vSphere 6.5 Update 1d was released in December 2017. While this update primarily focused on security and package updates for vCenter Server and ESXi, it also came with an update to the HTML5 vSphere Client. This is the third update to vCenter Server 6.5 to include an enhanced version of the vSphere Client. The vSphere Client Fling, on the other hand, continues to see regular updates (33 update releases in 2017 – v2.20 to v3.21) so be sure to follow its development as well.
When first checking out the vSphere Client 6.5 U1d, you may notice some aesthetic tweaks. These changes come from Clarity and should result in a cleaner look and feel. For example, the top navigation bar color has changed slightly, and the smiley face feedback icon is now transparent from its previous yellow fill. There are some other icon tweaks but, in general, these aesthetic changes shouldn’t jump out too much.
There are quite a few new capabilities that have been added, too. This document shows a full list of supported and currently unsupported features in the vSphere Client. This is updated whenever there is an update to the client just like with 6.5 Update 1d. While you can see the full list in the linked document, here are some of the highlights of this release.
Active vs Consumed Memory
When attempting to monitor cluster load, the Memory Utilization view for vSphere DRS has been a go-to view for vSphere Administrators. However, the vSphere Web Client shows the Consumed Memory while DRS is actually using Active Memory. Active Memory can be seen by hovering over the individual memory consumption bars but there is an opportunity to improve this UX. I’m excited to see that the implementation of this view in the vSphere Client lets us toggle between Active and Consumed to give us a much better view into how workloads are being balanced in the cluster.
Configure Proactive HA
Proactive HA was introduced in vSphere 6.5 and up until now, setup and configuration has only been available in the deprecated vSphere Web Client. In vCenter Server 6.5 U1d, these capabilities have been brought into the vSphere Client and include initial configuration, enable/disable, and modifying existing settings.
A nice addition to Content Library functionality in the vSphere Client is the ability to manage and publish existing libraries. This allows a vSphere Administrator to publish a Content Library so that other vCenter Servers can consume the content in order to make it available to it’s own inventory. Previously, this ability was only available in the vSphere Web Client.
NIOC and VDS
The Virtual Distributed Switch (VDS) is one of the best ways to efficiently manage networking in a vSphere environment. While we’ve seen many of the VDS capabilities be exposed in the vSphere Client for some time, this update brings some great enhancements including views for Network IO Control (NIOC) and the ability to configure LAGs and LACP. Editing your NIOC policies is fully supported now as well in the vSphere Client. Another nice addition is the ability to modify the Gateway setting on VMkernel (vmk) adapters.
While storage policies can be a set-it-and-forget-it construct, it still is quite cumbersome to have to bounce back to the vSphere Web Client to make adjustments or add new policies. With vSphere 6.5 U1d, storage policies are now fully integrated into the vSphere Client eliminating yet another reason to have to use the deprecated client. The workflow to create storage policies has been simplified and is now more intuitive greatly improving the user experience over the previous client.
Have you ever been curious what packages are installed on an ESXi host? This brand-new view quickly shows what drivers and 3rd party VIBs are installed, their versions, and whether they are certified or not. To access this view, navigate to a Host –> Configure –> System –> Packages.
VM Settings and Template Customizations
Last and certainly not least we have some rounded out functionality for adding hardware to VMs and deploying VMs from templates. In the Edit VM Settings dialog box you’ll now enjoy the ability to add additional hardware including NVMe, SCSI, and USB Controllers as well as Host-based USB Adapters.
Deploying VMs from templates may be a regular activity for many vSphere Administrators. Being able to create and manage VM Guest Customization Specifications are essential tools that make deploying VMs from templates an efficient and valuable process. This is why I’m so excited to see these capabilities now included in the vSphere Client! Create new VM Guest Customization Specifications from scratch as well as manage existing ones in a fast and easy wizard.
The above features and workflows are just some of the improvements made in the vSphere 6.5 U1d release. Some of these improvements will be very familiar to users of the deprecated vSphere Web Client while others have been given a UX overhaul and are greatly improved. And then there are a few brand new items that should continue to make vSphere Administrators less reliant on the old client.
The full list of improvements can be found here. I would also encourage you to check out the latest version of the vSphere Client Fling in order to see what could be coming in the next vSphere Client update! If you have any comments, feedback, or requests, don’t hesitate to use the feedback tool built into the vSphere Client by click the smiley face in the upper right.