8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 12, 2012 4:04 AM by continuum

    A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles

    sbarnhart Enthusiast

      I'd like to be able to install a bare-metal hypervisor on my laptop, and still use it as a laptop.

       

      I'd like to see a basic GUI VI Client that would run on the console of an ESXi for host and allow for:

       

      1) Switching between full-screen consoles (including GUI OSs like Windows) of VMs.

       

      2) Basic VM control/management -- power on/off, snapshot and clone, connect/disconnect networking.

       

      This would be VERY COOL on a laptop.  Yes, I know that you can largely do this now with Server or Workstation, but you need a host OS and the performance isn't what it is with ESX.  There's also some gotchas if you want more than 4GB of RAM in that you need to run a 64 bit host OS.

        • 1. Re: A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles
          bulletprooffool Virtuoso
          User Moderators

           

          There are a few threads running around for dual booting.

           

           

          The general consensus is that VMware is running linux fot the most part so the way to do it would be similar to the way that you set up a Windows / Linux dual boot . . . .

           

           

           

           

           

          The problem is that youwill only be able to view your VMs remotely . . so the laptop will effectively become a server . . . except when you of cxourse boot into the alternative OS.

           

           

           

           

           

          the concept is good . . but I doubt it is anywhere near - perhpas VMWare Views remote desktops?

           

           

          • 2. Re: A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles
            sbarnhart Enthusiast

            What I'm asking for isn't dual boot -- I want a lightweight version of vSphere client that runs at the host console that would give me basic control over VMs and full-screen access to the VMs consoles.

             

            This would be great for a laptop or desktop ESX system and possibly even valuable in some server circumstances, although there the need would probably be marginal although it may make maintenance simpler in hosting centers where you need to do work at a cage but where its impractical to setup a laptop or some other client to access VM consoles.

             

            I envision the "host console GUI" running as some kind of service-console-type privileged VM that could be enabled/disabled from the ESX/ESXi text interface.  This would allow it to not suck too much CPU as it would be subject to hypervisor scheduling and resource controls.  I'd also make this console something optional so that it could be disabled to prevent the loss of resources. 

             

            Dual booting leaves you with no access to VMs unless you run vSphere client on some other machine, as well as consuming vast amounts of disk space (VMFS filesystem, and the dual-booted host OS filesystem) in a way that makes it not terribly useful on a laptop.  I don't consider this a worthwhile option.

            • 3. Re: A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles
              continuum Guru
              vExpertCommunity WarriorsUser Moderators

              ... and full-screen access to the VMs consoles.

               

              ESX is fast because it does not even consider doing this.

              If you want graphics-support so that you can display the running VMs with full screen you need a much larger OS than the vmnix used by ESX / ESXi - something like Linux or Windows.

              So you probably want something like a Workstation running on a mini Linux

               

               

               

               

              ___________________________________

               

              VMX-parameters- VMware-liveCD - VM-Sickbay

              • 4. Re: A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles
                sbarnhart Enthusiast

                ESX is fast because it does not even consider doing this.

                If you want graphics-support so that you can display the running VMs with full screen you need a much larger OS than the vmnix used by ESX / ESXi - something like Linux or Windows.

                So you probably want something like a Workstation running on a mini Linux

                 

                Lack of GUI console makes sense for most infrastructure projects, but possibly not all and definitely not if you want a bare-metal hypervisor on a portable machine.  My guess is that not having one made more sense when 4-CPU SMP was a big expensive deal on x86 platforms and a system with 8 GB of memory cost as much as a good car and server display adapters did 1024x768 @ 8 bit color at best.

                 

                Nowadays even a "cheap" server will burn up max RAM and I/O bandwidth long before it will come close to running out of CPU, and most servers come with decent graphics acceleration to boot.

                 

                There's probably a lot of gimmicks that could be employed to get VM consoles on the host console and none of them need require the bloat and inefficiency of X windows installed in the service console.  Certainly it would make sense to employ (adjustable) resource limitation on whatever software subsystem supplied the consoles, up to and including a way to disable that if you weren't using that feature.  My guess is that you'd lose less overhead displaying all but the busiest GUI on the console than you would running disk-heavy workloads using software iSCSI.

                • 5. Re: A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles
                  continuum Guru
                  Community WarriorsUser ModeratorsvExpert

                  I doubt that the required overhead to run an Xserver is part of the question at all - you are right - modern systems would have no problem with this.

                  The question that matters is driver-support and development and QA.

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  ___________________________________

                   

                  VMX-parameters- VMware-liveCD - VM-Sickbay

                  • 6. Re: A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles
                    Dave.Mishchenko Guru
                    User Moderators

                    By the end of the year or early next year we should start to see the availability of some client hypervisors.    I'm not sure what sort of GUI they'll have to the hypervisor, but you'll be able to run mulitple guests with minimal overheard.

                     

                    Dave

                    VMware Communities User Moderator

                     

                    New book in town - vSphere Quick Start Guide  -http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2009/08/12/new-book-in-town-vsphere-quick-start-guide/.

                    Do you have a system or PCI card working with VMDirectPath?  Submit your specs to the Unofficial VMDirectPath HCL - http://www.vm-help.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=21.

                    • 7. Re: A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles
                      ynotchat Lurker

                      I know this thread is old, but a quick google and search revealed no solutions to the OP's original question and now we're in mid 2012.

                      not that i can see any solution anyway on the web other than installing linux/windows and running the software hypervisor.

                       

                      I think this would be a great idea....imagine installing and running Esxi 5 from a 64gb usb stick (ebuyer.co.uk for £20 right now http://www.ebuyer.com/386264-extra-value-64gb-usb-3-0-flash-drive-ev-usb64gb-3-0).

                      then booting on any system in the world... getting a console screen and running some very cut down client (optional of course).

                      including laptops like the OP was mentioning.

                       

                      You could alt-tab from windows 7 to Linux to windows server on the host system or even have a vsphere like base gui to manage each server you create. you'd never need that "2nd computer" to vsphere on to it.

                       

                      yes, yes, i know, the hypervisor is cut down and its meant to be cut down for speed.. but surely this could be an optional tick box for a small gui/remote control interface?

                       

                      It would make large fast cheap usb sticks a great thing to carry around to demo's / offsite install's etc.

                       

                      maybe i'm simplfying it too much, i guess graphic drivers would need writing (to power any card to a decent standard), sound would then be demanded by some... etc etc... though i'm sure the cut down linux the hypervisor currently uses could provide most of the clout.

                       

                      anyway... if anyone knows of a way to do this now, i'd be interested in trying it out.

                      • 8. Re: A basic GUI VIClient for ESXi consoles
                        continuum Guru
                        Community WarriorsUser ModeratorsvExpert

                        > ....imagine installing and running Esxi 5 from a 64gb usb stick .... then booting on any system in the world...

                         

                        Consider the research and QA that would be required to maintain all the drivers for such a task ...

                         

                         

                        You can create a 64 Gb USB-stick and run VMware Workstation instead of ESXi.
                        That is doable - I use something similar from a 2.5 inch USB-disk. Works pretty well - but not as fast as ESXi of course