Key features made available with this first release of Mobile Watchlist include:
- Easily creates a flexible set of VM watchlists -- Users connect to their vCenter inventory to tag and create a subset of important VMs they want to remotely track and monitor. Virtual machines can be organized into multiple lists to create custom, filtered watchlists that provide the user with a more focused view of the environment. While the application currently has no fixed limit on the number of watchlists or the number of VMs that can be monitored, there could be a limit based on the hardware capabilities of the mobile phone in terms of memory and processing power. The other current limitation is that it only monitors one vCenter at a time.
- Provides at-a-glance view of VMs -- Users can quickly review the status (state, health, console and related objects) of each tagged VM from the mobile device.
- Offers remote remediation -- Remediation directly from the mobile device is based on power operations (start, stop, and suspend) on the VM, and the user can reset and/or acknowledge VM alerts. If VMware Tools is installed in the virtual machine, additional operations are available to reset and shut down the guest operating system.
- Allows delegating remediation -- For issues that cannot be corrected from a smartphone, users can delegate remediation to on-site colleagues by sending VM alerts along with relevant linked VMware Knowledge Base articles (or other articles from the Web) via email directly from within the application. Colleagues back in the datacenter can use this information to resolve the issue.
- Suggests KB articles -- Mobile Watchlist can suggest a VMware Knowledge Base article that might provide assistance in solving an alert received on a tracked VM.
Any time a new management application or add-on is announced, a common concern is centered on security, which is why VMware designed the security of Mobile Watchlist to remain consistent with the already-approved VMware Web client currently being used by virtually anyone using vSphere. The new mobile app requires the same level of security and access control in order to be functional. In many cases that means access to the corporate network via a VPN connection, while access using certificates is also supported as well.
When asked specifically about security, VMware told InfoWorld:
The Watchlist app uses the authentication and security model that comes with the vSphere API -- SSL is required for authenticated access and so a digital certificate is expected. And just like the access through a Web client, the user can choose to trust (or self-sign) access.
With regard to VPN, Watchlist is subject to the same security layer as any other application accessing an enterprise network. If VPN is required to access services, then the user needs to install a VPN client that is compatible with the organization's network security access policy. Watchlist, along with any other app running concurrently, will use the secure tunnel provided by a VPN.
Another useful capability is that the mobile application can be operated in read-only mode. This allows users with less permission to still monitor the status of the VMs in the environment. The level of what that user can monitor and/or remediate is directly controlled by the user's profile and permissions already set by the organization.
VMware is currently focusing Mobile Watchlist development efforts on Android and iOS smartphone devices. However, there are reports that some users have successfully launched the application on other mobile platforms, such as a Windows Phone or Blackberry, when combined with third-party applications found on the Apple or Google Play stores.
This article, "VMware releases vSphere Mobile Watchlist for Android and iOS smartphones," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.