vSphere Web Client vs. vSphere Client (C# Client)

Since VMware introduced the vSphere Web Client there is a common question: Which vSphere client should I use? The answer simple: You need both! 

There are many new features within vSphere 5.1 which are only available though the Web Client. But there are also many reasons to use the old C# Client: Some features and plugins are not implemented in the Web Client Client. There is no doubt that you need both clients to configure your vSphere 5.1 environment. But which client should you use for day-to-day work or for configuration tasks that are available in both clients?

This post has been updated to include vSphere 5.5 Features

Which Client should a use for simple configuration tasks and day-to-day work?
Most people are working with the C# client since many years. So any configuration tasks are much more intuitive and fluent when using the old client. But there are many great features like "Work in Progress", better search, host profile automation and many more improvements in the Web Client that can really lighten your workload. There are also some ambiguous configuration tasks like distributed port groups. You get different result when creating portgroups with different clients. So my advice is:

  1. Use the Web Client for configuration tasks and day-to-day work whenever possible!
  2. Be carefull when using the C# client because you sometimes get different results!
  3. Learn the Web Client! It is way better when you know it as good as the C# Client!

When you are using the C# Client because you are under time constrains and you think it's faster - Go PowerCLI :-)

Which Features are only available with one client?
This table shows the configuration tasks or features that require the use of a specific client. At least now you should know why you still need both clients at the moment.

vSphere Client
Web Client
Connect direct to an ESXi Host
yes
no
Custom Attributes
yes
no
Tags
no
yes
Maps
yes
no
Single Sign On
no
yes
Work In Progress
no
yes
Pre-emptive Searching
no
yes
Save Searches
no
yes
vCenter Orchestrator
Workflow Ingegration
no
yes
VM Hardware Version 9
no
yes
vSphere Update Manager
yes
no
vSphere Data Recovery (VDR)
yes
no
vSphere Data Protection (VDP)
no
yes
vSphere Replication
no
yes
Log Browser
no
yes
Virtual Distributed Switch
Configuration Export
no
yes
Virtual Distributed Switch
Health Checks
no
yes
Virtual Distributed Switch
Elastic Port Groups
no
yes
VXLAN Networking
yes
no
Enhanced vMotion
(shared nothing)
no
yes
vSAN Configuration
no
yes
Upload Files to vSAN Datastore
no
yes
Big Data Extensions
no
yes
vSphere Flash Read Cache
no
yes
VM Hardware Version 10
no
yes
Manage >2TB VMDK
no
yes

Please do not hesitate to comment when there are any changes to the Web Client or additional considerable differences.

  1. vSphere Web Client vs. vSphere Client Appl. (c#) | 768kb - pingback on January 28, 2014 at 9:17 am
  2. You don't mention VMware SRM (site recovery manager that work only in the c# client and do not work in the web client.

  3. this chart needs to be updated!!

    • This chart only reflects vSphere 5.5. Since vSphere 6.0 you should switch to the Web Client, with the next release you have to.

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