A couple weeks ago Mark Gabryjelski (@markgabbs) presented a ProfessionalVMware.com vBrownBag on Home Lab Builds. Unfortunately my schedule has not allowed me to join in on a vBrownBag live in good while. Luckily for all of us the follow-up recordings are usually available just a day or two after (joining live is still WAY better).
One of the interesting tools that was mentioned (lot of #vBrownBag twitter discussion during the BrownBag) during the vBrownBag was JumpSquares. The JumpSquares project from Kendrick Coleman is a bookmarking tool that allows you to bookmark not only URLs but also SSH, RDP, and VNC. JumpSquares is available in two flavors: a hosted SaaS version or an appliance you can download and deploy.
If you have trouble keeping up with all the different access UIs and servers in your lab (vCenter, vCOPs, vCO, NAS Admin UI, etc, etc, etc) JumpSquares may be the simple (and FREE) solution you are looking for. You can easily setup bookmarks, or squares, to the URLs for Administration interfaces. JumpSquares also provides the ability to configure and launch SSH, RDP, or VNC access from a square.
I am using the appliance version and below is the main JumpSquare page for my home lab. As you can see in the image I have created JumpSquares for quick access to the UIs in my lab.
Adding a new JumpSquare is very simple. You just provide the name, the URL for access, select the application type, and the IP address or hostname for SSH, RDP, or VNC access. You can also select tags to associate with the JumpSquare and provide a description. I typically use the description field to keep track of usernames and passwords.
Adding tags and associating tags with squares make it easy to group squares and search them to quickly find the access you are looking for. When tags are added they also show in a menu that can be clicked to show just the JumpSquares with the tag. The following images show the JumpSquares I have tagged with “vmware”.
Using SSH with JumpSquares requires the FireSSH plugin be installed. If the plugin is installed an SSH client is launched within the browser. This works great in FireFox, even though the Plugin is available for Chrome (and I use it regularly). I could not get it working with JumpSquares and Chrome (granted I did not do a lot of digging – there may be something that can be done to get it to work – if so let me know in the comments).
JumpSquares is great tool that is a tremendous help in keeping the home lab organized. The SaaS version is easy to use and appliance version is easy to deploy and configure. Both are free and definitely worth a look. For more information check out the JumpSquares project page on Kendrick Coleman’s site.