Faster HTML5 future for VMware vSphere Web Client? ESXi Embedded Host Client Fling flies! (30 second install instructions)

Posted by Paul Braren on Aug 26 2015 (updated on Jul 29 2016) in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HomeLab
  • Instructions updated for Aug 04, 2016 v1.7.1 ESXi Embedded Host Client release.

    Lately, when logging in to your ESXi Embedded Host Client HTML5 web UI, you may be prompted for an automatic update. Great, super easy too. But I'm finding that it doesn't always pop that out-of-date warning up on screen, depending upon how back-level you are I suppose.

    So if you don't get prompted to upgrade and want the very latest version right now, these instructions are for you!

    1) find out what the latest version of the fling is, by visiting....

    VMware Labs Fling (no need to download the VIB, just verify what the latest release is):

    2a) if you'd rather go all command line (ssh)...

    Install, easy as 1-2-3

    (If you're more of a GUI person, skip ahead to section 2b below.)

    1. SSH/PuTTY to your ESXi 6.x host (or 5.5u3)
      (if you forgot to enable SSH, here's how)
    2. copy and paste:
      esxcli software vib install -v
    3. if you get a successful upgrade (pictured below), just point your browser to https://youresxihost/ui to log right in, cuz you're done, no reboot required!
    This is my PuTTY session, right after a successful installation completed in about 15 seconds, no reboot required. In this case, there was an existing version already installed, it automatically took care of uninstalling the old version.

    2b) alternatively, if you're more of a GUI person...

    Install, easy as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8

    [1] Put the following text into your clipboard:
    [2] login to the ESXi Host Client, choose "Help" "About"
    [3] take note of the version, if it's back-level, proceed
    [4] click "Help" "Update"
    [5] paste the text in from your clipboard from step 1, then click the "Update" button
    [6] click "Continue"
    [7] you should see "Completed successfully" in your "Recent Tasks" area
    [8] if you choose "Help" "About" again, you should see this happy message

    3) consider tweaking some settings, enhancing home-lab usability...

    click on the down-arrow next to your esxi host name, select "Auto-refresh" "15 seconds"
    click on the down-arrow next to your esxi host name, select "Settings>" "Application timeout>" "Off"
    when prompted "Disabling session time out could leave your ESXi host vulnerable to malicious activity. Are you sure you want to disable session time out?" click Yes, at your own risk!

    Here's the article as it originally appeared:

    It's about time we get a glimpse of what the future vSphere Web Client might be like, and that future is pretty, fast, and pretty darn fast. About the same speed as the vSphere Client we've been using on Windows for over a decade, but in a browser. Any browser.

    Thank you VMware Engineers!

    Many many folks contributed to this fling: George Estebe, Etienne LeSueur and Kevin MacDonell our development team for bringing the Client to life, Jehad Affoneh for the proof of concept that inspired what you see today, William Lam and Kevin Christopher for their ongoing (and vocal!) guidance each step of the way, and our ESXi leadership team for allocating the time and resources to make this all happen.

    Going forward, we plan to add more features to the fling including additional VM and host resource management actions, datastore operations, performance charts and metrics. Based on your feedback/community support and resource prioritization, we hope to incorporate the Client into a future ESXi release as a formalized offering.

    My HTML5 audio "Yes!"

    VMware vSphere Web Client relies on Adobe Flash, and extensions. Flash is going away, and so are some types of extensions. For example, the outlook for the NPAPI plugin model for Chrome is pretty glum:

    NPAPI is being phased out. Consider using alternatives.

    NPAPI is a really big hammer that should only be used when no other approach will work.

    It's not like VMware couldn't see this NPAPI phase out coming.

    I don't pretend to know what VMware's product plans are, but it sure as heck seems hard to imagine what other browser-based technology they'd be headed toward at this point. Also hard to ignore the positive reviews about this ESXi Embedded Host Client Fling v2.

    Most any IT Pro will also let you know they're not exactly fond of Oracle Java either. My brief time with this new UI gives me new hope that the promise of HTML5 is starting to arrive. Imagine if this UI were what you saw in your browser when you login to your VCSA (vCenter). That's the future I'm hoping for. Something that even a lowly sub 500 dollar Surface 3 could handle, and Linux, and mobile. Efficient and effective, and way less brutal on battery life.

    Perhaps someday fairly soon, Adobe Flash, then Oracle Java, will be become distant memories for IT Pros and everybody else we support. Ah, now wouldn't that be nice.

    Have a peek at the future, demonstrated below. After you give it a try in your home lab, be sure to take a moment to leave your feedback at the Fling's Feedback tab, and in the vSphere Host Client Community.

    Very easy install, followed by very favorable first impressions.
    Prettier and more responsive. Windows 8.1 running Chrome. Click the image twice to have a really good look.
    Yep, that's Windows 10 running Microsoft Edge Browser, works fine. Yeah, that just happened.
    You need 2560x1440 pixels as a gateway to 4K, don't you? Click the image twice to zoom to full resolution, then slide it around. You can see that I simply clicked on "Open Browser Console" and it works.

    Sep 24 2015 Update

    A new version of the ESXi Embedded Host Client expected this week!

    Author: Etienne Le Sueur
    Hi Erik,

    Thanks for the feedback. Support for answering VM questions will be in the next release, which should come out some time this week.

    Oct 24 2015 Update

    On October 22nd, version 3.0 became available!

    Dec 23 2015 Update

    On December 20th, version 4.0 became available!

    Changelog for install URL, changed from:
    That was easy, article above updated accordingly.

    Feb 17 2016 Update

    On February 7th, 2016, version 5.0 became available!

    Changelog for install URL, changed from:
    That was easy, article above updated accordingly.

    Mar 10 2016 Update

    On March 4, 2016, version 6.0 became available!
    Changelog for install URL, changed from:

    Also, removed the '--no-sig-check' parameter, since this new version is signed. That was easy, article above updated accordingly.

    Mar 29 2016 Update

    This is kind of a big deal, the embedded host client is baked right into ESXi 6.0U2! That's right, it's no longer a separate download. This is a signficant step forward toward liberating us from the Adobe Flash reliance that has no place in the enterprise.

    Here's the extra nice thing about this news, it's also super quick and easy to upgrade from ESXi 6.x to 6.0U2, see:

    Jul 15 2016 Update

    June 06 2016 v1.5.0 is out! Details at Flings by VMware.

    Changelog for install URL, changed from:
    esxcli software vib install -v

    That was easy, article above updated accordingly.

    See also at TinkerTry


    See also