Tuesday, August 7, 2007

VMware Reviews

VMware Fusion

The first thing you see when you start VMware Fusion is the Virtual Machine Library window, which will be familiar to users of Virtual PC. This window provides a list of all your virtual machines (or VM's), access to their settings, and a link to download pre-configured "VMware Appliances" from VMware's web site. VMware officially provides integration tools for 60 operating systems, which should keep even the most ardent of software testers well equipped.

Windows Support
You can drag and drop files between your Mac desktop and the "guest" Windows system, and you can copy and paste. (Fusion also can keep the PC's clock synchronized with the Mac's system clock, a useful feature if you disable the PC's networking for security.

Linux Support
We started Ubuntu 7.04 from an ISO CD image (another nice Fusion feature) and ran the installer. It installed, then restarted... and started from CD again. We explored Fusion's menus and window icons until we discovered that "Use Physical Disk Drive" in the CD icon's popup menu served to "eject" the virtual CD ISO image. This done, the new Ubuntu install started up properly.

Unlike with Windows, VMware Fusion doesn't automatically install the VMware Tools for Ubuntu 7.04; you must do it yourself. The process is roughly as follows:

start the Terminal app (Applications menu -> Accessories -> Terminal)
type tar xvfz /media/cdrom0/VMwareTools-e.x.p-51348.tar.gz
type cd vmware-tools-distrib
type sudo ./vmware-install.pl
accept all defaults
exit shell, restart Ubuntu
This is not too difficult, but someone not already familiar with installing software from a Unix command line and with Ubuntu's style of mounting removable media could be completely stymied. On the other hand, even without the VMware Tools installed, Ubuntu runs fine. But the different mouse speed, and having to press a special key sequence to exit the Ubuntu window, is inconvenient.

Migration And Compatibility
Unlike the Parallels Transporter software, which provides direct conversion from Microsoft Virtual PC for Windows and some VMware virtual machines on your Mac, VMware Converter cannot directly import its competitors' virtual machines into VMware. If you have an existing virtual machine, you'll need to install the VMware Converter into it using your old emulation or virtualization software.

Boot Camp
Although we didn't test it, VMware Fusion automatically detects Boot Camp installations of Windows XP and Vista and enables you to start it. Since Fusion virtualizes the AHCI layer of the virtual machine, it does not need to make any changes to Windows to run it inside a VM.

VMWare Fusion is priced at $79.99 (the same price as Parallels Desktop), with a $20 mail-in rebate available for purchases made at VMware's web site. No competitive cross-grade pricing is available at this time. 5 and 10 license packs are available for $249.99 and $499.99 respectively and include "2 annual email incidents." Retailers may also offer discounts; VMware Fusion is $65 at Amazon with free shipping.

(Parallels Desktop is priced at $79.99. A second copy can be purchased directly from Parallels web site at the same time for $59.99. Parallels Desktop is $67 at Amazon with free shipping.)

Well integrated into Mac experience
Rapid VM suspend/resume
Low performance impact on Mac environment
3D hardware acceleration for games

Only one snapshot per VM
Linux tools dependencies may flummox non-experts
Exposé drawing problems in Windows

Source : www.macintouch.com

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