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

Comparing the Two Clients

vSphere Client

vSphere Web Client

Locally installed application.

Windows operating system only.

Can connect to vCenter Server or directly to hosts.

Full range of administrative functionality except new features introduced in vSphere 5.1.

Web application.

Cross platform.

Can connect to vCenter Server only.

Full range of administrative functionality.

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.