VMware Workstation 11 & Player 7 Pro Out

Hot off the presses is the release of VMware Workstation 11, and Player 7 Pro. Even though I have a full blown ESXi lab at home, I still find uses for VMware Workstation. For example, I have Windows 10 tech preview running in a Workstation VM. For those of you without a physical ESXi lab, Workstation is a great way to run multiple VMs on your PC. New features in Workstation 11 include:

  • Increased OS support. Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Server 2012 R2, Ubuntu 14.10, RHEL 7, CentOS 7 and OpenSUSE 13.2. Also included is support for Windows 10 technical preview (although I had this running on WS10 without issues).
  • Now sports VM hardware version 11, coming to vSphere 6.0 this spring. Features updated xHCI and NDIS drivers.
  • Improved support for high DPI displays, such as QHD+ (3200×1800)
  • When running on a Haswell PC, you can see up to a 45 percent improvement in CPU intensive operations like multi-media over Workstation 10.
  • VMs can now support 16 vCPUs, 8TB disks, 64GB of RAM and 2GB of video memory.
  • Boot VMs with EFI
  • Create desktop shortcuts for VMs
  • Connection to VMware vCloud Air. Easily upload, run and view your VMs right from Workstation.

For the full release notes, see this link. You can download Workstation 11 from here (login required). I hope that vExperts will be issued Workstation 11 license keys…crossing fingers.

VMware Releases Workstation 9.0 with Windows 8 Support

A few days ago VMware released a brand new version of their desktop virtualization product, Workstation 9.0. This release brings a lot of new features, but the biggest one is full support for Windows 8 and multi-touch. You can check out the full release notes here. Its great to see nested virtualization support, so you can run ESXi inside of Workstation 9 and power-on 64-bit VMs inside the nested ESXi instance. Great for home labs that don’t have the budget for dedicated physical ESXi servers. It’s also funny that Hyper-V is now an OS choice to run inside of Workstation…..wonder what Microsoft thinks of that?

  • Windows 8 Support– Easy install simplifies the task of creating virtual machines for Windows 8 that can run simultaneously with a variety of legacy operating systems. Unity mode intelligently works with Windows 8 applications, and multi-touch support ensures a true Windows 8 experience.

  • More Powerful Virtual Machines – Faster startup performance, USB 3.0 support for Windows 8 virtual machines, Intel™ Ivy Bridge compatibility, more powerful virtualization extensions, virtual performance counters, support for OpenGL 2.1 on Linux and improved 3D graphics performance make running highly demanding applications simple and efficient.

  • Increased Mobility – A new Web interface allows access to virtual machines running in Workstation or on VMware vSphere® from tablets, smart phones, laptops or desktop PCs. This high performance, Web-based interface delivers a native desktop experience and does not require flash or browser-based plug-ins.

  • Restricted Virtual Machines – IT administrators and instructors can create virtual machines and configure them to prevent employees or students from dragging and dropping files between virtual and physical desktops, attaching devices, or tampering with the virtual machine settings. Once restrictions are configured, the virtual machines can be encrypted and distributed to run on Mac, Windows, or Linux PCs with VMware Fusion® 5 Professional, Workstation 9, or VMware Player™ 5.

  • USB 3.0 – Workstation 9 supports attaching USB 3.0 devices to Windows 8 virtual machines. The latest portable devices use USB 3 (SuperSpeed) to achieve faster transfer rates for data. USB 3.0 devices such as portable storage devices and video equipment can be connected directly to Windows 8 and Linux virtual machines that contain in-box drivers USB 3.0 controllers.
  • Nested Virtualization – Workstation 9 improves the implementation of virtual Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI extensions. This allows users to run ESX as a guest OS and run a 64-bit operating system nested in ESX using less system resources.
  • Hyper-V – Hyper-V has been added to the Workstation 9 guest operating system list. This enables customers to run Windows 8 with Hyper-V enabled, or install Hyper-V Server. This can be used for educational purposes or for building prototype Hybrid Clouds. This feature is NOT SUPPORTED and probably never will be.

Plus there are a lot more features you can check out in the release notes. vExperts should get a free license key, so check out the vExpert private forum for more details.

VMware Workstation 8.02 Released

VMware just released Workstation 8.0.2, up from 8.0.1. This is not a major release, but has a few enhancements:

  • Ubuntu 11.10 is supported as a host.
  • Fedora 16 is supported as a guest.

