The VMware Labs flings monthly for January 2018

It’s that time of the month again with the update flings from VMware labs. In January seven flings received an updated while no new flings have been released, it can’t have a launch party every month can we? Six familiar names with the vSphere HTML5 Web Client, Desktop Watermark, Horizon Toolbox, HCIBench, Blockchain on vSphere and the OS Optimization tool plus the lesser updated (last update august 2016) DoD Security Technical Implementation Guide(STIG) ESXi VIB.

DoD Security Technical Implementation Guide(STIG) ESXi VIB

This one is for the people who have to implement a very high security on their vSphere environment. Please read the changelog, no STIG has been released yet for vSphere 6.5! Since it’s a lesser updated one I will give you the complete description from the fling site:

The DoD Security Technical Implementation Guide (‘STIG’) ESXi VIB is a Fling that provides a custom VMware-signed ESXi vSphere Installation Bundle (‘VIB’) to assist in remediating Defense Information Systems Agency STIG controls for ESXi. This VIB has been developed to help customers rapidly implement the more challenging aspects of the vSphere STIG. These include the fact that installation is time consuming and must be done manually on the ESXi hosts. In certain cases, it may require complex scripting, or even development of an in-house VIB that would not be officially digitally signed by VMware (and therefore would not be deployed as a normal patch would). The need for a VMware-signed VIB is due to the system level files that are to be replaced. These files cannot be modified at a community supported acceptance level. The use of the VMware-signed STIG VIB provides customers the following benefits:

  • The ability to use vSphere Update Manager (‘VUM’) to quickly deploy the VIB to ESXi hosts (you cannot do this with a customer created VIB)
  • The ability to use VUM to quickly check if all ESXi hosts have the STIG VIB installed and therefore are also in compliance
  • No need to manually replace and copy files directly on each ESXi host in your environment
  • No need to create complex shell scripts that run each time ESXi boots to re-apply settings

Changelog

Update January 2018

Added 6.5 STIG VIB to the downloads section. **Please note this is not based on a DISA STIG as a 6.5 STIG has not been released**

VMware OS Optimization Tool

No need to say a lot about this fling. If you need to optimize a windows system this has been the goto tool for years.

Changelog

January 4, 2018

  • Issue fix: Can not access public templates

Blockchain on vSphere

Want to build & test blockchain applications? This might be a handy tool in your toolbox for that.

Changelog

Jan 15 2018, BoV 1.1

  • Designed to run on PKS(Pivotal Container Services), and validated in PKS Beta
  • Integrate Blockchain Explorer into BoV which makes it easier to view/monitor peers, transactions, etc
  • Enhance BoV to support saving blocks and channel data to persistent volume
  • Optimize the installation process
  • Provide a default channel for blockchain applications
  • Update Fabric to 1.0.5

HCIBench

Specially build to benchmark VSAN clusters but can be used to test any HCI.

Changelog

Version 1.6.5.2

  • Added case comparisons by generating an XLS file for each test folder
  • Fixed bug when there’s white space in datastore name or test name

Horizon Toolbox

Missing anything in the (crappy) Horizon? There is a chance that it might be in this tool!

Changelog

2018 Jan 18

  • Horizon 7.4 support
  • Some bug fixes

Desktop Watermark

Do you want to be sure one of your desktops is used for auditing. With this tool you can set an (in)visible watermark.

Changelog

Build 1127

  • This build is signed now.

Addition

  • Password protection for the configuration & uninstallation
    • was supposed to be added in the previous release as well so might be a copy/paste error

vSphere HTML5 Web Client

Do I really need to add a description to this one? There is a html5 client build into vSphere these days but this version is updated very often and is becoming more and more on par with the (yuck) flash client.

Changelog

Fling 3.33 – Build 7616394

New Features

  • Support for PCI and Shared PCI devices for a VM
  • Create vApp wizard
  • Clone vApp wizard
  • vApp move to Host & Cluster
  • Duplicate a VM customization specification to another VC and with custom name/description
  • Synchronize Licenses action (former Import License Keys Data)
  • Assets’ details
  • Ability to edit VM Advanced configurations in Edit Settings of the VM
  • Change the shortcuts for Power Operations in VMware tools section in the Edit Settings of the VM
  • Change the maximum concurrent VMRC sessions for a VM in the Edit Settings

Bug Fixes

  • Can add an existing hard disk in Edit Settings for VM residing on datastore cluster

Known Issues

  • Creation of child vApp wizard is not working – the workaround is to create a child vApp as separate vApp and use move to operation to move it under the parent one.

