VMware labs Guest Console is a great tool
I’ve been taking some time when it’s available to play with some of the great tools available from the VMware Labs site that launched recently. The Labs site offers tools developed by talented people that are not yet ready for general release but are very good programs. The latest one that I tried was the VMware Guest Console. Not knowing what it was going to be since there are a few others like this from 3rd party developers already.
The VGC as it’s also known has been a pleasant surprise. It’s way more than just a remote control application. I have broken down some of the biggest features below along with screen shots. Some of my favorite features so far are the ability to open a putty session to the ESX host, Open the VM console or RDP session to the VM from the application. You can also use file explorer to see the local drives on the VM and Task Manager of the VM to see what processes are running. You can download the VGC application here.
Once you have connected to a ESX host or vCenter server you will get many of the standard options for a host or virtual machine. You work with snapshots of a Virtual Machine such as Create, Go To or Remove a Snapshot. There are also the standard VMware power related tools to allow for power on/off, reset and suspend of a Virtual Machine. You also have the option to upgrade the tools in the guest machine.
Lets take a look at the guest console options. You have a few options related to the Terminal and Console buttons depending on if you are selecting a Host or Guest machine. You can see from the picture below that if you choose the console selection from menu while selecting a Guest machine you will get the VM console of that guest. From there you can use the Device menu to connect to a Floppy or CD image and see details about the network adapters. Along the bottom of the screen you also have icons giving you feed back about what devices are connected to this guest machine. You can launch a RDP session by clicking the Terminal button while selecting a Windows guest machine.
Next up would be the ability to look into the Guest machine and work with Task Manager. Once you have authenticated with the Guest machine you will be able to access the Task Manager to see and interact with the process running on the machine. For this I used a Windows guest machine and was able to End a process or End a similar process by right clicking on an item. If you use the Applications menu from the menu at the top you can also select the “New Task” selection to execute a application in the Guest Machine. There is also an option to Save Processes Details which will export to a .CSV file. The file will give you a listing of the processes running at the time of the capture into a file.
Next up would be the File Explorer section. From this section you will be able to browse the local drives of the Guest Machine much like using Windows Explorer. From here you can choose to download a file or folder and also be able to upload files to the Guest. This could be very handy in uploading something that you need to while connected to the console.
There are a few other basic features of the application that are very similar to working with guests and the host from the vSphere client or vCenter server so I did not cover them here. One nice thing was the ability to click on a host then the Virtual Machine tab and you get the following view that shows things like Guest name, IP Address, Uptime, OS Type, Authenticated user and some basic virtual hardware information.
So if any of these features sound appealing to you I would highly suggest that you give the VGC a test run and see how it might help you in your daily work. Remember you can download it from the VMware Labs.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design