Just before the Holiday season in Dec 2019, the vCenter Plugin for vRealize Network Insight which is a new Fling was released by VMware Labs.
Now you might be asking yourself “what is a fling?” well in simple terms these are applications and tools which are developed by both VMware Engineers but also the community which provide additional functionality or address a perceived product gap to our GA releases where we may want to “road test” prototypes or features without affecting the overall product and gain valuable customer feedback in the process.
These Flings can then be considered for productisation depending on how the fling performs or if there is consumer demand. A prime example is the vSphere HTML 5 Web Client which originally was released as a Fling but then added to vSphere 6.5 when it went GA and renamed to vSphere Client.
Despite being productised this fling is still maintained with periodic updates showing new functionality which is being considered for future vSphere releases.
It is important to stress that Flings are not officially supported by VMware and therefore should not be used in production environments. Also any feature shown in a fling is not guaranteed to be implemented in a GA product release.
I was recently asked to review and test this fling as part of my role in Customer Success Engineering and provide my feedback. Now being a v1.0 release it is expected that there is going to be some feature / functionality gaps so it is good to keep an open mind when using the fling.
At a glance, the fling offers the traditional vSphere Admin high level visibility into network focused data at a vCenter level without having to use a separate application. However, if they want more detail then the user has the option to log into vRealize Network Insight and can explore further as required.
The overhead to deploying the Fling is low as it is a simple Powershell script and then some post-install configuration where you specify your vRNI and vCenter instances.
This fling only works with the on-premises version of vRealize Network Insight and not vRealize Network Insight Cloud although this is currently being considered for a future release.
Full details on how to install and the fling itself are available on the download page:
I believe the fling is a useful addition and will be instrumental in helping with the increased use of vRNI across different functional teams within organisations and it now allows vSphere admins greater visibility and insight into how their network is performing without the additional overhead of accessing a 2nd UI.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave a comment or message me on twitter (@lukaswinn) if you found this article useful or have used or plan to use the Fling itself.