VMware Drops Desktop Client for Next Version of vSphere

The HTML5 version, available as a "Fling," replaces the Flash client.

It may have, perhaps, been inevitable, but now it's official: the vSphere C# client -- also known variously as the Client for Windows, thick client and desktop client -- won't be part of the next iteration of vSphere.

Product Manager for vSphere Clients Dennis Lu confirmed the demise of the C# client in a blog posting today. He said that the current versions of vSphere, both 6.0 and 5.5, won't be affected and will be supported. But going forward, the HTML5 Web client, which was released as a Fling, or product not officially supported, will provide the front end to vSphere. Lu added that the new client will also have a simplified name: the "vSphere Client."

Killing Flash
A major impetus at the time for the new client was that the C# client was built on the shaky foundation of Flash, which is infamous for its insecure nature. Flash is being slowly phased out across the Web, as HTML5 takes its place in more and more cases.

"The decision to go with Flash was made years ago, before HTML5 and developer tools were ready," VMware previously blogged about the C# client. "The situation has changed, and we've been working very hard on removing the dependency on Flash to improve performance, stability, and security."

Virtualization Review columnist Tom Fenton recently wrote about the transition to the vSphere Client:

"VMware's current Web-based vSphere interface is based on Flash. Flash was a good choice at the time, but using HTML5 and JavaScript is a better way to communicate with a vCenter cluster. vSphere HTML5 Web Client is more responsive than the Flash-based vSphere Web portal, and is receiving strong acceptance within the VMware community."

No Juggling Act
The vSphere Client has been in development a long time, and was not well received at first; complaints of slow and buggy performance abounded among administrators. While acknowledging those concerns, Lu blogged that continuing to produce the C# client wasn't going to happen: "Additionally, due to the shift in backend services going from vSphere 6.0 to the next version, updating the Desktop client would have required a huge investment.  This may have been okay in a vacuum, but the required resources would have severely impacted the progress of the new vSphere Client, only to end up with four clients for users to juggle."

He added that the move to vSphere Client was about creating "… the best user experience: a fast, reliable, scalable modern interface that allows you to get your work done…"

User Concerns
Not everyone is happy with the phasing out of the C# client. One commenter on the blog, who identified himself as Eric Singer, said "I'm glad you have a web client, but I hate that you're forcing it down our throats. Client / Server interfaces just run better … Even if the html5 interface is fast, it will never be as fast / snappy as a new c# client could have been."

Another poster, identified as TJ Zimmerman, took issue with that. "I see why some might prefer the fat client. However, after using the C#, HTML5, Flash, and Fusion clients, I can certainly say that the HTML5 client is the fastest, sleekest, and overall best tool to get the job done."

There was no timeframe listed for releasing the official, and officially-supported, version of vSphere Client. Lu said that the Fling development model of frequent releases with bug fixes and improvements -- currently happening for vSphere Client on a weekly basis -- is working well, and will likely continue.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.


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