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VMware Workstation 8, VMware Fusion 4 Released

VMware has released upgrades to two virtualization platforms, VMware Workstation 8 and VMware Fusion.

VMware has released upgrades to two virtualization platforms,  VMware Workstation 8 and VMware Fusion 4.

According to a press release on the VMware site, VMware Workstation 8 has a slew of new features, including a revamped UI, new sharing and remote connection capabilities, and a host of virtual machine capabilities aimed at improving the end users' virtual machine experience.

UI features include menus options that have been simplified, and a search tool that allows for easier access to VMs on connected desktops and servers. Users can also drag and drop VMs created in Workstation 8 from a desktop to vSphere.

VMs created with Workstation 8 now also support HD audio, devices sporting USB 3 ports and Bluetooth capabilities, 3-D graphics and virtual SMP. Those VMs can also be shared in a collaborative testing environment. Connections to hosts running in Workstation, vSphere and vCenter has also been improved.

VMware said that version 4 of its Fusion product, which is virtualization software for Mac users who want to run Windows and Windows-only applications in virtualized desktops on their Mac computers, sports more than 200 new features and improvements and supports the latest variants of Apple's Mac OS X Lion operating system. Mainly, the features come down to improved graphics processing that includes support for OpenGL 2.1 and DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3, and faster performance. Windows apps can also be run in panels that appear Mac-like.

Also new is the ability to pause processes on virtual machines to allow the CPU and RAM to move processing power to more important processes in other virtual machines. The advantage here is that VMs don't have to be shut down in order to be paused. VMs can also be password-protected.

One more feature that will make backups more useful is a snapshot feature that can be set manually, or at time intervals. The snapshots can be viewed in a chronological tree for easier access. Snapshots are also compatible with Apple's Time Machine backup feature.

VMware Workstation 8 is $199, with upgrades from versions 6 and 7 priced at $99. VMware Fusion 4 is available until Dec. 31, 2011 for $49.99; it's regularly $79.99.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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