One of the biggest feature that I was most excited for with the initial release of vSphere 5.5, was the full support for Mac OS X with the vSphere Web Client. For many Mac OS X users including myself, this meant you could finally upload OVF/OVA, have support for remote device management such as mounting an ISO or floppy image and the biggest one of them all is having a supported native VM Console (based on HTML5)!
During the early Alpha/Beta release of vSphere 5.5, I started to use the VM Console for Mac OS X quite a bit. One thing that I had noticed was the HTML5 VM console was only used when you are running on a Mac OS X system. If you are on Windows or Linux system, it would still default to VMRC if you did not have the CIP (Client Integration Package) installed which included the VMRC. If you did not have CIP installed, then it would then default to the HTML5 VM Console as an alternative.
Last night, I saw a tweet from Steve Kaplan which seemed to indicate this behavior had changed:
- On both Chrome and Firefox, the HTML5 VM Console was available, you should see a "Launch Console" under the Virtual Machine summary page
- On Internet Explorer (9,10 & 11), the HTML5 VM Console was not available and there was no "Launch Console" link
It appears that the behavior did in fact change between Beta and GA of vSphere which was kind of a shame ...
Not being satisfied with the answer, I was still hoping I could help find a solution for my buddy Steve. I think it would still be useful to be able to view the Virtual Machine console w/o having CIP installed, especially if you don't require the functionality of CIP. Thinking about it a for a bit, I had an idea that was worth a shot. I decided to change the User-Agent on the Internet Explorer to make it show up to the vSphere Web Client as Firefox versus Internet Explorer to see what would happen.
To my surprise, as you can see from the screenshot above, it worked! I guess the vSphere Web Client specifically looks for the browser type and if it is Internet Explorer, we only provide the CIP installer versus using the HTML5 VM Console. I'm not exactly sure why that is the case, but at least there is a work around. Here are the instructions if you wish to change the User Agent on IE. I also found that this worked on both IE10 and 11 but not IE9.
Disclaimer: This may not be officially supported by VMware, but you probably already know the drill 😉
This is a nice workaround if you are using the vSphere Web Client, but if you do not want to go through this hassle you can ALWAYS access the HTML5 VM Console by generating the URL itself and this will always work on ALL browsers without any workarounds. Here is a nice script that I created which will handle this for you. Web Client 0, Customer 1 🙂