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vSphere Web Client is so bad that my experience managing and supporting VMware has turn to &^#$%@

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Purpose of this post is simple and obvious...  bring back development to thick client.  THANKS!

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Contributor
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Frankly, most web clients are a horrible disappointment. The purpose of them was to be platform agnostic (Windows [WhichOne?]?, Linux?, Mac?) and provide a more streamlined approach to delivering upgrades and enhancements without having to install new software and manage client cycles in addition to the server side.

With very few exceptions, NO ONE has been able to do that. I would list some very specific software-based network management products from a major network equipment manufacturer, but I don't want to create any problems.

Suffice it to say that every new version requires specific versions of specific browsers and specific versions of Java -- and the versions haven't been all the same or compatible in the past resulting in the need for different VMs just to run the clients to manage the VM-based server installs. Maddening!

I agree with many voices out there: dump the web-client and just give us an app (C#-client). With all the work you're going through to try to make it fast and cross-platform compatible, cross-browser compatible, whatever, you could have had great client for Windows (or linux, or whatever) -- but the OS doesn't really matter because most people are going to run it in a VM anyhow! Just make a linux-only version and tell us to run it in a VM -- problem solved (and stable.)

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Enthusiast
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I have to agree with the OP.

I have tried my best to use the web client with an open mind, but I am constantly asking myself why I bother to use it. I use the webclient nearly 90% of the time, but I do fall back on the desktop application or powercli when doing some things.

Things I dislike:

  • UI design is radically different from old desktop client. Navigation is generally slower even if the webclient were to be more performant (there is more clicking involved).
  • Requirement of a plugin (which is buggy and doesn't fully work)
  • Performance (slow login, slow page loads, etc. There is even a delay to load the login dialog box!)
  • Snapshot management (now multiple pages)
  • Bug with VM lists. Sometimes webclient allows you to expand the list, but mostly you have to click on the list and scroll through it on the right.
  • Update Manager is clunky to use. Keeping hosts patched should be a priority!
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Thanks Matt.

I REALLY hope that the C# client remains forever, or until Windows becomes a thing of the past.  I know that you've put many hours and cash into the web client, but I fear that you may be trying to pimp out a Yugo. (sorry, that was the only analogy I can think of at the moment) However, if it is mandated I would suggest at least keeping the layout of the original client, and add/change things a little bit at a time as newer releases come out. I think that would help with the transition.

"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery." - Thomas Jefferson
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I like that you bring up the plugin issue. I'm not sure what bug(s) in particular you're referring to, but to me it seems like having to download and install a plugin defeats the purpose of *not* having to download and install a client. Isn't the purpose of getting rid of the C# client to prevent users from having to download software in order to manage VMware?

Outside of that, I honestly don't understand the industry-wide move toward web interfaces. If you still have to install special plugins and/or software, how are they improving anything? Just some more thoughts!

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For our company (Finacial) it is a operational risk that our VM's with VM version 10 cannot be managed in case our vCenter goes down. VMX10 support in C# client should be prio 1.

Thanks for acting, even though it's almost too late.

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We (and I know a few others too) are even not moving to version 10 just because they can no longer be managed by the client. I think it's a major mistake that VMware made this decision and doesn't seem to be listeing to what customers are sayng about it.

Is anyone from VMware reading along? Can someone do the effort to post a reaction? What are the plans for the future in this regard? For me it's the biggest downside of the vSphere solution at this moment.

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Well, in our case we utilize vFRC which requires VMX10. I honestly didn't notice the incompability until it was too late, templates had been updated and several mission critical VMs deployed... #OhSnap #RTFM

Yes, VMware is following this thread, look further up in thread. You can even sign up to provide VMware with feedback.

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Hot Shot
Hot Shot

I don't understand why vSphere customers can't be provided with complimentary VMware Workstation licenses to fill this need.  It would be a simple, quick stop-gap solution, requiring absolutely nothing but license keys from VMware.

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VVMware provides free workstation lic to all VCPs - go after it!  Try test king test prep kit it is very very helpful and you learn in the process When taking practice tests just be sure to verify the answers test king provides

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For those having difficulty with slow responsiveness in the vSphere web client, I have a positive update I'd like to provide. I just switched to a new computer Friday and things are running much more smoothly.

Old machine was a Core2 Duo Intel with 4GB of ram, running on 32-bit Windows 7. Hard drive was also almost full. Everything would run slow in the web client (even though with the old client that was never a problem).

