VMware is expanding its desktop based virtualization solutions today with new releases of Workstation and Fusion.
VMware Workstation 8 enables desktop users to build, test and run virtual machines on their systems. The new release also now makes it easier for users to migrate to the cloud and VMware’s vSphere solution.
“You can build and test and then drag and drop for vSphere 5,” Pat Lee, director, client product management for VMware told InternetNews.com.
Lee added that Workstation 8 enables users to ramp up their cloud efforts as well by being able to remotely connect to cloud instances of applications. Going a step further, Workstation 8 can be run on a server enabling a small private cloud setup for sharing of virtual machines.
Workstation 8 also sports a rebuilt interface to take advantage of the new visibility into the virtual machine instances. The interface provides improved dashboards for monitoring and management of the VMs.
According to Lee, for many of VMware’s smaller customers their first introduction to virtualization is by way of Workstation. In his view, Workstation is complementary to vSphere, which is why the new capabilities that enable VM sharing across platforms is important. That said, Workstation running on an existing Windows or Linux server can also work as a stand-alone solution.
“There are a lot of users that have multi-purpose servers that want to add virtualization for small use-cases and Workstation 8 makes that very easy” Lee said. “When they’re ready to move to a full vSphere implementation they can just drag and drop the VMs.”
In terms of the user base for Workstation to date, Lee said Windows is a strong target market. He added that VMware also has a ‘zealous’ base of Linux users that run Workstation on Ubuntu, Red Hat and CentOS.
For those who want to take advantage of virtualization on the Mac, VMware has its latest release of Fusion. Lee said Fusion 4 has been built to enable Windows on Mac virtualization. The new release has been specifically tuned for the new Mac Lion release that came out earlier this year. Fusion now integrates with Lion’s Mission Control and Launchpad features, making Window apps part of a more seamless experience with the Mac desktop.
Additionally, Lee noted that Fusion’s snapshotting capability now more closely resembles Apple’s Time Machine for backups.
One thing that VMware is not providing with Fusion, however, is a Microsoft Windows license. Users will still need to purchase a Windows license on their own, in order to legally run Windows virtualized on a Mac.
From a competitive perspective, the Parallels virtualization desktop is a popular Windows on Mac product. In Lee’s view, VMware Fusion is different from Parallels because of how well it blends with the Mac desktop.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.