As thoughts in the vMustard household turn firmly to Christmas, you might be thinking of the perfect present for that special VMware Admin in YOUR life. Something, practical yet awesome? Something funky yet useful?? Well we’ve got you covered….
So every admin has their favourite go-to tool when plying their trade and for me, it’s something that has solved more issues and provided more solutions to more problems than I care to remember. And it’s FREE. That alone would be enough to push it up the pecking order of viable tools to use to manage your Virtual environment, but wait until you see what this Fling can do.
Welcome along then, to the VMware Guest Console (VGC) and what is most definitely the Swiss Army Knife of Flings.
Fire up the VGC and you can connect to any number or combination of ESXi host, vCenter instance or even a Workstation instances, all of which will be listed in the left hand pane, you get an update on current operations in the bottom pane, and the right hand pane is where the magic happens. Sounds great so far? Just wait.
So why do you need the VGC in your life? Well I’ll give you five reasons for starters, here’s an example of some of the neat tricks VGC can bring you. Select a VM in the left-hand pane and provide some credentials, Windows or Linux it’s not fussed, and it opens up a host of options, all in the one magical pane of glass…
Guest Task Manager
Hit the Task Manager tab and you can see a list of all processes running in the Guest OS of your VM. Not only does it list them it allows you to kill them and also start new processes. Nice.
Copy a program or script to your VM, and any number of VMs of your choosing and VGC becomes a deployment solution that makes SCCM look like a huge clunky sledgehammer (albeit an Enterprise-class, fine piece of deployment solution). You can then execute simultaneously on a single VM, all VMs on a host or all VMs on all connected hosts. Neato.
Guest File Explorer
This feature is worth getting VGC for alone, it’s proved invaluable to me over the years and hopefully you’ll find this just as useful. VGC provides an interface to manage the Guest File System of your VM allowing you to Copy files from host to Guest, Client to Guest and vice-versa. On top of this you can copy files between Guests running on any host, or any instance. Add your standard Move, Delete, Rename functionality and it’s a powerful tool to have at your disposal.
For mass Snapshot operations VGC steps up again, with dynamically selected groups of Guests based on Snapshot Name, Creation Time, Power State etc. from which you can Create, Delete, Revert snapshots with one action on as many VMs as you dare.
VM Manager Management
As previously mentioned VGC allows you to dynamically select groups of VMs to manage as one, which can’t always be (easily) achieved [using conventional tools.
Add to that VGC shows you all the standard Guest info such as IP address, Guest OS, VMware Tools buils, CPU count, Memory, HW version, even uptime and current logged in users, and you can export it all in an inventory report. Sweet.
So there it is, if you’re still reading and you haven’t already switched tabs to download it then thank you, but you can feel free to go to https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vgc now to go download it, goodness knows you deserve it. Just make sure you come back soon for the next Fling!