New machine is an Intel i5 with 8GB of memory, and things are running much more smoothly. The wait time after clicking things is drastically reduced. Now I still have my issues with the web client, and think it should be scrapped anyhow, but this is at least making the interaction bearable. If anyone else wants to chime in, what hardware are you accessing vSphere from, and how responsive is it to you?

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Probably what you say it is true but following that process of improvement with VMware license we should receive hardware upgrade or new hardware to support web client.

Best Regards, Wojciech https://wojcieh.net
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In some cases I guess the client machine could be a problem, as flash certainly isn't going to win any speed contests, but I think in most cases it's the server, especially if you are using the virtual appliance.  The server side is based on Java and it's slow as heck.  I use the virtual appliance and I've logged into it with SSH and watched it with the "top" command to see what goes on when you do something on the client, and those Java processes within it often peg the CPUs (the appliance is setup to use 2 vCPUs) when you are doing something trivial with the client.  On top of that the vpxclient process within the appliance is competing for CPU in order to actually pass on the instructions to the ESXi host you are working with.

I haven't tried this yet, but just for kicks I'm thinking about bumping up the vCPU count on the appliance to 3 or 4 just as a test to see how much that improves things.  However, given that the host is running on a 12 core AMD system (no hyperthreading), it's not acceptable to have to use that much of it's processing power to get acceptable response time from this client.

I think VMWare chose Java and flash so that they could get this out the door quickly, and they weren't giving any thought to the real world consequences of those choices.  Having been a manager of software developers in a big corporation I know exactly what must have happened.  From on high came the directive that there will be a replacement for the viclient that would be introduced with a version of ESXi that already had a specific rollout date.  As these rollout dates for upgrades affect sales and maintenance contract renewals, they can't be missed without the person causing the miss being blamed for any lost revenue that results (usually a career ending mistake that demands someone in management be sacrificed).  Therefore the software development manager got talked into using flash and Java by the programmers who said that using those tools was the only way they could make it happen anytime close to the immovable deadline.  I've been in that hot seat before, where "No, we can't do it in that timeframe" is not an answer compatible with continued employment.

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Unfortunately I have to agree Smiley Sad

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VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Hi cmrapa,

I have tried the described scenario at my end, but I couldn't reproduce the problem with hanging recent task when adding virtual disk or CDROM after upgrade to version 10. My tests were on CentOS and Windows 2008R2 VMs with different source hardware versions. Can you please share more details regarding:

  • Original HW version of the VM (prior to upgrade)
  • Build numbers of the VC and client
  • OS of the VM
  • What is the virtual hardware of this VM (something different than default devices)
  • Logs from the unsuccessful operation (WebClient and vpxd.log)

Thanks in advance!

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I don't like the web client either.  I try to use the C# client for everything I can and avoid the web client as much as possible.  I personally think the C# client is one of the best tools I have used and I am not sure why they would want to change it.

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Hot Shot

I am with everyone else. I dont use the webclient because its garbage. Its much quicker and simplier for us to use the VIC instead.

I've heard that the VIC is going to be killed off probably when vSphere 6 comes out. Hopefully with the outcry of so many admins VMware will reverse that mindset.

I have been a huge VMware fan for over 10 years now. It was a great product but lately its becoming more expensive and burdensome with clunky upgrades to vCenter as well as the horrific web client.  Tech support has also taken a dive over the years. Hyper-V is looking more attractive everyday and if given the opportunity to spin up a new virtual platform for a project/buisness I would probablly recommend Hyper-V over VMware at this point.

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Just joining the chorus here; I think the client is absolutely horrible as well.

More specific complaints, besides just the horribly bloated and slow performance.

