If you’ve never heard of VMware Flings then you’re in for a treat, these community-driven tools and appliances can quickly become part of your essential toolkit for every day maintenance, troubleshooting and provisioning. It’s worth spending some time having a look at all there is to offer on the Flings site but to get you started, this is the first in a five-part series showcasing what are my personal top five flings out there. Coming from an administrative background into architecture, these tools will make you wonder how you ever survived without them.
Up first, it’s vCenter for your pocket…..
vCMA (aka VMware vSphere Mobile Watchlist)
Okay so technically this is a bit of a cheat as this vCMA no longer exists as a fling, instead it is now a fully-fledged bonafide VMware tool released for Android and iPhone as the VMware vSphere Mobile Watchlist. However as it was conceived, raised and brought into this world as a fling it still makes the cut for this list, and the fact that it has now been fully adopted by VMware is testament to its downright usefulness.
Instead of being pitched as a ‘Mobile vSphere Client’, Watchlist is essentially sold (I say sold, it is of course Free on both platforms) as exactly that, a watchlist. Load up the app and sign in to the vCenter of your choosing (or host?) and you’re presented with your Virtual Infrastructure as you’ve never seen it before… well, it’s on a mobile screen at least. So the idea is you create lists of VMs grouped however you wish depending on your setup- business units for example or in my case, Customer- giving you a neat overview of all your listed VMs on one screen.
From the main list page you can see a small snap of your VM’s console screen, a ‘powered on’ indicator and an overview of the VM’s resource usage at that time.
Tap one of your VMs and things will really start to get really quite awesome. From here you can perform various functions on your VM, it’s a cut-down list of the functions that are available through the Windows or Web vSphere Clients, but it includes all the important stuff such as power on/off, restart, take snapshot, so you can manage your VM whilst on the move.
‘That’s pretty cool, but is that it?’ I hear you ask? Well if the mobile management of your Virtual Estate isn’t enough for you then how about accessing the console of your VM? The Watchlist app lets you do just that, allowing you to not only see the console but control it, so you can log into your VM console session and go about your business, all from the comfort of your mobile. ‘That’s great and all, but the idea of working on a tiny screen doesn’t really appeal’ you say? Well to be honest it’s not the easiest of ways to interact with your VM, and the non-ability to resize/zoom out makes it a last resort control option only in my opinion- you won’t be using it to log onto your VM to write a document for example, but if you need to kick a service or check an event log or reset a user session it’ll do the job and is a very useful function to have on your phone.
All things considered the Watchlist probably isn’t necessary for everyone, but if you’re like me and often have scheduled reboots outside hours, or need to respond to alerts or requests when you might not always have a laptop to hand (even saves getting the laptop out on a packed-train commute!) it’ll prove itself invaluable, and it all started as a fling.
Next in the Fling-a-thon, VMware Tools for Nested ESXi!