Fling 3.32 – Build 7496117

New Features

  • vApp power operations
  • vApp move to operation to folder operation
  • vApp rename operation
  • vApp delete operation
  • vApp export to OVF template

Improvements

  • vApp related VMs tab, datastore tab and networking
  • Add Permission action on VM templates

New and updated VMware flings for july 2017

Intro

I decided to make this almost monthly post a bit wider and just post updates and new releases of all flings in that month. There are four flings that have been updated at least once this month.

New Flings

There has been one new release this month:

DRS Lens

During the development fase at some point DRS Lens was named DRS Goggle so if you talk to me irl it might be possible that I call it that way. What this Flings does is give you insight in DRS activity. In several dashboards it will help the user visualize why DRS did or maybe didn’t move those vm’s you are so attached to.

As VMware vSphere DRS has become more widely adopted now, more and more users are interested in knowing how it works. They need more insights into DRS activity and actions. They want to know the value that DRS provides to their clusters. DRS Lens is an attempt to provide a UI-based solution to help understand DRS better.

DRS Lens provides a simple, yet powerful interface to highlight the value proposition of vSphere DRS. Providing answers to simple questions about DRS will help quell many of the common concerns that users may have. DRS Lens provides different dashboards in the form of tabs for each cluster being monitored.

Changelog

Version 1.1

  • Added login compatibility to 5.5 vCenter
  • Fixed VC certificate parsing bug found with some 5.5 vCenters

Updated flings

These Flings have received one or more updates during this month.

Horizon Toolbox 2

The Horizon toolbox 2 has been updated to version 7.2 and since Horizon 7.2 itself now contains a Remote Assistance feature in the helpdesk part this has been removed from the fling. This is stil one of my favorite flings that has functionality that should be in Horizon itself!

Changelog

2017 Jul 17

New Features

  • Support Horizon 7.2. Horizon Toolbox uses the same version as the latest supported Horizon.
  • Support end users’ actions auditing (agent side), including USB storage, Client Drive Redirection and Clipboard.
  • Support vSphere Console Access to all Parent Images.

Bug Fixes

  • Fix one bug which caused the number of concurrent sessions not accurate.
  • Fix one bug which caused missed domains in login page.

Removed Features

  • Remote Assistance is part of Horizon 7.2 production (in Help Desk). So we have removed this feature from Horizon Toolbox.

vSphere html5 web client

The updates for this really great fling don’t get a date but a build number. I could find that 3.16 was released early July so I decided to take that one as the oldest for the changelog of the vSphere html5 web client.

Changelog

Fling 3.18 – Build 6163115

Improvements

  • Upgrade distributed switch wizard now supports the upgrade of LACP to Enhanced mode and the upgrade of Network I/O Control to version 3.
  • View settings of link aggregation groups on a distributed switch

Fling 3.17 – Build 6088028

New Features

  • Create VM Storage Policy (limited)
    • Migrate Host Networking to a Distributed Switch
    • Configure default gateway address on VMkernel adapters (ESX 6.5 only)
    • Network I/O Control v3 – configure shares, reservation and limit for the different types of system traffic
    • Customize hardware options when cloning VM or deploying VM from template
    • Create VVol Storage Policies

Improvements

  • Warn when about to edit the settings or perform snapshot operations on VM managed by a solution
  • Warning message when uploading files bigger than the datastore free space

Known Issues

  • Import Item into Content Library is not working.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed the bug on import workflow in content library

Fling 3.16 – Build 5956761

New Features

  • Create VM Storage Policy (limited)
    • Create vSAN Policy (without Tags)
    • Create Policy with Tags and Common rules
  • Distributed Switch
    • Manage physical network adapters at the host level
    • LACP support – view the link aggregation groups created on a distributed switch
    • Upgrade distributed switch wizard
  • SR-IOV support – enable/disable SR-IOV on physical network adapters that support it
  • Content Library
    • Tags, notes, subscription/Publication portlet
    • Edit settings on the content library
    • Delete Content Library
    • Synchronize Library

Improvements

  • Select TCP/IP stack while creating new VMkernel network adapter

Known Issues

  • Import Item into Content Library is not working.

HCIBench

HCIBench is a tool developed for benchmarking the hyper-converged infrastructure. It not only works for VSAN but for all kinds of hyper-converged solutions. Again this tool has no build date but version but the Internet Waybackmachine found for me that 1.6.1 was released back in february.

Changelog

Version 1.6.2

  • Integrated with vSAN Performance Diagnostic of vSphere_6.5U1/vSAN_6.6.1.
  • Added DHCP Service validation.
  • Added Vdbench workload profile validation.
  • Removed the root password expiration policy.
  • Changed results display to show full file names.
  • Changed easy-run calculation from host basis to disk-group basis.

