As many of you know, the ESXi Embedded Host Client project is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I have always felt that we needed a simple web interface that customers can just point their web browser to an ESXi host after a new installation and be able to quickly get started. One of the biggest benefit in addition to simplicity is that it is also very intuitive from a user experience standpoint which I believe is very important in a world where things can quickly get complex. In addition, it can also provide an interface for basic troubleshooting and support greenfield deployments where vCenter Server has not been deployed yet.
It has truly been amazing to follow the Embedded Host Client development from the initial idea to the first prototype built by VMware Engineers Kevin Christopher and Jehad Affoneh to its current implementation lead by Etienne Le Sueur and the ESXi team. I have really been fortunate to have had the opportunity to be so involved in this project. It is hard to imagine that in just little over 6 months, we have had had 5 releases of the Embedded Host Client Fling, all of which, produced with high quality development and rich feature sets.
You can click on the links below to get more details about each release.
- 08/11/15 - EHC Fling v1 released
- 08/26/15 - EHC Fling v2 released
- 10/23/15 - EHC Fling v3 released
- 12/21/15 - EHC Fling v4 released
- 02/07/16 - EHC Fling v5 released
I think its an understatement to say that customers are genuinely excited about this project as well, just look at some of the comments left on the Flings page here. Interestingly, this excitement has also been felt internally at VMware as well and I think this goes to show that the team has built something really special that affects anyone who works with VMware's ESXi Hypervisor.
So where to do we go from here? Are we done? Far from it ...
For those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I had recently refreshed my personal vSphere home lab from a Apple Mac Mini to latest Intel NUC running the yet to be release VSAN 6.2 (vSphere 6.0 Update 2). I was pleasantly surprised to see that ESXi Embedded Host Client (EHC) is now included out of the box with ESXi! Although this has been said by a few folks including myself, it is another thing to actually see it in person 🙂
Although the VMware Flings program is a great way to share and engage with our customers to get early feedback, it may not always be a viable option. As some of you may know, Flings are not officially supported and this sometimes prevents some of our customers from engaging with us and really putting the Flings through its paces. By making EHC out of the box, not only are we officially supporting it but it will also make it easier for customers to try out this new interface.
UPDATE (03/04/16) - It looks like I made a mistake and that the ESXi Embedded Host Client will NOT be released as a "Tech Preview" as previously mentioned but rather it will be officially GA'ed with vSphere 6.0 Update 2. EHC is a fully supported feature of ESXi.
Although EHC is very close to parity with the vSphere C# Client, it is still not 100% there. We will continue to improve its capabilities and if you have any feedback when trying out the EHC, do not hesitate and leave feedback or file a Feature Request through GSS. For those looking to live on the "edge" a bit more, we will still continue to release updates to the EHC Fling but if you want something that is stable, you can stick with the stock EHC included in ESXi 6.0 Update 2. We will still ship the legacy Windows vSphere C# Client, so you will not be forced to use this interface. However, it is no secret that VMware wants to get rid of the vSphere C# Client and that EHC is the future interface to standalone ESXi hosts.
One feature that I know that many of you have been asking about is Free ESXi. Well, I am please to say that support for Free ESXi has been added in the latest version of EHC included with the upcoming ESXi 6.0 Update 2 release and below is a screenshot demonstrating that it is fully functional.
Lastly, I just want to say that EHC has really morphed beyond just a "simple UI" for managing standalone ESXi hosts and has also enabled other teams at VMware to do some really amazing things and create new experiences with this interface. As I said earlier, this is just the beginning 😀 Happy Friday!
Here are some additional cool capabilities provided by EHC
- Neat way of installing or updating any VIB using just the ESXi Embedded Host Client
- How to bootstrap the VCSA using the ESXi Embedded Host Client?