With the release of vSphere 5 came an alternative means of accessing and managing your virtual infrastructure through a web browser called the vSphere Web Client. The web client doesn't give you all of the functionality that the original vSphere client does, but it is certainly a great first step in porting over the functionality into a more sustainable means of supporting the VI client. I don't plan on getting into the differences between the vSphere Client and the Web Client in this post as I've already done that here. This post will focus mainly on the installation and configuration of the new VMware vSphere Web Client server.
Honestly, installation is a breeze and probably doesn't even warrant a blog post but I've already documented it and will throw it up here just in case its' ever needed. First off you will need to pick a server to install the Web Client server on. I personally used my vCenter server and that appears to be the target of choice for other users in the community. Also, on any workstation/server you wish to access the client from you will need to have flash player 10.1.0 or greater installed.
1. The Web Client server installation software is bundled in with the vCenter Server installation media. So mount that ISO or extract the zip archive on your server of choice. The ISO should autorun. When it does, select the 'VMware vSphere Web Client server' option and click 'Install'.
2. From here until the end of the installation you are on your own. Honestly there isn't much to configure during the installation process. Essentially you can define what ports you want to run on and change the licensee information, that's about all! So for the most part it's a Next Next Finish process.
3. Wow! That's it! Done the install, now time to do a little configuration. Open up a supported browser (IE 7/8, Firefox 3.6+ – No Chrome 🙁 ) and browse to Web Client Administration interface @ https://localhost:9443/admin-app/ (replacing localhost and the port with your information of course). This task cannot be performed remotely from another workstation, it must be done on the server in which you installed the Web Client role. What we need to do is attach our vSphere Web Client to an instance of Virtual Center. You do this by selecting 'Register vCenter Server' in the top right hand corner. (optionally you can use a script called admin-cmd.bat to do this as well).
4. Enter the appropriate information and user credentials to connect to your vCenter instance. If you chose to install the Web Client server on the same server as your vCenter instance then your vCenter Server name and your vSphere Web Client server name should match. Once done click 'Register' You may get prompted with an SSL warning, just check to 'Install' the certificate and click 'Ignore'.
There you have it! The Web Client server is installed and configured! In order to access it browse to https://WEBCLIENT:9443/vsphere-client/ replacing webclient with your address of course. For the most part a lot of the functionality around managing a VM is included, however more infrastructure related tasks such as adding hosts or configuring storage seem to be missing. Be patient though, VMware has come out and said that this is the future of the vSphere Client so it won't be long until we start to see some new functionality rolled into this product.