Two big announcements were made over the weekend just before VMworld. They were both inevitable, but it was just a question of “When?”. So that day has been set, not by a date, but by a timeline.
The announcements by VMware are that vCenter for Windows and the vSphere flash WebClient have now been dropped in the next version of vSphere.
Let’s start off with vCenter for Windows. If you couldn’t see this coming, then you may have been living under a rock for the last few vSphere releases. With the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) being first released as part of vSphere 5.5 and then being improved significantly by vSphere 6 and then on par and exceeding capabilities in vSphere 6.5, there was no way that VMware would over time continue working on vCenter on Windows. If you follow VMware’s trends on new product releases then you will note this is similar to the deprecation of the vSphere C# client that has not been updated since 5.5 as VMware pushed the WebClient. At the time, the WebClient did not boast all the features of the C# client and thus VMware were recommending to still use the C# client for Update Manger. This was then brought into the WebClient by vcenter 6.0 but update manager still required to be installed on a Windows server. Fast forward to the release of vSphere 6.5 and Update Manager has finally been implemented into VCSA. This was the final nail in the Windows vCenter coffin.
What are the benefits of using VCSA instead of windows? The biggest benefit is the licensing costs, eliminating the requirement for Windows OS to be installed. VCSA 5.5/6.0 previously ran on SLES11 and from 6.5 VCSA now runs on PhotonOS, a somewhat new OS platform designed and created by VMware, this drives down the costs as well as bring together tasks like updating and upgrades into a simple 1 step process (2 if you run external PSC). VMware is pushing PhotonOS out to their product suites with the latest having been the NSX Controllers in 6.3.3 (which according to VMware versioning is a minor update)
The final piece that has got my full support for VCSA is the deployment process, as a Mac user, to install the VCSA in 5.5 or 6.0 required a windows machine to run (or at least I was never able to find a way for it to from a Mac) – therefore this meant I need to stand up a windows VM first to run the installer from. Since the release of 6.5, VMware has simplified the process and has included a Mac and Linux deployment file. Aside from building a DC, there is no longer any requirements for a windows server in my environment.
So long Windows vCenter, you were good to us
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The second announcement which I thought was an earlier than expected surprise was the vSphere flash WebClient being dropped from the next release bringing the new(ish) HTML5 client into the light as the one and only client for managing vSphere.
In vSphere 6.5, the HTML5 client is still only partially functional for vCenter however according to the article, VMware is aiming for 100% complete by the next version release. I suspect there will be further functionality added as new updates are released for vCenter. Personally think this is a little early as the HTML5 client hasn’t had a full functioning release alongside the flash client as it was when the webclient took over from the C# client. However, VMware are on a somewhat short timeline to remove the flash content as Adobe Flash ceases in 2020. I’ve been using the flash vSphere client religiously at home (as mentioned I’m using a Mac) and I have finally accepted it, however at work I still manage to use the C# client on my 5.5 environment.
Looking at the time between vSphere releases which is generally around 18months, this leaves VMware approx. 10 months to have HTML5 up to their 100% full functionality. It will be interesting to see.
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