Posted by: Eric Siebert
Eric Siebert, Linux and virtualization, Microsoft, VMware
As this long running thread in the VMware forums indicates, many users are frustrated with VMware’s lack of support for a Linux-based Virtual Infrastructure client to manage VI3 environments. Currently, the VI Client will run only under Windows (as it’s written in .NET), so Linux shops are forced to purchase and install Windows to run it. An alternative web interface does exist; however, it can only manage virtual machine operations and not the ESX hosts which severely limits its usefulness to VMware administrators.
While VMware has not officially announced any plans to develop cross-platform versions of the VI Client or any of its other Windows-only applications, the above-mentioned thread includes one response from a VMware employee who hints that VMware may eventually release a Linux version. A Linux version of a VI Client would be considered a welcomed addition by many VMware customers, if not as an essential feature for those that are using ESX servers in non-Windows environments.
Many customers have also been wanting a Linux version of VirtualCenter, VMware’s centralized management product for ESX, and support for open source databases like MySQL. VirtualCenter will only install on a Windows server and its required database only supports Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases. You can also use SQL Express with VirtualCenter, but it is not recommended or supported for production environments. Because of this limitation, customers that wish to use VirtualCenter must also plan on the additional expense of Windows operating systems licenses for the VirtualCenter server as well as a database license if they do not already have an existing SQL/Oracle database server that they can use for the VirtualCenter database.
Unless more customers speak up and request that VMware produce cross-platform versions of their current Windows-only applications, they will probably not end up developing them. If the demand exists, there’s a better likelihood of it happening. Having Linux versions would also help VMware compete in an increasingly competitive virtualization market. If you would like to see VMware develop a Linux version of the VI Client and other applications, contact your VMware sales representatives and let them know.