Bye bye good old vSphere Client

As seen about everywhere on the interwebs VMware has announced it’s saying bye bye to the good old C# Client, with the next release of vShpere it will not be available anymore. Don’t be afraid that you now need to use the flash client (which has improved considerably in recent vSphere 6.0 releases!) because Vmware has also announced the HTML5 Web Client will be a supported release pretty soon. For your ESXi hosts the HTML5 Host Client already was embedded in 6.0u2.

I can rewrite this but VMware describes it this way on their blog:

Today we have two important announcements. First, the C# client (AKA Desktop Client/thick client/vSphere Client for Windows) will not be available for the next version of vSphere. Current versions of vSphere (6.0, 5.5) will not be affected, as those will follow the standard support period. You’ve heard this from us in the past, but we’ve been waiting for a sufficient replacement before finally moving forward. Second, we want to talk about the recent vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling, user adoption, and VMware’s focus on bringing a great user experience. Like the Embedded Host Client Fling (which made it into vSphere in 6.0U2), we plan on bringing this product into a supported release soon.

We’ll be referring to the new client as the vSphere Client, as it better describes the product, and isn’t a ten syllable mouthful (vSphere HTML5 Web Client).

Looking to the Future

VMware has been working towards the transition to HTML5 with the Platform Services Controller UI, vCenter Server Appliance Management UI, and the Host Client. All three of these were very well received and have become the official interfaces for their respective components. The last (and biggest) one to tackle was the management interface for vCenter Server.

vSphere Web Client has always been intended to be the replacement for the Desktop client, and many of our users have tried to embrace this during the vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.0 periods, spending their time working within the Web Client even with the Desktop client available.

While there were certainly issues with the 5.5 and 6.0 Web Client, many users that committed to the experience came to enjoy many of the new features and usability improvements. We also continued to listen to our customers, making further efforts to improve the Web Client experience have been made across 5.5U3, 6.0U1 and 6.0U2, including VUM (vSphere Update Manager) in 6.0U1 Web Client. We have made the Desktop client available during this period, which was much longer than originally planned. But now that time is ending.

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. We decided to focus on bringing the new vSphere Client (HTML5 based) up to speed as fast as possible, simultaneously offering a great user experience and getting off of Flash.

The new vSphere Client (HTML5)

(Try it here: https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vsphere-html5-web-client)

2016-03-07_1741_H5client_-_screenshot0

This decision is about VMware trying to provide the best user experience: a fast, reliable, scalable modern interface that allows you to get your work done is our primary goal. The new vSphere Client is the best way to achieve that goal. Many have already tried out the Fling (https://labs.vmware.com/flings/vsphere-html5-web-client), with approximately 40% of survey respondents deploying it into Production and using it daily to manage their critical environments. With this Fling, we’ll keep the user experience mostly the same as the Web Client, which we’ve improved, based on your feedback. We also plan on making additional improvements to make it easier for C# users to transition.

One benefit of the Fling delivery model is very fast turnaround. We’ve been able to release a new version of the Fling every week, with new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements. More importantly, we’ve been able to quickly incorporate user feedback into the product. Sometimes this means simple bug fixes, sometimes this means changing our priorities to better address user needs. While this pace and model of delivery may not be used for the fully supported releases, due to testing time required, we likely will continue to use the Fling releases to stay on track with users. A fundamental part of this high touch engagement model is users staying as up-to-date as possible, and most of our Fling users are doing just that, so thank you!

Plugins

We also recognize how important plugins are, and the transition from Web Client to vSphere Client will take second and third-party plugins into account. We’ve already started engaging with plugin developers of all sorts to get them moving to the HTML bridge, which will allow the creation of a single plugin that is forward and backward compatible with both the vSphere Client and the Web Client, creating a smooth transition path. If you require more information on plugin migration, please contact us. One great source of information is this site which contains a lot of future looking information about vCenter. This site will be updated as more information becomes available, so keep an eye on it: http://www.vmware.com/products/vcenter-server/future-overview/overview.html

We do expect the plugin transition to take some time, and this means that we expect to ship the Flex based Web Client and the HTML5 based vSphere Client side by side for some uncertain period. Everyone is very eager to have the new vSphere Client as the only client, but we want to respect the porting development time our partners require.

Seeking your Feedback

Hopefully these announcements come as a shock to no one – they are simply a reiteration of the message VMware has given for years. We are continually working to make vSphere Client a fast, reliable, and scalable product that provides a great overall experience. If you have any comments, please post them below. We’d like to hear feedback from all points of view, as we look to the future instead of the past.

Dennis Lu

Product Manager, vSphere Clients