VMware Workstation is powerful desktop virtualization software for software developers/testers and enterprise IT professionals that runs multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single PC. Users can run Windows, Linux, NetWare, or Solaris x86 in fully networked, portable virtual machines - no rebooting or hard drive partitioning required. VMware Workstation delivers excellent performance and advanced features such as memory optimization and the ability to manage multi-tier configurations. Essential features such as virtual networking, live snapshots, drag and drop and shared folders, and PXE support make VMware Workstation the most powerful and indispensable tool for enterprise IT developers and system administrators.
With millions of customers and dozens of major product awards over the last six years, VMware Workstation is a proven technology that improves productivity and flexibility. An indispensable tool for software developers and IT professionals worldwide.
VMware Workstation works by enabling multiple operating systems and their applications to run concurrently on a single physical machine. These operating systems and applications are isolated in secure virtual machines that co-exist on a single piece of hardware. The VMware virtualization layer maps the physical hardware resources to the virtual machine's resources, so each virtual machine has its own CPU, memory, disks, I/O devices, etc. Virtual machines are the full equivalent of a standard x86 machine.
VMware Workstation enables users to:
• Configure and test multi-tier applications, application updates, and operating system patches on a single PC
• Easily restore or share archived test environments, reducing repetitive configuration and set-up time
• Streamline computer-based training by allowing students to always start from a "clean" state and experiment with multiple operating systems, applications, and tools in secure, isolated virtual machines
• Run software demos of complex or multi-tier configurations on a single laptop
• Accelerate help desk resolution of end-user problems with a library of pre-configured virtual machines
Changes in VMware Workstation 6.5.1:
New Support for 32-Bit and 64-Bit Operating Systems
This release provides experimental support for the following operating systems:
32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows Preinstallation environment (all versions) as a guest operating system
32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows Recovery environment as a guest operating system
32-bit and 64-bit Ubuntu LTS 8.04.1 as a guest operating system
This release provides full support for the following operating systems in addition to those operating systems supported in previous releases:
32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Standard, Datacenter, and Enterprise (without Hyper-V) as guest operating systems
32-bit and 64-bit Asianux 3 as a guest operating system
32-bit and 64-bit CentOS 5.0-5.2 as host and guest operating systems
32-bit and 64-bit Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.0-5.2 as host and guest operating systems
32-bit and 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, Update 7 (Workstation, Enterprise Server, and Advanced Server) as host and guest operating systems
32-bit and 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 and 5.2 (Advanced Platform, Desktop, and Server) as host and guest operating systems
32-bit and 64-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and 10 SP1 and SP2 as host and guest operating systems
32-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP2 as a guest operating system
32-bit and 64-bit Mandriva Linux 2008 as a guest operating system
32-bit and 64-bit Ubuntu LTS 8.04 as host and guest operating systems
32-bit and 64-bit Solaris 10 Operating System for x86 Platforms, 10 5/08 (Update 5), as a guest operating system
Major New Features
Enhanced VMware ACE authoring — Use ACE (Assured Computing Environment) features to package and deploy Pocket ACE and desktop virtual machines with encryption, restricted network access, and device control. VMware ACE authoring features are now fully integrated with Workstation, and no special ACE Edition is required. In addition to the new features listed here, be sure to read about new ACE-specific features in the VMware ACE 2.5 release notes.
Unity mode — Integrate your favorite guest applications with your host. Open the application window, enter Unity mode, and the Workstation window is automatically minimized. The guest application windows look just like host application windows, but with color-coded borders. You can access the virtual machine's Start menu (for Windows virtual machines) or Applications menu (for Linux virtual machines) by placing the mouse pointer over the host's Start or Applications menu, or by using a key combination.
Note: Unity mode is supported only experimentally for Linux guests.
Accelerated 3-D graphics on Windows XP guests — Workstation 6.5 virtual machines now work with applications that use DirectX 9 accelerated graphics with shaders up through Shader Model 2.0 on Windows XP guests. Hosts can be running Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Linux.
More powerful record/replay of VM execution activity — Easily enable this powerful debugging tool, which records full system behavior, including all CPU and device activity. You can now insert markers while creating or playing back a recording and quickly navigate to these markers during replay. You can also browse a recording to replay from any spot.
Virtual machine streaming — You can now download a virtual machine from a Web server and power it on without waiting for the download to complete. Use the command-line startup command (vmware for Workstation or vmplayer for VMware Player) with the URL of the virtual machine. The download can also be paused and restarted.
Note: This feature is not available for ACE instances. Also this feature does not yet work with HTTP redirects.
Better internationalization support and mobility with Unicode — Workstation 6.5 now stores and processes your virtual machine data with a Unicode (UTF-8) encoding. This means you can now create a virtual machine with international text in its metadata and that same virtual machine can be used by other users of Workstation 6.5 (Windows and Linux) or Fusion 2.0 (Mac), even if they are using a system with a completely different host language encoding. For instance, you could create a virtual machine on a German Windows XP host with an umlaut character in the virtual machine's name, and then give it to a user of Workstation 6.5 on a Linux host using a simplified Chinese encoding. The virtual machine still functions properly and the umlaut character is properly displayed in the virtual machine's name.
