Friday, 21 August 2020 15:06

VMware updates Fusion and Workstation virtualisation software


New versions of VMware's Fusion and Workstation virtualisation products will be available by the end of October. Significantly, the new Fusion Player edition will for the first time move into line with Workstation in that it will be free for personal use.

For developers and other IT professionals, VMware Fusion 12 (for macOS hosts) and VMware Workstation 16 (for Windows hosts) include improved support for containers.

This comes in the form of improvements to the vctl CLI for VMware's container engine and the inclusion of the kind tool for running local Kubernetes clusters using containers as nodes.

"Developers can now slipstream Kubernetes applications from test/dev into production," said VMware cloud platform business unit vice president of marketing Lee Caswell.

According to VMware, containers built with vctl can be tested on local Kubernetes clusters to validate pipeline workflows before pushing them upstream to a central registry such as Harbor. The containers can then be implemented on VMware Cloud Foundation 4 with Tanzu production clusters in a service delivery pipeline.

Furthermore, administrators will be able to operate and maintain remote VMs on Fusion or Workstation via VMware vSphere 7, ESXi and vCenter.

Other new features and enhancements in Fusion and Workstation include support for DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1, Windows 10 Hyper-V mode (Workstation only), Windows 10 dark mode, external GPUs, sandboxed rendering (for improved security), and improved accessibility.

Fusion 12 and Fusion Player 12 will support macOS Big Sur as a host or guest operating system thanks to a rewrite making full use of Apple's hypervisor and other APIs, so no kernel extensions (kexts) are needed.

However, the hypervisors will continue to use kexts when running on Catalina.

Fusion 12 Pro and Workstation 16 Pro will each cost $299.50, or US$99 if upgrading from earlier versions.

Fusion 12 Player and Workstation 16 Player will each cost US$149, or US$79 as upgrades.

Users who bought Fusion 11.5 or Fusion 11.5 Pro after 15 June 2020 will automatically receive new license keys for Fusion 12 Player or Fusion 12 Pro, respectively.

The remaining local prices have yet to be announced.

Significantly for many potential users, Fusion 12 Player will be available free of change for personal use. That brings it in line with Oracle's VirtualBox, which is generally regarded as the poor relation of macOS virtualisation software due to its shallow integration with the host OS compared with Fusion or Parallels Desktop (which was recently updated to provide Big Sur compatibility).

"So if you're a home user who switched to Mac but want to use Windows for things like DX11 games or other personal apps, you can do so, for free, with a Personal Use License," said VMware product line manager for desktop hypervisor products Michael Roy.

Unlike the old VMware Player software, Fusion 12 Player allows the creation of virtual machines, as Workstation Player has done for a decade or so.

All four products are expected to ship by 30 October 2020.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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