How many of you remember the old WebAccess interface that came with classic ESX 2.0? I know I sure do! It was a very useful interface that allowed administrators to easily manage their ESX hosts through a web browser that provided basic VM creation, troubleshooting and most importantly initial bootstrap configurations for greenfield deployments where a vCenter Server may not be available yet.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 8.07.56 AM
I have always felt that having a simple web interface that customers can just point their browser to an ESX(i) host after an installation would be the most intuitive from a user experience standpoint. About a year ago, I was involved in a project with two VMware Engineers, Kevin Christopher and Jehad Affoneh, when we worked on an early prototype of an optimized Embedded Host Client for ESXi. We socialized the prototype across many different teams at VMware and the overwhelming feedback was super positive. Earlier this year, with the help of the ESXi PM and the Engineering team, they decided to take the concept of the prototype to the next level and really turn it into something that could really be used by customers.

UPDATE: (08/25/15) - v2 has just been released, be sure to take a look at this blog post for more details.

Today, I am very happy to announce the release of a new VMware Fling: HTML5 Embedded Host Client for ESXi which is currently distributed as a simple installable VIB. The Fling currently only supports ESXi 6.0 (however, there is a workaround ESXi 5.x which you can find below). In this first release, the Free ESXi Hypervisor is not supported, but the plan is to add support for this in a future update. Here is a list of some of the supported operations in this first release:

  • VM operations (power on, off, reset, suspend, etc.)
  • Creating a new VM, from scratch or from OVF/OVA (limited OVA support)
  • Configuring NTP on a host
  • Displaying summaries, events, tasks and notifications/alerts
  • Providing a console to VMs
  • Configuring host networking
  • Configuring host advanced settings
  • Configuring host services
  • License management

Once the VIB is installed, which does not require a system reboot, you simply just point your web browser to the following URL: https://[ESXI-HOST]/ui and login with an administrator account.

embedded-host-client-0
One of my favorite features of the Embedded Host Client is the integrated VM Console which is accessible directly within the browser and does not require any additional plugins or installers. I do want to mention that the VM Console feature is currently only available when installed onto an ESXi 6.0 host. One other caveat that I would like to point out is that for customers who wish to try the Embedded Host Client on ESXi 5.5 or on ESXi 6.0 host which have been upgraded from an ESXi 5.x environment, the following workaround is required:

ESXi 5.x or ESXi 6.0 (upgraded from ESXi 5.x) workaround:

Step 1 - SSH to your ESXi host and open the following configuration file:

/etc/vmware/rhttpproxy/endpoints.conf

Step 2 - Remove the following line and save the changes

/ui                      local            8308                             redirect       allow

Step 3 - Restart the reverse proxy by running the following command:

/etc/init.d/rhttpproxy restart

Step 4 - Open a browser to the following URL: https://[ESXI-HOST]/ui/ and note the additional trailing "slash" at the end of the URL. This is mandatory else the Embedded Host Client page will not properly load.

Note: This only applies to ESXi 6.0 hosts which have been upgraded from ESXi 5.x or pre-ESXi 5.5 Update 3 systems. You may also noticed translation errors when running the Fling on pre-ESXi 6.0, this is expected. For the best experience, we recommend using ESXi 6.0 or waiting until ESXi 5.5 Update 3 is released which will resolve this problem.

Having spent the last couple of months working with both of the Engineers: Etienne Le Sueur and George Estebe, I was able to help provide feedback and usability enhancements and I think you will really like what is there in this first release. I do want to stress that this is in no way, shape or form a comprehensive replacement for the existing vSphere C# Client functionality, but I think it could be a good start if the feedback from customers is positive. I really hope you do give this a try in your lab environment and please let us know what features and capabilities we should add next. There is a variety of way you can provide feedback by leaving a comment on this blog post, leaving a comment on the Flings page.

Big thanks goes out to both George and Etienne who took on the challenge and did a fantastic job on the Fling!

52 thoughts on “New HTML5 Embedded Host Client for ESXi

  1. I use exsi 5.5 with xponology, could you tell me the procedure to use html5 without upgrading to version 6 ? Is there for the version 6 a free license like for the 5.5 for a private use ?