Easy Install option for Windows and Linux guest operating systems — When you create a virtual machine, you now have the option of entering a few pieces of information so that installation of the guest operating system and VMware Tools is performed in an unattended fashion. Easy install is supported on newer Windows operating systems and some versions of the following Linux operating systems: Red Hat, Mandriva, and Ubuntu.
Installer bundle for Linux hosts — Installing Workstation on Linux hosts just got a lot easier. The new bundle format provides a graphical UI wizard for most Linux operating systems. With a few mouse clicks, Workstation is installed. For users who want a custom installation, a command-line interface provides complete control.
Virtual Network Editor for Linux hosts — On Linux hosts, the new Virtual Network Editor now provides a graphical user interface for creating and configuring virtual networks.
Expanded in-product help system — When you choose Help > Help Topics, or click a Help button in a dialog box, you have access to four times as much content as was provided in Workstation 6.0.
Integration with VMware Converter 3.0.3 — This release includes the Conversion wizard component from VMware Converter 3.0.3. You can now use File > Import to create virtual machines from Acronis True Image files in addition to the Microsoft Virtual PC, Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, and StorageCraft ShadowProtect file types previously supported. You can also convert Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF) appliances. For Microsoft Virtual PC and Microsoft Virtual Server virtual machines, you now have the option of sharing the source virtual hard disk (.vhd) files.
New features for VMware Player — VMware Player now includes the following features, which were previously available only in Workstation:
While in full screen mode, you can now switch from one powered-on virtual machine to another.
Unity mode is available, so that you can open your favorite guest applications in windows on your host desktop.
Both Windows and Linux hosts now support suspending the virtual machine when exiting.
Networking performance using NAT — You will see significant improvements in networking performance if a virtual machine is configured to use NAT. Performance is ten times better than in the previous release in some cases.
Folder sharing and dragging, dropping, copying, and pasting text and files — Transferring files between virtual machines or between host and guests using these features is up to 25 percent faster.
USB devices — Several optimizations have reduced latency of I/O to USB devices by as much as 50 percent.
I/O performance — A new asynchronous I/O manager boosts performance on Windows hosts under heavy I/O loads.
VMCI performance — Applications that use the Virtual Machine Communication Interface will see a significant increase in throughput. Several optimizations have been added.
For more information about performance tuning, see the new Performance Best Practices and Benchmarking Guidelines.
New Platform Capabilities
New virtual hardware version — This new hardware version lets you use the following new features if the guest operating system supports them: Add or remove some virtual devices while the virtual machine is powered on ("hot-plug"). Use LSI Logic SAS (serial attached SCSI) adapters in the virtual machine. Hot-add virtual CPUs and memory to guests that support this functionality. For virtual machines with this hardware version, 3-D graphics capabilities are enabled by default for Windows 2000 and later guest operating systems and most Linux guests.
(Experimental) Support for smart cards in virtual machines — You can plug a smart card reader into a host and insert your smart card to authenticate yourself on your host or on a guest. Smart cards can be shared between the host and guests or between guests.
Replicate the physical network connection state for mobile users — If you use virtual machines on a laptop or other mobile device, enable this new link state propagation feature if you use bridged network connections (not NAT). As you move from one wired or wireless network to another, the IP address is automatically renewed.
Text copy and paste enhancements — On Windows guests, you can copy and paste text in rich text format, and copy up to 4MB of text. (On Linux guests, the old limitations still apply. You can copy and paste up to 64K of plain text.)
(Experimental) Replay debugging — Record the execution of an application you want to debug and then use the Integrated Virtual Debugger for Visual Studio to examine the recording repeatedly. No debugging is performed during the recording process, so debugging activities do not affect the normal execution of an application. This powerful tool enables you to fix bugs that cannot be reliably reproduced.
You can also use reverse-execution debugging, which is analogous to forward execution, except the application runs until it reaches the previous breakpoint, data breakpoint, or exception. For the most up-to-date documentation on this feature, see Appendix C of the Workstation User's Manual.
VMCI Sockets interface — Developers who want to write client-server applications for virtual machines can now use this sockets interface for the Virtual Machine Communication Interface. VMCI provides a faster means of communication among applications running on the host and in virtual machines. See the VMCI Sockets Programming Guide.
Updated VIX 1.6 API — The VIX API allows you to write scripts and programs to automate virtual machine operations. The API is available in the C language. There are additional language bindings for Perl and COM. See the VIX API 1.6 release notes and the VIX API Reference Guide.
(Experimental) VAssert API for inserting replay-only code to debug applications — Use virtual assertions as you would regular assertions in the applications you develop. The benefit of VAsserts is that they appear only when you replay a recording using the application and so are overhead-free. This API is currently available for Windows guests. See the VAssert Programming Guide.
VProbes tool for investigating guest behavior — You can write VProbes scripts that inspect and record activities in the guest, VMM, VMX, and virtual device state, without modifying that state. For example, VProbes can track which applications are running or indicate which processes are causing page faults. See the VProbes Programming Reference.
vmrun enhancements — Many command-line options have been added to this command-line interface for operating virtual machines. See Using vmrun to Control Virtual Machines.