VMware's desktop plan: On your command line, unleash hell!

Refreshed Workstation, Fusion, add network simulators, Win 10 fun, container-friendly APIs

By Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor

Posted in Virtualization, 23rd August 2017 04:01 GMT

VMware's refreshed its Workstation and Fusion desktop hypervisors, which are now in version 14 and 10 respectively.

To the jaded, cynical minds strapped to The Register's virtualization desk, the most eyebrow-raising new feature is a Network Latency Simulator in Workstation. The tool lets users unleash hell on virtual networks by adding latency or other unpleasant network conditions, the better to test how VMs will behave once they go to work in the real world.

Workstation's also been imbued with the ability to host Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Ubuntu 17.04 and Fedora 26. The upgrade can also emulate UEFI and the Windows Trusted Platform Module. It's also now possible to run Hyper-V inside a VM inside Workstation, which will be helpful for those working on Windows VMs.

The application's also been made better at swallowing VMs encoded as .OVF and . OVA files, to make it easier to work with the vCenter Server Appliance.

Another new feature is the addition of the ability to power on or off VMs tended to by vCenter or ESXi. This feature's been added to make Workstation a better remote management tool, in recognition of the fact that while vSphere's new HTML 5 interface is lovely, admins sometimes want more granular tools. The new feature also means that vAdmins can stay in Workstation for longer, instead of opening the new tool too.

Workstation 14's full version will cost $249.99 while the Player, designed as a way to run a VM on the desktop and without management powers, will cost $149.99.

Fusion, which runs on Macs, has gained an API that lets it be addressed programatically. This is important for VMware because plenty of developers work with Docker or Vagrant, but those tools go looking for Oracle's VirtualBox when building test environments. Adding an API to Fusion means Mac-wielding developers can now have those builds happen inside VMware's hypervisor if they so choose. That choice isn't free: Fusion Pro costs US$159 and the basic package is $79. VirtualBox is offered without consideration.

VMware's product line marketing manager Michael Roy also shed some light on the state of Workstation and Fusion, explaining that last year's layoffs of Stateside developers saw work shifted to a team in Beijing, China, that already contributed design work to the hypervisors. The team working on the tools remains the same size, he said.

Roy also said that VMware remains committed to the products because they are remain “relevant” to the company in two dimensions. The first is that VMware people use Workstation and Fusion themselves, indeed the product is a branch of vSphere. VMware customers also appreciate the product, making its continued evolution desirable. That demand creates the second point of relevancy: ongoing good margins.

Parallels universe

Another desktop hypervisor vendor, Parallels, has also chosen today to give the world a new product.

The company's popped out the 13th edition of Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac, adding the ability to add Windows applications to the Mac pro's Touch Bar, and to use the touch-sensitive panel within Windows applications. There's also a new picture-in-picture view that lets users see multiple VMs in their own Windows even while working in MacOS.

The company's also teased a Business Edition the company says “lets IT admins deliver, lock and secure an invisible Windows VM with selected applications to a user's Mac Dock.” Which sounds handy. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

3 Comments

More from The Register

VMware's GM for networking and security jumps to Google

Veteran Jeff Jennings to get the band back together with VMware founder Diane Greene

VMware vids revealing new vSphere vanish

Blink and you’ll have what missed what looks like a premature promo release

VMware ponders baking backup into VSAN

And disaster recovery too, by painting a target on AWS

VMware to finally deliver full-function HTML5 vSphere client

It’ll only have been two-and-a-half years from launch to landing

VMware and Microsoft make up and get NSX-y together

Virtzilla's virtual cloud networking push is on and Switchzilla is in its sights

Beware VMware! Nutanix sprays all over Virtzilla's networking territory

Teases FLOW product as alternative to NSX

Dell sell-off saga gets weird: Subsidiary VMware may buy parent in 'reverse merger'

Buy-out would let Big Mike swerve IPO headaches

Roses are red, violets are blue, VMware's made a new vSphere for you

Version 6.7 should land in Q2, may end support for older CPUs

Forking hell! VMware now has TWO current versions of vSphere

One for vSphere veterans, one for hybrid hipsters, plus a security surprise

VMware sticks finger in Meltdown/Spectre dike for virtual appliances

Proper patches under way, but for now - to your command lines, vAdmins!