VMware Server 2 Beta: Use Virtual Infrastructure Client to Speed Up Administration

The web interface for VMware Server 2 Beta for Linux is garbage; it’s both slow and unattractive. Even VMware Server 1 and ESX Server 2.5 from years ago had a faster/nicer web interface. VMware Server looks a bit like ESX and my experience with ESX taught me that it can be administered with both the web interface and Virtual Infrastructure Client (VIC). I wondered if perhaps Server 2 could be administered with VIC too and fortunately, my hunch was confirmed by the VMware forums.

VIC on VMware Server Beta 2 is much faster than the web interface and even provides a more information about the VMs resource histories. It can be assumed that pushing the slower web interface for the free product isn’t so much tech driven as it is marketing/$$ driven but that’s only a guess. VIC is a big part of the high end, high price ESX server but can be also be found hidden in the rpms and tarballs of VMware Server. I could not find it, however, in the Windows version of VMware Server 2, even after extracting contents of the executable using the /a option.

To find the VIC (Windows only client, Linux clients are out of luck) in an RPM, run the following commands:

mkdir vmware
mv VMware-server-e.x.p-63231.x86_64.rpm vmware/
cd vmware
rpm2cpio VMware-server-e.x.p-63231.x86_64.rpm  | cpio -i --make-directories

The file can then be found at ./usr/lib/vmware/hostd/docroot/client/VMware-viclient.exe. As for the tarball, expand it (tar -xvzf or WinRAR in Windows) and the file can be found at ./vmware-server-distrib/lib/hostd/docroot/client/VMware-viclient.exe.

The thick client is so much nicer; I know it’s unlikely that I’ll ever use the resource intensive MUI so I uninstalled it by running:

chkconfig httpd.vmware off
vmware-uninstall-mui.pl

Even though I ran the uninstaller, the MUI magically started up on the next reboot so I modified the permissions on /etc/init.d/vmware and then commented out the following line: $watchdog -s webAccess -u 30 -q 5 “$webAccess $webAccessOpts start” > /dev/null 2>&1 &. I then restarted the vmware service and it worked exactly as I hoped.

Aside from the bad web interface, I’m really impressed by this version of VMware server and I’m definitely recommending it at work once the final arrives. I honestly hope that Microsoft’s new virtualization platform can impress me as much and even more once their product matures. As for xen, I successfully set it up in SuSE, it was eas as pie. However, my Opteron 270 doesn’t appear to support hardware virtualization (even though AMD’s docs say they do, perhaps I have to upgrade my BIOS) so I can’t run Windows VMs. Totally unacceptable. xen is something I want to keep an eye on, though. Big companies like Citrix, Oracle and Sun are using it in their own virtualization platforms. Now to find a test server that supports hardware VT…

Update: You can also find the VMware-viclient.exe here on some .edu website. I haven’t used it and can’t vouch for its safety, but it’s there (at least for now) in the event that you don’t want to go through all of the above steps. The timestamp on it is December 2007 which is good for now, but I woudln’t use it past June 2008.

Chrissy is a PowerShell MVP who has worked in IT for nearly 20 years, and currently serves as a Sr. Database Engineer in Belgium. Always an avid scripter, she attended the Monad session at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles back in 2005 and has worked and played with PowerShell ever since. Chrissy is currently pursuing an MS in Systems Engineering at Regis University and helps maintain RealCajunRecipes.com in her spare time. She holds a number of certifications, including those relating to SQL Server, SuSE Linux, SharePoint and network security. She recently became co-lead of the SQL PASS PowerShell Virtual Chapter. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

Posted in Linux, VMware
15 comments on “VMware Server 2 Beta: Use Virtual Infrastructure Client to Speed Up Administration
  1. Daniel VAN DRIESTEN says:

    On Ubuntu 7.10 :
    “chkconfig httpd.vmware off” command not found
    “vmware-uninstall-mui.pl” command not found
    I commented the line: $watchdog -s webAccess -u 30 -q 5 “$webAccess $webAccessOpts start” > /dev/null 2>&1 & and after a “reboot” vmware is not started and not accessible from “VMware-viclient.exe”.

