Review: vCloud 9.5 HTML5 Tenant Interface

Introduction

After quite some time dealing with vCloud Director's flash interface I was pleased to discover that VMWare was seriously considering a complete rebuild into HTML5. Although the initial version was not entirely fully featured, it was a long needed change in style, speed and usability that flash interfaces seemed never to be able to achieve.

Now, we are pleased to introduce the latest installment the new HTML5 Tenant Interface in all its glory. From the first look I was very impressed but after giving it a good whirl I'm glad to say that it does not disappoint. It's the first time a competitor to the flash interface has given us real control.

How Do I Access It?

All of our vCloud environments contain the HTML5 Tenant Portal feature.

To access the feature simply add the following to your regular portal hostname as follows:

https://vdc.(syd or mel).mhn.net.au/tenant/<vCloud Organisation Name>

Eg.

Let's Take a Look

Fundamentally we are still looking at the same information as we were in the previous interface, just set out in a more intuitive, appealing and responsive way.

vApps are in tiles by default but you can still have a list option for all of your viewports if you prefer.

Virtual Machines are more of the same - as you would expect. It's functional, fast and to the point which is really all we need.

Notable Features

Speed and Usable Design

The HTML5 interface is quite fast overall and much more logically arranged than the former flash version. At last, no more waiting for tabs to populate or load errors and the virtual console is finally native to HTML5.

VM Monitoring Charts

Monitoring charts by default are not included in the vCloud interface. Previously VMWare provided a complicated third party method to storing and displaying statistics but with the latest version charts are in full view. The metrics are comparable to what you would find in vCenter and I'm sure our customers are glad to have real time first person access to what is going on in their environment.

In short - everyone is stoked!

VM vApp Reassignment

This was a feature that I have been really excited to see, and it works great. Finally we can re-assign VMs to different vApps using one quick and simple process. I know I'll get some use out of this feature from day one.

Independent Disk Control

This isn't exactly a new concept but it's nice to see that the UI designers have recognised that one VM may have disks assigned from multiple storage types. Mixing disk types is a handy concept for maximising cost efficiency.

Complex RBAC Permissions

VMWare have reworked the user administration component of vCloud 9.5. The new interfaces comes with a much more granular way to configure roles within an organisation providing much more flexibility than before. You can now create custom roles for you and your staff.

Conclusion

Overall I feel like VMWare stepped up to the plate on this one. The cumbersome nature of flash/java in general has seen the new interface provide us some relief and some solid functionality that will make all of our lives much easier.

If you really aren't ready for the change, don't worry, the flash interface is sticking around for a while until it finally goes in the bin. vCloud 9.5 has a swag of new features itself but I think just the enhancements in the new interface are worth some focus. If you would like to read about the full 9.5 features in detail please see VMWare's official release here.