Uninstall the VSI plug-in

I mean who wants to do that? Well turns out lots of people. I’ve had my share of battling with the VSI plug-in but I expect it with all my development environments. It has come to my attention, though, that many customers also experience the joy of trying to uninstall the plug-in. This is a typical, frustrated statement I hear: “I unregistered the vCenter in SIS, the plug-in looked gone, and then when I logged in it was back!”

I feel your pain. It’s happened to me, too. Fortunately I’m going to supply you with the steps to get rid the plug-in so it doesn’t come back (unless you want it to).

Just a quick reminder about VSI since I assume if you are removing it, you installed it. VSI is comprised of two components:  SIS vApp and VSI plug-in. The vApp is deployed first and then you log in and register the vCenter which in turn installs the plug-in into the vSphere Web Client. When done successfully you’ll see this:

From this screen, however, the only thing you can do is disable the plug-in which is not what you want. There may be many reasons you want to remove the plug-in – wrong vCenter, wrong version, failed installation, or you just don’t want it. I don’t judge – you want it gone. So normally you can uninstall the plug-in by simply unregistering the vCenter in SIS:

Sometime this process hangs, sometimes it says it works but doesn’t, etc. In any case it should be your first step. If you run this and it succeeds (which is most of the time), log back into the vCenter and check the plug-in list. If it is not listed, you should be good. If it doesn’t work, or if the plug-in inexplicably comes back, you can do a combination of steps (VMware and Dell EMC) to permanently remove it. And here they are:

1. In a web browser, navigate to http://vCenter_Server_name_or_IP/mob. You will get the following credential screen where you should supply the administrator user.

2. You will see the following screen with a successful login. Click on “content”.

3. In this next screen, select “ExtensionManager”.

4. Here is where the components of the plug-ins are listed. Click the “more” button to expand the list. I have highlighted all the extensions that are related to VSI. As you can see there are a fair few.

5. Now we have to unregister all these extensions – yes, all of them. Let’s not leave anything out there. Now, depending on your version of VSI this list may or may not be the same. That’s fine. Simply look for the extensions that have either “vsi” or “emc” in the name. Note that I’m assuming VSI is the only EMC plug-in you have. If there is another one you are using, and I can’t think of an example right now, just double-check the extension name so you don’t accidentally remove it. To unregister an extension, scroll down in the page above and find the “Methods” section and click “UnregisterExtension”. Before doing that though, check the column on the left which lists what value is returned when an unregistration is successful. For the extension we want to see “void”. Not sure why VMware wouldn’t use “success”, but anyway onward.

6. When you select “UnregisterExtension” a new browser pop-up appears. What you need to do now is go through every extension in step 4, place it in the value field below and select “Invoke Method”. Remember for each one you want a “void” result as the purple circle shows. Make sure you remove the quotes from the extension before invoking. If you leave the quotes it will return a NotFound result.

7. Once you remove all the extensions, refresh the extension screen to be sure they really are gone. This is the end of the VMware steps.

8. As I mentioned there is a Dell EMC step. This is the removal of the VSI directory on the vCenter. So remove this directory according to your vCenter type:

  • Windows vCenter, delete this directory: C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\vSphereWebClient\server\EMC
  • If have an appliance (VCSA) delete this directory: /storage/vsphere-client/EMC

9. Finally reboot the vSphere Web Client and VSI is gone forever (or until you install it again).

I recently helped a customer through these steps and they said it worked as advertised so I’m confident it will work for you if you need it. Remember, the very first step is always to try to remove the plug-in normally via SIS, but if it fails you now have a solution.

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