    • Looks great, quick question, the Task Pane now has filter icons, are these coming to the standard vsphere 6 web client as well?
      Also any chance these support exclusion filters?

      • Re filters in vSphere client, probably.

        Re exclusion filters, I’ll look into it for you…

  2. Uhhhhh, is the /etc/vmware/rhttpproxy/endpoints.conf immutable somehow? It won’t let me write to it as root with vi, even if I grant write permissions to user/group/other.

  3. Hi, works without problem… just this:

    [missing “pt-br.host.summary.actionBar.createRegisterVM.label” translation]

    in all tags

  4. So beautiful, I really hope they just include and maintain this in later versions of esxi. Just add it as another service and give you the option to enable/disable. 3MB is nothing…

    • Unfortunately not at this stage. I suppose a way to disable it or alter the timeout would be useful. Noted!

      • Really appreciate what you guys have done. I’ve been wanting something like this for the longest time, mainly as a way to manage my home esxi host from my mac but the benefits go beyond that. VMWare Fusion helped quite a bit with console access but beyond that it was extremely limited.

        Any idea if this will continue to be developed or possibly just a feature included in future builds of ESXi?

  5. Nice one. Whether the fling VIB has to be installed manually nor will it come as part of patch update through vsphere update manager ?

    • Try delete all your *.vmware.com cookies; that worked for me. I initially thought it was my workplace somehow blocking it.

  6. Hey guys! Great job, well done! Works perfectly for me on my 6.0 host! Keep on going with this great solution! Cheers from Germany

  7. I’m getting a 503 service unavailable error (ESXi 5.5) connecting to /ui/ after a hard reboot of the server. All services for normal access, vCenter etc, are working fine.

    I’ve done a remove and install of the .vib to no avail.

    Any thoughts on what may have gone wrong and what to check?

  8. Hi,

    Is is possible to non root login to esxi?
    with root user everything is fine
    but when with user which is in charge for one VM then this exception appears

    Background image
    Loading
    Unhandled exception (1)
    Error
    [object Object]
    Unhandled exception (1)

    Cause: TypeError: result[0] is undefined
    Version: 2016.02.08
    Build: 3530804
    ESXi: 5.5.0

    Exception stack:

    getHostDNSName/<@https:// xxx/ui/scripts/main.js:260:6968
    f/<@https:// xxx/ui/scripts/main.js:204:9465
    Me/this.$get</k.prototype.$eval@https:// xxx/ui/scripts/main.js:204:16488
    Me/this.$get</k.prototype.$digest@https:// xxx/ui/scripts/main.js:204:15039
    Me/this.$get</k.prototype.$evalAsync/<@https:// xxx/ui/scripts/main.js:204:16575
    e@https:// xxx/ui/scripts/main.js:203:5644
    lf/m.defer/c<@https:// xxx/ui/scripts/main.js:203:7652

    Thanks!

  9. Thanks for this, William. The workaround is also required if you upgrade a host to ESXi 6.0 Update 2 with the new official Vmware Host Client.

  10. Thanks William, but I have a problem with ui.
    Installation was fine but I can’t do anything, when I select an action, nothing append.
    Any ideas ?

    PS: I have already check for the workaround.
    Version Vmware 5.5.0 3029944

    Thanks

        • OK, yes, unfortunately, for 5.5, embedded host client will not allow you to make changes when the Free license is assigned.

          We have fixed this issue in the 6.0 U2 release, and we will be fixing the issue in the next patch release of 5.5. For now, you’ll just have to hang tight I’m afraid, or update to 6.0 U2.

  11. I found that I also had to add this to /etc/vmware/rhttpproxy/endpoints.conf before I could get the html5 console to work:

    /ticket tickettunnel /var/run/vmware/ticket/%1 redirect allow

    I was getting an error ” wss://10.10.10.30/ticket/xxxxx” whenever I tried to open the console. After adding the above line and restarting rhttpproxy it worked fine. This esxi host was upgraded to 6.0 from 5.1.

    vmware -vl
    VMware ESXi 6.0.0 build-3620759
    VMware ESXi 6.0.0 Update 2

    -Aaron

Thanks for the comment!