Unfortunately, I have bad news: It is virtually no longer possible to manage the vSphere infrastructure from a Linux machine. You will need a Windows system for that, except by using undocumented and untested hackish workarounds (listed below).
The reason is this:
There are two web browser plugin APIs, the old and venerable NPAPI (Netscape Plugin API), and the newer (Chromium/Chrome only) PPAPI (Pepper API). At this point in time, Chrome (and other Chromium-derived browsers) are the only browsers able use PPAPI plugins. Mozilla has clearly and repeatedly indicated that they will not be diverting development resources to supporting PPAPI since they envision a web without the need for plugins.
Now, however, Google has dropped support for the old NPAPI plugins in recent Linux Chrome versions, and have clearly and repeatedly indicated that they don't plan to bring it back (incidentally, if you check, you won't be able to use Java either, this isn't limited to VMware's Client Integration plugin.)
Unfortunately, Adobe doesn't distribute any NPAPI-compatible Flash Player packages newer than 11.2; the only way to get a recent Flash version on Linux is by using the one bundled with Chrome. And the vSphere Web Client requires a recent version of Adobe Flash Player.
So, in other words, we're between a rock and a hard place: Chrome has a recent enough Flash player, but can't run the remote console plugin. And Firefox can run the remote console plugin, but can't run a recent enough Flash player.
And, of course, Google makes it very difficult to downgrade Chrome (they don't offer old versions for download, you have to track them down from third party untrusted sources, disable autoupdate, and hope you don't get compromised via the known security holes in older versions.)
You can try to get a newer Flash running in Firefox by bridging the PPAPI plugin from Chrome via the Fresh Player Plugin you can find at https://github.com/i-rinat/freshplayerplugin - but I have no idea whether this works.
In other words, hearty curs*ahem* I mean "thanks" go to VMware, Adobe and Google for this mess.
[rant]Of course, many people saw something like this (Adobe dropping Linux Flash) coming and were justifiably angry at VMware for placing Linux users in such a potentially uncomfortable situation, especially since this lays bare VMware's laughable claims of "portability" for the Web Client, but oh well.[/rant]
Thanks for your answer. It's a little bit frustrating that Vmware is now working only with a web interface (with the 5.5 version) and does not support all the linux web architecture ! (normally, web is independent)
If only the minimum of flash version will be 11.2, there will be no problem... witch flash technology is needed in the 11.5 and above version for managing VM ??
With a little bit of luck, it works well with Fresh player (adding a spécific PPA) and Firefox into Ubuntu 14.04 + integration plugin. Today, I can manage my VM under linux but I don't know if I will reproduce this install in another PC...
I'm currently able to administer my VMware environment entirely from a Linux box without much hassle. Its really the only way to go for me. I love being able to script out changes to all of my ESXi hosts in BASH which I'm comfortable with, SFTP transfer file to and from ESXi hosts. It makes my day to day administration much easier being able to use the Linux tools I know how to use backwards and forwards.
I use Archlinux which has archives of all of its old packages (Arch Rollback Machine). I installed chromium 34.0.1847.137 which supports NPAPI. Then installed pepper flash.
Although you're using Ubuntu you should still be able to download the proper chromium build from the ARM, extract the tarball and use the binaries without issue.
I'd like to see VMware port a PPAPI plugin or a HTML web client but I'm still able to get everything I need functioning currently.
Archlinux's various chromium builds are located here;
I doubt you need these as you're rolling Ubuntu but I'll include them for completeness' sake.
EDIT (2014/11/13): I've been able to new get the PPAPI version of flash working with firefox using a wrapper called freshplayer. i-rinat/freshplayerplugin · GitHub It would still be better in my eyes if VMware supported a PPAPI plugin but Its better than nothing.
I am having the same issue. I find it extremely frustrating, and I am not frustrated with VMWare but with Google and Firefox, both of which are being very stubborn and idealistic while ignoring the very real-world problems their decisions are causing here.
- Google is being stubborn in removing NPAPI. Sure, it is great to push people toward plugin-free systems. But breaking all existing things that require NPAPI, like VMware, is not the way to go. AT LEAST they should have added a "--enable-npapi" flag or somesuch. To me it is very telling that they removed NPAPI in Linux *only* while kept it around in Windows... basically they get away with this only due to the smaller community who is not as vocal. I doubt NPAPI will be removed in Windows in 2014 because so many enterprises need it for Java. Linux will be left hanging in the wind as usual.
- Firefox is being stubborn in refusing to integrate Pepper flash. It has been raised 3 times on the Firefox mailing list and every time shot down, due to what is essentially NIH syndrome.
Not sure if anyone from VMWare is monitoring this thread but I think the only way this intractable situation can be reversed is if companies like VMWare provide some pressure. As of now, I have ZERO way to now manage my VMWare infrastructure without resorting to ANOTHER Windows VM - which I need to run locally, in VirtualBox by the way. This makes me wonder if I should just use VirtualBox for everything, since it works on all platforms.
For an enterprise virtualization solution. This is very disappointing. I can't imagine that VMware has that little of development resources that they cant write an VMRC plugin for both NPAPI and Pepper based browsers. There is no native Linux client and now the Vsphere web client broke. This worked in Ubuntu 11.04 and no longer works on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It's pretty sad considering how many millions of dollars our company spends on VMware products every year.
If you want a virtualization platform that is easy to manage from Linux (or Windows or Mac), take a look at RHEV (Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization). We have both vSphere and RHEV. RHEV hasn't been around as long and it does not have the plethora of features and add-ons and third-party support that vSphere does (which may be a deal breaker for some), but it's catching up on the important stuff with every release (currently 3.4). Notably still absent are VM backups at the virtual disk level, and SRM-like functionality, which you'd have to cook up yourself. With RHEV the management interface is all standard HTML, and it's fast. Currently you need to load a SPICE client (or fallback to VNC) to access VM consoles, but SPICE clients are available on all platforms.There's also an HTML5 based spice client available but I haven't tried that yet.
I am not a VMware hater; I've used ESX since the 2.x days and have great respect for the solid architecture. We will continue to use vSphere, particularly for the oddball VMs (RHEV only supports Linux and Windows guests). But administrating a VMware infrastructure from any non-Windows client is an exercise in humility, and you'll be continually reminded that VMware considers you a second-class customer.
Has anything been done in v6.0 to address these issues ?