Manage ESXi with VMware Workstation

One of the neat new features in VMware Workstation 8.0 is the ability to manage ESXi hosts and vCenter Server. To connect to an ESXi host or vCenter Server click the Connect to Remote Server link on the Home screen. Enter the hostname or IP address for the host and your login information. You may receive a certificate warning if your deployment is using the default self-signed certificates. You can check the “Always trust this host with this certificate” option to prevent the reoccurrence of the warning message.

Once you have connected to the host you’ll see a summary as shown below. You can tell Workstation to remember the password for this connection. The default view shows a thumbnail for each virtual machine. You can click the “Switch to list view” button to see a list of virtual machines instead. The list displays the virtual machine name and current status. The “Switch to list view” and “Switch to thumbnail view” buttons are hi-lighted in the image.

On the main screen for the host you can select to create a new virtual machine, to disconnect from the host, and to Manage AutoStart VMs. When you use the Manage AutoStart VMs screen, you can add or remove virtual machines from the autostart list that the host maintains. Note that virtual machines that you add are listed Any Order startup section. The Tasks pane displays tasks that are being generated on the host. The Tasks pane is also available when connecting to vCenter Server.

When connecting to vCenter Server you will see the VMs and Templates view. You can select a datacenter or a virtual machine folder to see a list of virtual machines within the selected entity.

When selecting a virtual machine that is not powered on the following view is shown. You can click on a lick to start the virtual machine or to edit the settings for it. If you connect to a virtual machine that is running the virtual machine tab displays the console of the virtual machine. You can switch between those views by clicking the Switch button hi-lighted in the following image.

A number of options for virtual machine management are available. If you right-click on a virtual machine the following options are available. If you need to send CTRL-ALT-DEL to the virtual machine that option is available from the VM menu. I found that the Change Hardware Compatibility and Clone options are never available even if connecting to vCenter Server.

If you have a virtual machine that you want to copy from your workstation to your host, you can simply drag and drop it on your ESXi host or to a vCenter Server datacenter or virtual machine folder.

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