you just described, nearly to a T, me and how I work.

MrKrotos

"VMware’s C# vSphere client was - how shall we put this? – bad. Just bad."

Why? I think its great and makes the current web GUI look rubbsih.

adam payne
Silver badge

That will change in (northern) autumn 2018 according to a new post by June Yang, product management veep of Virtzilla’s Cloud Platform Business Unit.

Sysadmins around the world are rejoicing now.

Sam Liddicott

I hope they show network interfaces in a consistent order instead of randomly.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Meanwhile everyone has migrated to Hyper-V

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Not necessarily lazy or stupid

As absurd as it looks in retrospect, there was a lot of serious debate around the decision to go Flash back when it was made in 2010/2011 and the answer was not obvious. The Web was just a whole lot less capable back then. But the major sticking point was a web client would have only been able to deal with vCenter and not individual lonely ESX boxes. A middle tier would have been essential in those days and they were unwilling to put one on ESXi, which had generated quite a bit of its own controversy around that time as they shoved that down everyone's throats.

I don't keep tabs on it these days but it's not clear they ever solved the problem of managing just 1 box.

A Non e-mouse
Silver badge

Re: Not necessarily lazy or stupid

They did with an embedded HTML server in ESXi.

John Loy

The HTML5 interface is very nice. The flash interface was better in 6.5 over 6.0 but it is still flash. I use the HTML5 interface for must of my work but it is missing some key features, 6.5 update 3 added a lot of them into the interface; like licensing. Though the HTML5 Host interface seems to have more features that the vCenter 6.5 HTML5 interface; like naming your vSwitches. I have not installed 6.7 because of all the products that do not support it yet, but I will in 3-4 months.

cjcox

Finally!

When pressed, they said, "It's true. We've ditched Flash and built a custom Cold Fusion app. You're welcome!"

msknight
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Lets hope they've fixed the problems

The graphs auto-sizing has been a disaster. If you happen to view too many graphs, rather than provide a scroll bar, all the graphs resize themselves so small that you can't see them... in an effort to all stay in the same window. I've been stuck on the flash version thanks to this... and that's even come with its own problem in the latest Firefox in that nothing can be typed in the input boxes until you click off the browser and then back on it again.

I really am bitting my nails over migration to HTML5, and I hope they've made it usable for people whose monitors aren't necessarily the same size as VMWares.

Korev
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J#

>The second reason was that VMware’s C# vSphere client was - how shall we put this? – bad. Just bad.

Wasn't the old version pretty much the only application ever written in J# too?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Client Shmient

Personally I detest being forced to use by browser as the management interface for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. You can never be quite sure what is leaking or what is being captured. A solid stand-alone dedicated management client will ALWAYS be my first choice. Besides, the VMware web client is not the pariah everyone hypes it up to be. Hopefully my boss will switch to Nutanix next year (argh... another stinking web clients to deal with).

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