Take Five With Tom Fenton

5 VMware Flings Worth Your Time

They're free and useful, but not officially supported, so use with caution.

VMware has been releasing some really useful Flings lately. Flings are software created by VMware for the benefit of VMware customers; they're not official VMware products, and therefore aren't supported by the company. Still, they can be extremely useful. VMware occasionally uses Flings to gauge the interest of the VMware community for a particular technology, or to test a technology in the wild before it ends up in a VMware product. Here are five VMware Flings that have caught my own interest, and that you might find useful.

  1. vSphere HTML5 Web 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.

  2. VMware Host Client. The vSphere HTML5 Web Client was designed to monitor and manage an entire vSphere cluster, and requires a separate virtual machine to operate. In contrast, the VMware Host Client was designed to manage a single ESXi Host, and does not require a separate VM to operate. With VMware Host Client, you simply point your HTML5-compliant browser at the IP address of an ESXi host, and you're ready to manage and monitor that host.

  3.  VMware OS Optimization Tool. I'd be willing to bet that this is VMware's most popular Fling, as anyone running VMware Horizon View is -- or should be -- using it. The Optimization tool applies VMware's best practices regarding enabling and disabling Windows services and features for a VDI desktop to Windows systems. Some people I've talked to say they have seen a 30 percent reduction in resource usage on OSes using the tool.

  4. Horizon Toolbox 2. As its name implies, this is a collection of tools to assist in the monitoring, managing and administration of Horizon. Horizon Toolbox 2 is one of VMware's better documented Flings: it has a guide, whitepaper and active feedback page.

  5. ESXtopNGC Plugin. This is one of my personal favorite Flings, as it allows you to view esxtop metrics on the Web Client. Esxtop metrics are extremely useful, and not having to pop open an SSH console to access them is very convenient. Unfortunately, the ESXtopNGC plugin has not yet been updated to vSphere 6, so I can only use it on my 5.5 servers.

Whether you're looking for handy utilities to manage your vSphere and View environment, or need a tool that will optimize your View desktops, one of these Flings will be a great help. These five Flings, like all VMware Flings, are free to use and don't require any form of registration to download. The downside is that  they're only supported through the community via the online support forums.

About the Author

Tom Fenton works in VMware's Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.

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