I just downloaded the free version of ESXi 5.5 to start evaluating it relative to 5.1. From reading, VMware is moving to a web console only, with the native client only for 'emergency access' to the host (Why is everyone going to web consoles? they tend to be more problematic than native consoles...).
With the free version, how are you supposed to get the Web Console? There's a reference under the vSphere client download saying: 'Note: vSphere Web Client can be installed using the vCenter Server installer', but that's not available to download when you register for the free version. So if you have the free version, what's the right way to get the web client and what are you supposed to install it on? If the web console is now going to be required to access newer features of the Hypervisor, maybe VMware should consider providing the vCenter appliance with the free version, with the paid features disabled, of course.
I believe the "VMware vSphere Client" is the same for both the free and paid versions, but someone else here will have to check me on that. That would mean the KB article would apply to both the paid and free versions. The free version I'm running on my test lab bills itself as the "VMware vSphere Client". Furthermore, I just checked my personal licenses and I can download "VMware vSphere Client 5.5 Update 2" from the website as part of my free "VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5 License" which is not a paid license. I assume I would also have to upgrade my hypervisor to 5.5 update 2 (also available with my free license) for a complete fix, but that's to be expected as well. So with the fix in 5.5 update 2, I can put my vms in hardware version 10 so they get access to the latest tech there, and still manage them from the client. What functionality is still missing that was available in previous free versions?
It's not about missing functionality per se. It's about having your existing system sabotaged because if you make one mistake (which you probably had no idea at the time that it was even a mistake), suddenly you can't manage your VMs anymore.
I didn't even know there was an update 2 until the other day. Their ESXi product page certainly doesn't mention it ( https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/info?slug=datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_vsphere_hypervis... ), I never got notification via email that there was one, and all I could find when researching around the net was the ridiculous problems and workarounds people had to go through just to restore functionality to what had previously been a perfectly working platform. The overwhelming conclusion everywhere was, "Whatever you do, do NOT update to 5.5!"
Even though there's a supposed fix (I haven't tried it yet, so I'm reserving judgement...), it took VMWare over a year to fix a problem that should have been glaringly obvious right from day one. As a potential customer, I am certainly having second thoughts before I fork over 10s of thousands of dollars in licensing fees to a company that is more than happy to jerk customers around for over a year.
Combine that with their sales staff forwarding my contact info to an apparently no-longer-existing integration partner, it's really starting to look like VMWare has gotten too comfortable with their position in the market, and no longer care about putting out a decent product or competent service.
Yes, it works fine except few glitches. For example:
Just upgrade your ESXi to the current build of 6.0, enable SSH and install the vib file using the first command on the Instructions tab here:
One of those "Nice in Theory" ideas, but the whole point is to get a web ui for the Hypervisor by itself, and the first item under known issues is:
On ESXi hosts which are assigned a VMware vSphere Hypervisor license, all modification operations will fail silently. We are working on a solution to this issue.
Once I figured that out I switched back to the evaluation license for the Virtual ESXi 6 server (on my 5.0 server), and the webui did most things fine.
If they fix that issue I can see upgrading my lab servers. It would be really nice not to always need the Windows front end (Having said that I do a lot of things
from the command line, but creating/editing VMs isn't easy from the CLI).