You can’t say that VMware haven’t given fair warning about their intention to kill off the C# vSphere client, and now they are officially making good on the threat:
As of the next major vSphere release, the C# vSphere client will no longer be available.
For years now since the introduction of the vSphere Web Client VMware have been urging users to use it as their main tool for administering vSphere environments, even limiting new feature sets and integrations to the new client only in a hope to drive admins to the web client but the fact was the Flash-based web client was pretty awful. Performance was dire, nothing was where you’d expect it to be and most third-party (and some VMware) plugins were only supported in the ‘legacy’ C# client- Update Manager one of the most notable.
But VMware listened, and v6 brought with it a much slicker web client experience with a ground-up rebuild giving performance improvements and a navigation system more akin to what people were used to with the C# client. Better, but not great. Then March this year saw the release of the HTML5 based Embedded Host Client as a Fling, which is now shipped built-in to ESXi 6.0.0 Update 2. It seems now that VMware, ridding a wave of confidence and bravado off the back of wide approval from the community are going all-in and replacing the C# client with a newly built HTML5 web client wholesale from what we assume will be vSphere 6.1, whenever that shall make an appearance.
To be fair VMware know they still have a decent chunk of work to do in order to be able to pull this off, promising performance improvements and FULL functionality in the web client prior to its release but it’s not just VMware who need to step up. Much of the third-party functionality will need to be rewritten and made compatible, and VMware promise a HCL-esque compatibility matrix for what plugins and functionality is supported in the new HTML5 client prior to release so users can plan if and when they choose to upgrade.
Where it is supported and available today the C# client will continue to be available (so anything up to and including the current version), but considering its End Of Support time for vSphere 5.0/5.1 around Q3 this year it would be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the web client now so it’s not so much of a shock when its my be only client option.
So we all knew this day was coming and I see it as a good thing, but it may be risky that the HTML5 client is chosen as the way to go with still being in its relative infancy. I mean it’s a vast improvement over the flash client sure, but you have to hope that VMware realise what a huge piece of work it is they’re signing up for in making this announcement. If they are to get all the functionality in AND get the performance to stand up the scrutiny of a likely critical and sceptical community then they are going to be very busy. We must also hope the next vsphere release won’t be delayed in order to allow the new client to catch up.
As it stands there’s no ETA for the release, but VMware are clearly backing themselves to get the job done, and done right.
More updates and hopefully a timeline will be here when known, until then there’s plenty of prep to be done from the vendor and user alike.
In the meantime get the new HTML5 Web Client on the VMware Flings page