Fixed bugs include:

  • The ACLs on the PID files needed improvement. VMware thanks Inode0 for bringing this to our attention.
  • Releasing input from the guest to the host, for example, moving the cursor from the virtual machine window to the host screen, failed with an unrecoverable error.
  • Copying and pasting from a guest to an Ubuntu 11.10 host failed.
  • Shared folders did not work in Fedora 16 and OpenSuse 12.1 guests.
  • In Ubuntu 11.10 hosts, key repeat was disabled after ungrabbing or quitting VMware Workstation.
  • On a Windows host, a virtual machine configured to use a physical disk or partition failed to power on if the host had a volume backed by more than one physical disk, for example, a RAID system.
  • On a machine with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 SP1, vix-perl installation failed with dynamic link errors.

This is a free update for all Workstation 8.0.2 owners. Workstation 8.0.1 included dramatic graphics acceleration with IE9, so if you are still on 8.0.0 and using IE9 in guests, you really should upgrade.

You can download Workstation 8.0.2 from here and view the release notes here.

VMware Workstation 7.0.1 Released

A couple of days ago VMware released Workstation 7.0.1. No earth shattering updates, but now officially supports Server 2008 R2 and Vista SP2 as host and guest operating systems. You can download it here and read the release notes here.

VMware Workstation 7 released!!

If you are a VMware workstation 6.x user, workstation 7 is a must have upgrade. You can read more about it here. In a blog earlier this month I listed many of the new features. Check it out! Aero Glass for Windows 7 VMs is really killer.

Virtualize ESX inside VMware Workstation

If you want to experiment with ESX(i) on your home computer and have VMware Workstation 6.5, it’s pretty easy to do. Two key steps are needed in order to be successful.

1. When creating a new VM inside Workstation for ESX(i), chose Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 64-bit.

2. After you have created your new VM in which ESX(i) will live, two additions are needed to the associated VMX file:

monitor.virtual_exec = hardware
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = TRUE

After you make these changes, install ESX(i) from the VMware installable media. Please note you can only power on 32-bit guest VMs inside of ESX(i), since VMware Workstation 6 does not virtualize the CPU’s virtual extensions. Depending on what you want to do inside ESX(i), the inability to run 64-bit VMs could be a show stopper. Of course you can run 64-bit VMs in a Workstation VM, but that’s not the same environment as ESX(i).

VMware Workstation 7.0 Release Canidate available!

Quick, run, don’t walk to the Workstation 7.0 release candidate download!

  • Full Windows 7 Host and Guest support including the ability to run Aero!
  • Improved 3D Graphics for Windows guests with OpenGL and Shader Model 3.0 support
  • Support for many new OSs including Windows Server 2008 R2, Debian 5, and ESX (Yes, you can vMotion!)
  • Create Virtual Machines with up to four processors and/or four cores and 32 GB of memory
  • ThinPrint integration enables virtual printing and makes the host printers available within the guest
  • Smart Card enhancements to enable secure authentication
  • 256-bit AES encryption of your virtual machines
  • ALSA sound for Linux users
  • Dynamic update of VMware Tools
  • Drag and Drop now works with formatted text, graphics and file attachments
  • AutoProtect your VMs with the ability to regularly schedule snapshots to be created
  • Pause a VM to instantly free up your processor
  • Replay Debugging is even more powerful and now works remotely
  • A redesigned Virtual Network Editor that is much easier to use

You can download it from VMware here.

VMware Workstation 7.0 Preview

VMware is doing a private beta/preview of Workstation 7.0. While I can’t reveal the new features due to a NDA, other people have leaked some of the possible new features. Google is your friend! Today I asked a VMware guy when the planned release was, and decoding his carefully worded statement it seems the release will be near the Windows 7 release in October. Workstation 7.0 has some great new features, so keep your eyes pealed for a public beta or the general release. I plan to install the preview later this week and start playing around with it.

They were showing off the new version of VMware Player, and it had full Aero Glass with Windows 7 and 3D graphics support.

VMware Workstation 6.5.3 Released

No major updates, but lots of bug fixes and one security patch. No mention of official Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 support, although I haven’t had any issues with them on 6.5.2.

Download it here. Release notes are here.