I have been working onsite with a client for the last few days and during my time there I had a “it would be nice to have…” moment that I thought I would share and see if any of you agree with me.  First, let me set the stage and tell you about the project. 

I was involved with the design and deployment of a small proof of concept that would introduce virtualization to a local SMB in my area.  The idea was to build them something small that they would grow into and at the same time demonstrate all the really cool things that virtualization can bring to the table. I built a couple of hosts and deployed virtual center virtually, as well as added the VMware Management Appliance and the VMware Mobile appliance.   It is really fun to get a chance to introduce virtualization to people, it is almost as fun as bringing a child to a candy store. Showing the client what they can do with virtualization as well as what they can do on their iPad is just priceless.

There was one more objective with the infrastructure that the client really wanted to see deployed and that was the Web Client Services.  The VMware Web Client Services is part of the vSphere vCenter installation as an additional tool and install of vCenter itself.  Let me present a quick look at the requirements that are needed for the vSphere Web Client.

The vSphere Web Client requires the Microsoft .NET 3.5 SP1 Framework. If it is not installed on your system, the vSphere Client installer installs it. The .NET 3.5 SP1 installation might require Internet connectivity to download more files.

The following browsers are supported for the vSphere Web Client: Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and 8 and Mozilla Firefox 3.6

To keep the overall footprint of the deployment small, I installed the Web Services Client on the vCenter itself. Everything works great but the only hassle is having all the different ports to keep track of.  This was my moment where I thought, wouldn’t it be great if the Web Services Client could be its own appliance?

I understand the dependency for the .NET framework to make the magic work but, as vCenter has been released as it own appliance, I find myself speculating that hopefully the dependency on .NET will come to an end.  I would love to see more features pushed out to an appliance.  I have been a firm believer in the scale out philosophy and think VMware is starting to follow this idea with all the different appliances that VMware has or is releasing. I think before too long that the VMware infrastructure will be completely appliance based and look forward to when that time comes.

This of course implies that all management tools for all vendors and hypervisors should be shipped as virtual appliances allowing for ease of install, use, and understanding of how they fit into the management picture by those who have never used the tools before.

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Steve Beaver (159 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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