As most of you are aware VMware released the vSphere Client for the iPad back in March, the client itself is fairly limited in what it offers but as a freebie offering isn’t too bad. I wanted to see however how it compared to other vSphere apps for the iPad\iPhone.
With that in mind I downloaded or purchased three vSphere Remote Management Applications.
1. VMware vSphere Client for iPad
3. Project Eureka LLC’s iVMControl
Of the three tested only the VMware vSphere client required additional infrastructure in place to function (the VMware vCenter Mobile Access appliance), the other two apps just worked.
VMware vSphere Client for iPad
Here we can see pretty much the entire functionality of the VMware vSphere Client, as you can see it doesn’t really offer you too much.
In the screenshots above you can pretty much see the limit of the VMware vSphere Client for the iPad, add the additional appliance requirement and this makes the product a little lacking in features and functionality. In my opinion its missing mission critical functionality such as vMotion, it’s missing Cluster awareness (DRS\HA functionality) and is also missing the ability to connect to the guest via either RDP or VNC, instead you’re going to have to rely on another third party tool for that function.
From a functionality point of view the VMware vSphere Client doesn’t rate very highly, from a graphical standpoint the application is lovely, but let’s face it we don’t use it for it’s looks.
Nym Networks iDatacenter
Before VMware had even announced back at VMworld 2010 the availability of the vSphere Client for iPad there was already a tool out there for those requiring the ability to manage their vSphere environments, this was the application by Nym Networks called iDatacenter. On release this was priced at about the £8.99 area and offered a wide range of functionality for those wanting to manage their vSphere infrastructures.
As you can see with iDatacenter we don’t have too much here to do either, a couple of things missing such as vMotion, Guest Connectivity and performance information, one strange thing I did see was that whilst it’s missing vMotion it has the ability to svMotion between datastores, nice but honestly having vMotion instead of svMotion would have been better.
Since the original release of iDatacenter the product has changed into an open sourced project, what this has meant is that the price of the software has drastically reduced and no longer costs close to £10, obviously it’s still not as cheap as free so I would have to question whether this is a better offering over the free VMware vSphere Client for iPad.
Project Eureka LLC iVMControl
Finally I had a look at iVMControl from Project Eureka LLC, this is the application with the greatest feature set and in my opinion the best of the three tested. Whilst it does have an increased feature set however it also has an increased price, not only that but there are also in app purchases available to allow for different functionality.
Paid for addons include – vMotion, Snapshots and Screenshots.
As you can see with the amount of screenshots with this app this does have a lot more functionality but it still isn’t the app that can do everything, it’s not the replacement for a full on vSphere client but it does come close.
What it’s missing are the ability to return an ESXi server from Standby (something I have requested), it doesn’t yet offer svMotion or DRS\HA features and it doesn’t allow for tweaking of performance information or VM hardware but what it does offer is a lot more useful than the two previous tools, added to that is the fact that this application is the only one that will also work on the iPhone (and there is an Android port for those of you running Android tablets\handsets).
As I mentioned previously however this is also the most expensive app, when I purchased it back in January it cost me £5.99, since then I have made two in app purchases for the Snapshot functionality (£0.59) and vMotion (£2.99) and that still leaves the £0.59 purchase for the screenshots that I haven’t purchased.
What I have concluded is that remote management of your vSphere environment is possible using an iPad but it may require you to utilise additional hardware for trickier operations (for those operations that I can’t do with the iPad clients I simply RDP to a remote management PC I have running which has the vSphere client installed on it). What I can tell you however is that all three of the clients perform very well over 3G and VPN because as you can see from the screenshots all of these screenshots were taken on my iPad when it was tethered to my iPhone and I didn’t have any performance issues at all.
If I were out there looking for an application which allowed me to manage (to a degree) my vSphere environment then I wouldn’t hesitate to use the iVMControl app every time, it has more functionality and features than the previous two combined at a decent price.