Which vSphere client should I use and when?

With the release of vSphere 5.1 comes a new primary administration tool for managing your VMware vSphere 5.x environments, the vSphere Web Client. While the new web client has been given feature parity with that of previous vSphere Desktop Clients; the new features released with vSphere 5.1 and higher are only managed via the vSphere Web Client.
To help understand the functionality of each client, below lists the new features that are only available via the web client and several features that remain available only in the desktop client. If a feature is not listed then that functionality is available in both the vSphere Web Client and the vSphere Desktop Client.

vSphere Web Client Only vSphere Desktop Client Only
  • vCenter Single Sign-On
    • Authentication
    • Administration
  • Navigation with Inventory Lists
  • Inventory Tagging
  • Work In Progress (Pause)
  • Pre-emptive Searching
  • Save Searches
  • Enhanced read performance utilizing the Inventory Service
  • vSphere Replication (not SRM)
  • Virtual Infrastructure Navigator
  • Enhanced vMotion (no shared storage)
  • Integration with vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) Workflows (Extended Menus)
  • Virtual Distributed Switch (vDS)
    • Health Check
    • Export/Restore Configuration
    • Diagram filtering
  • Log Browser Plugin
  • vSphere Data Protection (VDP)
  • VXLAN Networking
  • Ability to change Guest OS on an existing virtual machine
  • Inflate thin disk option found in the Datastore Browser
  • VMware Update Manager Plugin
  • vCenter Server Maps
  • Create and edit custom attributes
  • Connect direct to a vSphere host


Additional Information

 Download the vSphere Client Comparison


About the Author

Justin King

Justin King has been involved with the IT industry for over 17 years where he has held various roles and responsibilities from administration to architecting solutions. Since joining VMware in 2009, Justin has supported sales teams as a sales engineer, evangelized VMware technologies as part of the Technical Marketing team and currently installs confidence by designing and testing end to end reference architectures for VMware's SDDC Suite solutions. Follow vCenterGuy on Twitter for news and information on anything vCenter Server related