Using the VMware vSphere Mobile Watchlist App
It’s been quiet on the mobile application front for VMware for more than a year, so much so that I was beginning to think they had given up. My opinion changed when a little VMware surprise called the vSphere Mobile Watchlist recently appeared in the Google Play and Apple app stores. This new mobile application allows you to connect remotely to VMware vCenter servers and manage virtual machines. It also allows you to lookup VM configuration details and perform other basic functions.
Editor’s Note: According to a blog post by VMware a “…VMware vSphere installation (5.0 and above) is required to use VMware vSphere Mobile Watchlist…” and using the application may also require secure access (possibly via VPN) to your IT environment.
vSphere Mobile Watchlist: What Can It Do?
The image below shows a watchlist I created for one of the vCenters in my lab. The list is a group of VMs that I selected. You can create a number of different watchlists that can include all or just selected VMs. You can use a list to easily check on virtual machines. Some examples for separate lists might be on a per-application basis or a per-cluster list. The options are wide open here, and you will be able to create them for your own management needs.
The next two images show that you can find out more details such as networking, operating system, and host location, by drilling down into a specific VM. This can be done by touching the VM of your choice within the app. This can be very helpful for the admin on the run who needs to look up information on a virtual machine or restart a VM that has crashed.
Say the phone rings and an application owner is screaming at you about a server that is not pinging anymore, but you are sitting in the break room enjoying the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that your mom cut the crusts off for you. Your laptop is back at your desk on the eighth floor, and it will take ten minutes to get there. Instead, you simply grab your mobile device and fire up the vSphere Watchlist app.
From the app you can see from the console image that the VM has a Windows blue screen. You need to restart the VM so that the application can come back online. You select the VM from the list, and as the following image shows, you can see the functions that you can perform on the VM. From here its as easy as tapping the reset choice and waiting for it to come back online.
While you cannot open a console session with a virtual machine, you can see its current status. The image below shows the snapshot that you would see for the VM that you select. This gives you a point-in-time view of the status of the virtual machine.
The application is decent for its first release, and I hope that VMware continues development and adds more features soon. Another thing I would like to see is a tablet version that offers expanded capabilities to allow for better remote management and reporting – perhaps the ability to look at performance stats in the future.