All administrative functions are available through the vSphere Client. A subset of those functions is available through the vSphere Web Client.

Comparing the Two Clients

vSphere Client

vSphere Web Client

For infrastructure configuration and day-to-day operations.

For day-to-day operations.

Locally installed application.

Windows operating system only.

Can connect to vCenter Server or directly to hosts.

Full range of administrative functionality.

Web application.

Cross platform.

Can connect to only vCenter Server.

Subset of full functionality, focused on virtual machine deployment and basic monitoring functions. Cannot configure hosts, clusters, networks, datastores, or datastore clusters.

Extensible plug-in-based architecture.

Users: Virtual infrastructure administrators for specialized functions.

Users: Virtual infrastructure administrators, help desk, network operations center operators, virtual machine owners.

The vSphere Client uses the VMware API to access vCenter Server. After the user is authenticated, a session starts in vCenter Server, and the user sees the resources and virtual machines that are assigned to the user. For virtual machine console access, the vSphere Client first uses the VMware API to obtain the virtual machine location from vCenter Server. The vSphere Client then connects to the appropriate host and provides access to the virtual machine console.

Users can use the vSphere Web Client to access vCenter Server through a Web browser. The vSphere Web Client uses the VMware API to mediate the communication between the browser and the vCenter Server.