VMware Server 2 for Linux: HOW-TO Disable VMware Virtual Infrastructure Web Access

Many people are not aware that VMware Server's resource 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 (VIC) 2.5, can also be used for administration.

While the "webAccess" MUI can be disabled, disabling the rather lightweight HTTP/HTTPS services entirely is not recommended, as they are required for VIC to work. I still can't believe how much RAM webAccess requires -- more than quadruple that of the virtualization engine itself!

According to pmap, webAccess (which can be found at /usr/lib/vmware/webAccess/java/jre1.5.0_15/bin/webAccess) uses ~485MB of RAM while the virtualization engine, hostd uses just 120MB. So if you'd like to disable that monstrosity, you will have to modify one file. If you don't want to do so without shutting down the virtualization engine itself, you will have to modify the same file twice. Here's how to do it without shutting down the engine.

Modify /etc/init.d/vmware, comment out line 1202: #vmware_stop_hostd

Next, shut down webAccess. service vmware-mgmt stop

Then, open up /etc/init.d/vmware again and uncomment line 1202 then comment out line 1901. #vmware_start_webAccess

hostd is already running so you don't need to stop/restart anything at this point. Now you're done -- later hosebeast of a poorly designed MUI. :D Btw, If you want to turn off HTTP/HTTPS access completely (strangely, I didn't see any reduction in memory usage when I did this), comment out the _entire_ section in the file /etc/vmware/hostd/proxy.xml and restart hostd. service vmware-mgmt stop && service vmware-mgmt start

Edit: Joe @ 4sysops.net points out a downside:

The only down side to doing that is if you use the VI Client you can only create and manage virtual machines at version 4, not version 7 like the web interface uses. So, if you create a VM in WI, you can’t manage it with VI Client. You would want to pick one or the other to use primarily. I prefer the web interface, unless I were to add a VMware Server 2.0 machine to Virtual Center. I am hoping they update virtual center at some point to support version 7 virtual machines.

So you may want to consider that before disabling webAccess. Ultimately, I ended up wiping VMWare Server 2 and using ESXi 3.5 instead.