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VMware Workstation 8: You Win

Like many other virtualization professionals, I have done most of my work in the type 1 hypervisor space. This has been a reflection of my professional responsibilities as well as whom I try to blog for. To that end, I had up until this time preferred Oracle VM VirtualBox for all of my Type 2 hypervisor usage. In fact, nearly one year ago today, I wrote a column as to why I like VirtualBox.

Enter VMware Workstation 8. Have you seen this thing? WOW! This is a serious type 2 hypervisor, and it plays right into the hands of the everyday IT professional who works with vSphere environments. All kinds of killer features, like integrating into vSphere or ESXi servers, native support for nested ESXi virtual machines, linked clones, unity, and the ability to run Hyper-V guest VMs on Workstation 8 (see Fig. 1).

The VMware Workstation 8 interface allows a number of new features to be brought into one console.

Figure 1. The VMware Workstation 8 interface allows a number of new features to be brought into one console. (Click image to view larger version.)

While all of these features are not new, it surely rounds out VMware's solutions. Probably the best use case is the enhanced support for ESXi as a guest VM. While it's not supported for production, we all have used it at some point for a test environment (I'm sure). In fact, if anyone has ever had to take a mobile vSphere lab with them for a demo or such, this surely is a practice we all have leveraged. Take a look at this post on the VCritical blog to learn more about the enhanced virtual lab setup possible with ESXi 5 and VMware Workstation 8.

While VirtualBox hasn't abandoned VirtualBox since the acquisition from Sun, the features don't match up. Furthermore, one of my biggest sticking points has been price. I'm pretty cheap, and even though VirtualBox is free, I'm no longer using it. It didn't take much for me to do a virtual 180 degree turn on my preference for type 2 hypervisors, but hat's off to VMware on this one. Workstation 8 is bringing it.

Are you still averting Workstation 8? If so, why? Share your comments here.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 10/05/2011 at 12:48 PM


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