  2. Chrissy says:

    Hey Daniel,
    Sorry, I’m not sure what to say. Did you do a locate to see if those were available? My install is on SuSE 10.3 and came from VMware’s RPM.

  3. Iain says:

    Hey first off nice site looks like you’ve put a good bit of effort and information into it!

    And on topic this is such a useful post!
    Unfortunately as pointed out above ‘chkconfig’ only works on a few distro’s RHEL SuSe and maybe some more but not everything else.
    For them simply stop all vmware services and edit the /etc/init.d/ files mentioned :)

    Also you can download the vmware client from https://your-ip:port/client/VMware-viclient.exe assuming you haven’t stopped the web service yet.

  4. Dave says:

    For Linux I downloaded the server consolse. Its now a seperate download. I didn’t check if its available for windows. I run windows inside vmware.

  5. Shawn says:

    Just stumbled upon this site. Very nice job! I’m finding a TON of useful stuff here!

  6. Jota Blen says:

    YESSSS!!!!

    Curl, I haven’t check if the startup works fine, but the rest is working really good!!!

    Thanx a lot man.

    (Got you on my bookMarks now ;-))

  7. Thelen says:

    Iain | February 13, 2008 @ 5:45 am

    Yes, i can confirm in the latest build of VMware server, you can get to it via
    https://your-ip:port/client/VMware-viclient.exe

    Thanks for that, i was getting fed up with the slow FF plugin :)

  8. Ryan says:

    I have been playing with VMWare for a while and I really didn’t like the web access…

    I thought I would just comment that to turn of web access with the released version of server 2 just comment the following line:

    #vmware_start_webAccess

    ;)

  9. Magallo says:

    Hi all! Thanks for the topic, it’s very useful. I was able to download the VMware Infrastructure Client directly from my vmware server 2 installation pointing my browser at https://your-ip:port/client/VMware-viclient.exe. I successfully installed it on my WindowsXP machine. I launch it, I enter the vmware server ip address, the root username and password but unfortunately when I press the login button, an error occurs:

    VMware Infrastructure Client could not establish the initial connection with server “”.
    Details: A connection failure occurred.

    Obviously I am able to contact correctly the server, with ping and also using my web browser with https://your-ip:port/ui

    Someone can help me please? What is wrong?

  10. Jason Gegere says:

    I was also able to find the VMware-viclient.exe in the tar archive. example if the file I used VMware-server-e.x.p-63231.i386.tar.gz

  11. Rick says:

    Magallo,

    I had also had problems connecting with the server. The fix was to append the port number 8333 to the address/name in the first field of the login box — e.g., myHost:8333

  12. PCartagena says:

    One problem I am finding with connecting to VMServer in this matter is the fact that I now cannot connect USB devices to my virtual machine since ESX does not support this.

    Do you have any recommendations for this?

  13. candy says:

    I am sorry.
    In fact, I enter the URL “https://My server IP:8333/client/VMware-viclient.exe” and permit the certicification. However, there is nothing happen.
    I think maybe I can find the file in my server, but I found nothing in”E:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Server\hostd\docroot\client” except the file client.xml.

4 Pings/Trackbacks for "VMware Server 2 Beta: Use Virtual Infrastructure Client to Speed Up Administration"
  1. […] just find the interface very slow and hard work to use. As mentionend by Chrissy there is a VMware Infrastructure Client (2.5) that can be used instead of the Web […]

  2. […] installed it on top of SuSE 11.1 and while I ran into a few issues during the install, a few of my older posts totally helped me out (thanks […]

  3. […] intensive Web Access/Web MUI is not required to administer VMware Server 2. As I detailed in a previous post, the same Windows-only thick client used to administer ESX Server, Virtual Infrastructure Client […]

  4. […] » VMware Server 2 Beta: Use Virtual Infrastructure Client to Speed Up Administration – February 18th ( tags: vmware sysadmin client gui hack infrastructure linux utilities ) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*