I just learned about a very cool vSphere Web Client Plugin that was developed by a fellow vExpert, Patrick Haefner who shared this during the South Germany VMUG back in February of last year. The custom vSphere Web Client Plugin allows administrators to view Custom Attributes in the vSphere Web Client which is currently not available today. The Custom Attributes vSphere Web Client is hosted on the VMUG site and you will need to register to access the download page found here.

Disclaimer: This plugin is not officially supported by VMware, please use at your own risk.

To install the Custom Attributes plugin, you just need to extract the contents of the zip file and you will should see a directory called haif-customfields-ui. You will need to copy this directory to your vCenter Server which is running the vSphere Web Client. This plugin should work on both vSphere 5.1 and 5.5.

For Windows vCenter Server:

  1. Stop the vSphere Web Client service
  2. Copy haif-customfields-ui to C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\vSphereWebClient\plugin-packages
  3. Start the vSphere Web Client service

For VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance)

  1. Stop the vSphere Web Client service by running /etc/init.d/vsphere-client stop
  2. Copy haif-customfields-ui to /usr/lib/vmware-vsphere-client/plugin-packages
  3. Start the vSphere Web Client service by running /etc/init.d/vsphere-client start

Once the vSphere Web Client has been started, you can now login and for Virtual Machines or ESXi hosts which have Custom Attributes, you should now see a new portlet displaying the Custom Attributes as seen in the screenshot below.

I think this is a really cool plugin and shows how extensible the vSphere Web Client is by leveraging the vSphere Web Client SDK. With a bit of imagination, you can pretty much build anything! Though today Patrick's plugin only allows you to view the Custom Attributes, perhaps if there is enough requests, he may add the ability to modify Custom Attributes. Awesome work Patrick and thanks for sharing it with the community!

Big thanks to Ruediger M. who works as a VMware SE in Germany for sharing this awesome information. This is definitely a plugin I will be installing in my environments 🙂

19 thoughts on “vSphere Web Client Plugin for Custom Attributes

  1. It is too bad that it has come to this, as I had high hopes for tags with the vSphere 5.5 release. Tags fall short though, as they are not a true key->value pairing. Sigh…

  2. You’re absolutely correct, Tagging does not cover the Custom Attributes use case today. This is something we’ve heard from many customers and have already fed into engineering. Hopefully we will see this area improved in the future. For now, such a plugin is useful to be able to view both your Tags as well as Custom Attributes.

  3. Something fun to note when using the vCSA… when you unzip the files, it creates a directory but the permissions are not set correctly (meaning the Web Client won’t be able to load the applet). What I had to do was chmod all directories to 755 and chmod all files within those directories to 644… After doing that, and restarting the service, magic!

  4. Hello William, I really like this plugin. Is it possible to modify the “virtual machines object view” and save it as default? Now I must add evertytime “show/hide columns” when I open the the “virtual machines object view”

  5. For the vSphere WebClient 6 I get errors (Module Can`t load) on the Summary Tab of the VM. But over the Related Objects it works fine.
    My Solution was to edit the haif-customfields-ui-war-1.0.2.war (plugin.xml) and remove the extension (xxx.vm.summary).Now it works fine without errors and I get my custom-fields over the Related Object Tab.

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