For all of you Mac users out there, you already know that VMware Fusion is a fantastic tool that lets you have your cake and eat it too. Personally, I love VMware Fusion. I'm not a huge OS X guy, but love my shiny MacBook Pro. But, without Fusion, I wouldn't be doing much with the machine.
Fusion 3.0 was certainly a step in the right direction and added a variety of new features, including support for Windows Aero, great support for Windows 7 guests and a variety of performance improvements. Recently, VMware made available a release candidate of VMware Fusion 3.1, which takes the product one step further by continuing to improve performance. I will admit that, although I'm a huge Fusion fan, there is a noticeable performance difference between Windows 7 on my Mac (with Fusion 3.0) and Windows 7 elsewhere. Of course, the virtualization layer means that the system will take at least some performance hit, but it seems extreme at times.
Here's a list of major improvements right from VMware:
- More Responsive: Much better responsiveness of resumed virtual machines and faster disk performance overall
- Graphics Get Faster: Improved performance and better compatibility for both DirectX 9 and OpenGL 3D apps
- Unity Better Than Ever: Support for overlapping Unity windows in Expose and Dock Exposé
- OVFTool 2: Import and export OVF packaged virtual machines and upload to vSphere with bundled OVFTool
In the forums, VMware Fusion 3.1 is receiving very good feedback from a performance perspective, with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 users reporting noticeable speed gains with the release candidate. In my own use, Fusion 3.1 certainly performs much better than 3.0 and provides a very positive user experience.