Managing ESXi hosts is possible through the VMware vSphere client, the vCenter Server, and now, you can do it through the vSphere Web client. The cross-platform capabilities of the vSphere Web client allow remote access to guest virtual machines by connecting to the vSphere client and the vCenter Server.
As such, you can install the vSphere Web client and manage VMware ESXi hosts directly through the software’s web interface. The VMware vSphere hypervisor license provides several options for managing your virtual infrastructure. The web client is essentially another way to do it.
This guide will cover the steps to install the vSphere Web client and the necessary prerequisites. Let’s begin.
Prerequisites to Install the VMware vSphere Client
The prerequisite to using the vSphere Web client is configuring the vCenter Single Sing On (SSO). Here is how to do that:
- To configure the Single Sign On, you must first create two virtual machines and a DNS entry for both. Both VMs must run the Windows operating system, and one of the VMs must have vCenter SSO;
- You must create a primary node for the SSO installation on this VM. Next, install vCenter SSO on the other machine that will act as a backup node. Set the deployment type as “Join an existing vCenter SSO);
- Lastly, modify the SSO session configuration for both VMS;
- Restart the SSO service.
With the prerequisites out of the way, let’s look at how to install the vSphere Web client.
Steps to Install vSphere Web Client
The steps we will show you will allow you to install the vSphere Web client to access guest VM consoles through a web interface. Unlike the normal client, you don’t need to download the vSphere Client. Instead, you can use the vCenter Server installation to install the web client. Here is how to do that:
- Locate the vCenter Server installation and run the autorun.exe;
- Under the “Custom Install” section on the left pane, select “vSphere Web Client.” You will notice the necessary prerequisites on the screen. Click “Install;”
- The installation wizard will begin. Select your language and follow through with the installation wizard;
- Select an installation folder, configure ports, and add the vCenter Single Sign On information. On this screen, add the SSO administrator user name, password, and lookup service URL;
- Review the SSL fingerprint, review the certificate, and click “Install.”
Following these steps, you can now manage any VMware virtual machine and host client from the ESXi web interface. It’s important to mention that the vSphere web client runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux OS. Before, it was only available on Windows systems. Regarding web browser versions, the vSphere Web client supports Microsoft Edge (79 or later), Mozilla Firefox (60 or later), and Google Chrome (75 or later).
Additionally, you get access to identical features to access any embedded host client and ESXi host. Lastly, a stand-out benefit of using the web client is the hassle-free maintenance of any ESXi-embedded host client.
Using the vSphere Web Client to Manage ESXi Hosts
What makes the web client stand out is the simplistic user interface. Upon reviewing the web client, you find that it uses an identical dashboard layout and presents information in a unified way.
- Navigating inventory using the web client
Use the “Global Inventory Lists” to navigate VM objects in the web client. One distinct difference between the web client and vCenter Server is the alternative list system instead of the hierarchical tree.
- Managing plug-ins
Plug-ins are a big part of using the web client. You can use several types of plug-ins through Client Plug-In Management. On this screen, you can manage, download, deploy, and upgrade plug-ins to access the VMware remote console and management effectively.
- Exporting Lists to CSV
Same as in vCenter Server and vSphere Client, you can export selective lists in CSV files. To do that, you will need to go to the “Global Inventory Lists” and select objects or resources to export. Conveniently, you can export entire rows or only selected rows.
What Can You Do In the vSphere Web Client?
Lastly, let’s round up the capabilities of the web client. As mentioned earlier, the web client provides an additional method to manage any VMware host client and your entire virtual infrastructure.
- Access VMware hosts;
- Allows administrators to create new virtual machines;
- Manage resources on existing virtual machines;
- View reliable memory;
- Display datastore information;
- View triggered alarms and alarm definitions;
- Monitor hardware health status;
The vSphere Web Client provides an alternative management method for your virtual infrastructure. Fortunately, this doesn’t come at any management cost, as you can manage all administrative functions through the web client.
The benefit of the web client is flexibility and remote access to your virtual infrastructure. In addition, you can run it on most operating systems and browser versions. In addition, it gives you access to plug-ins for added functionality.