  1. For those of us with EMC equipment, and EMC PowerPath for VMware, there are productivity-increasing plugins for the C# client that are not available for the web client, and there are configuration and information screens provided via plugins that are not available for the client.  So those of us with such a setup actually have to use both clients to fully manage the environment which is incredibly stupid.  Okay I need to do this, let's see, which of the two clients permits me to do that, hmm, try, fail, try the other one, success.  Next task, repeat.  One would have hoped that with EMC owning VMware, they wouldn't screw up EMC's own VMware-specific products, but I guess that was wishful thinking.
  2. No usable update manager, so no way to install PowerPath or other host-based plugins that install via update baselines.
  3. No usable update manager, so no way to actually upgrade hosts.
  4. We had a no flash on management systems policy for security reasons and had to reverse that just for this stupid client, since we had upgraded all the machine versions to 10.
  5. Many times, alerts that would cause a yellow or red flag on hosts or guests will not dynamically appear in the web client, or will not dynamically disappear if the issue has cleared; you have to refresh.  Of course, you don't want to refresh, since the damn interface is so slow, so data you're seeing may be out of date.
  6. Web client, hmm, can I use it from a mobile device over VPN?  ROFL, good luck trying that; it might load in 60 minutes.
  7. Need to see what LUNs a given host has defined, or looking to make sure a specific LUN is connected?  C# client: Host -> Configuration -> Storage -> Datastores and you get a nice presentable list with the display name of the datastores in question.  Web client: Host -> Manage -> Storage -> Storage Devices.  Oh, I'm connected to disk naa.6006016010602a0054d4043c34b5e211; great, that's really f'ing useful, I memorized all the device ID's of every LUN on all my arrays.  Well let me copy it out and see if I can search for it elsewhere; oh, can't f'ing copy from the web client, let me type it all out by hand then, I love doing that.  Can I at least make sure all the paths to the device are up?  Nope, web client doesn't know anything about PowerPath, so somehow it's connected but has zero paths.  Guess I get to jump back over to the C# client to see what it says.  For those of you who are looking for a solution to this, go to Home -> Storage -> the array that you want, click it, click Related Objects, click Hosts.  It will at least tell you if the storage you want is connected to the host you want.
  8. Kickstarting a guest and need its MAC address?  Okay, guest, summary, drop down the NIC, there it is.  Let me copy that out so I can paste it into my installer machine; oh, once again, can't f'ing copy text from the web client.  How backwards is that, you can copy useful things from a Windows program but not from a web page.  Guess I'll type it out by hand once again.
  9. Last but certainly not least; many of the screens contain data that is too wide to display on even a reasonably sized monitor, so you have to scroll left or right.  I don't like collapsing the alerts and tasks lists because I like to see what is going on.  Can I move them to the bottom where they were on the C# client?  Nope, they will be on your right and you're going to like it.
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We all agree here.  The web client is horrendous.  But what did we expect?  Web GUI/Apps can't compare to real native app running on windows.

VMware needs to continue development and support of the native vSphere Client on Windows. :smileyshocked:  There is nothing better for management and VMware shouldn't not phase it out by leaving out features that they include in the crappy web client.

Either they continue full development and support of the solid native vSphere client or we all do our management in powershell and hope we don't typo.  But then, that kinda defeats the purpose of using a GUI.

Web is nice, for browsing and watching.  But it was never meant to do these kind of apps.  It takes java and whole lot of "active" content, plugins, etc.. to stuff a workable app through the web and webclient leaving your browsing experience miserable and your client OS/browser unstable ;  not to mention a ridiculous backend needed to support the webapp that constantly uses up resources leaving the server side unstable as well.

Even with all this, the webapp is laggy and can't seem to do multiple things at once.

All web apps/clients are horrendously horrible when compared to a native windows app.

We really see the difference here because we started with a much better real windows app and are now going backwards to a webapp.

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Completely agree with the "it sucks" sentiment and nearly all the other posters here.    I won't waste space by reiterating all the issues previously mentioned other than to say "me too".  Did want to mention a complaint that I haven't read here yet:

The console no longer has a palette of menus and tools at the top of the window like the C# client console windows.  (send Ctrl-Alt-Del and Full Screen are the only buttons despite a large banner).   If you want to do anything to a VM that you are working intently on (like tweak its settings, take a snapshot, attach an iso, etc) you have to go back and find it on the main screen and get in the right context to make changes.  Of course, you likely switched that to some other part of the main window while you were waiting for the VM open in the console to finish installing an update, shutting down or whatever.   Working with several of these like that is very time consuming.


P.S.   I have found that the advice elsewhere to speed up responsiveness really does help to make it less sluggish. (right click while the interface is loading and only the vmware logo is displayed, select settings and increase local storage to 10M or unlimited - must right click before the username/password boxes appear as right click is disabled then).  Do a browser reload after making this change.   Less agonizing now (the trees especially perform faster), but still nowhere close to the experience and usability of the C# client.   I've gone from total loathing to mere resentment.


Running 5.5 (latest updates as of writing this)



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That is good information.  I hope VMware is listening!

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