When VMware Server was declared end of life, many end users were looking for an alternate product through which they could host their virtual machines on the network in a small environment. vSphere offered this functionality but for SMB and end users it was not a feasible option to upgrade to the Enterprise platform.

VMware subsequently added Shared VM functionality with VMware Workstation 8 and provided users an option to share virtual machines on the network. With VMware Workstation 9, we improved the functionality and added a web based access method to the shared virtual machine.

Knowledgebase article Running VMware Workstation as a server with shared virtual machines (2005585) covers this functionality in detail. It provides the steps to configure and use the function.

Another article Configuring WSX in VMware Workstation (2033641) covers the steps required to install and configure web based access for your shared virtual machine.

After configuring WSX, you can open the server address as shown below to access your virtual machine in a convenient web based user interface.

  • http://<IP Address of the WSX host>:<port configured>
  • http://<Host name of the WSX host>:<port configured>

When the page loads, it will request login credentials for the host machines to access the shared virtual machine.
On the welcome page, select the Shared VM (localhost) option. It will request the login credentials again. You can also use the Add a Server option and connect to your vSphere/ESXi setup to access the virtual machines running there.

Select the shared virtual machine to view it in the browser.
You can use the virtual machine in the web browser just as you would through the Workstation user interface.

This feature requires a HTML 5 capable browser but most modern browsers support this now.

As the world moves towards mobility, more users prefer using tablets and smartphones to accomplish work functions. With these features you can access your data and virtual machine on the go using WSX through the convenience of a web browser. WSX enables you to use the touch screen of a tablet or a smartphone to interact with your virtual desktops. A very elegant solution indeed.

Use case scenarios for WSX are only limited by your imagination. With such a wide compatibility matrix, you can use it virtually in any platform which has a HTML5 browser available.