The free utility vSphere Alert Center from VMware allows you to set up alerts from multiple vCenter Servers directly to your desktop. The tool has been released by the VMware Flings website, which is a laboratory for experimental, useful, and cool utilities for VMware products.

Many of the Flings presented and released on the site are later integrated as product features within vSphere, ESXi, or other VMware products. Today, we'll have a look at the latest one, called vSphere Alert Center. Please note that all Flings are experimental and covered with a Technology Preview license only.

This tool is useful for vSphere administrators, as it provides vSphere alerts on your desktop even when your vSphere client isn't open and you are not logged in to your vCenter Server via vSphere client.

You can install it on your desktop/laptop and have alerts pulled from one or more vCenter Servers that you manage. Many admins working for different organizations, as consultants, do need to take care of multiple vCenter Servers. This tool enables them to have alerts from multiple vCenters that aren't running in linked mode but rather in separate environments.

vSphere Alert Center System Requirements

You'll need Windows, Linux, or MacOS as your OS for installation.

  • Windows: Windows 7 and newer
  • Linux: Ubuntu 14.04 and newer, Fedora 24 and newer, Debian 8 and newer
  • MacOS: macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) and newer

Configuring Alert Center

I did a quick test on the lab, where I downloaded a Windows version and installed it on my W11 desktop system, but you can download MAC or Linux versions from the same page as well.

After installation, a window pops up where you can set up a master password (mandatory). This enables you to protect access to the app and the client's data via a master login.

Set up master password after installation

Set up master password after installation

Note that this is the first version of the app.

You can choose between light or dark themes

You can choose between light or dark themes

Once you have set the master password, the app will restart, asking you to reenter the password. After that, the main window opens, and you can add your first vCenter Server.

As this is a lab, I'm running only a single vCenter Server; I cannot test a multi vCenter Server environment. But you get the idea. The vCenter Servers can be from multiple single sign-on (SSO) domains and do not need to be linked together. They're completely separate.

Add your first vCenter Server instance

Add your first vCenter Server instance

Note: Remember to provide your username in the format of "administrator@your_sso_name"; otherwise, you'll get an error when logging in. In many environments, the admin password is set to default SSO, which is administrator@vsphere.local, but this is not necessarily a hard-and-fast rule.

Once you're logged in, you can see your vCenter instances. In my case, I have only a single vCenter. You can add, edit, remove, or open vSphere UI links above the selected instances.

Note the Load Alarms button at the top right corner. This allows you to manually pull new alarms (if any) for the selected vCenter Server. Imagine that you have set a large number in the notification settings. To receive the latest alerts, you can get them manually via the Load Alarms button. Pretty neat.

vCenter instances in the vSphere Alert Center

vCenter instances in the vSphere Alert Center

The vSphere Alert Center pulls the notifications at predefined intervals. You can change the interval at which the app pulls the vCenter alerts to something higher (default is 5 min) through File > Preferences. To change the value, simply drag the handle to the left or right.

You can modify the time interval at which vCenter alarms are pulled

You can modify the time interval at which vCenter alarms are pulled

Via the File menu options, you can change the master password, reset the program to its defaults, change the theme, log out, or close the program.

The login/password combination and all the details about the pulled alarms are stored on the local file system but are encrypted.

Other File menu options

Other File menu options

The vSphere Alert Center tool download link and product page are here.

Final words

The vSphere Alert Center tool is very useful for VMware consultants, vSphere admins, and IT pros responsible for monitoring vCenter Server alarms. You don't have to open a vSphere client and look at which alarms have triggered. The free utility fetches the alerts for you at predefined intervals.

You could obviously set email notifications and get vCenter alerts by email, but if you don't want your email box flooded with many emails, it's better not to do this.

With vSphere Alert Center, you can monitor several client installations when on site or when logging in from remote locations. When you need to troubleshoot some alarm in more detail, simply open the vSphere web client and log in to that particular vCenter Server.

Imagine you have 20 or more clients with different vCenter Server systems to monitor. You can centralize your monitoring with this tool and set up additional email reporting if needed.

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The free vSphere Alert Center tool is a first release. I like it very much, as it is so simple to use. I think that many VMware consultants and admins who deal with multiple vCenter Servers will like it.


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