It's probably safe to say that, for many of us, VMware's Workstation product has long been a staple in our virtual labs. I know it has been for me. For years, I've relied on VMware Workstation to provide me with the opportunity to build out complex, complete lab infrastructures that would have otherwise required a half dozen or more heat-producing, sound-polluting physical computers. With Workstation, I've also massively increased my productivity since I no longer have to rebuild my environment because of a simple error. Instead, I simply revert to the most recent set of snapshots and continue on my merry way without interruption.
This week, VMware released the latest edition of this popular tool. Version 7.1 of VMware Workstations adds a number of features and includes significant enhancement and continues to make strides in closing the gap between virtual and physical performance and capabilities. With the addition of seven new supported guest operating systems and four new host operating systems, Workstation expands its platform support. Specifically, Workstation 7.1 adds guest support for:
- Ubuntu 8.04.4
- Ubunti 10.04
- OpenSUSE 11.2
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5
- Fedora 12
- Debian 5.0.4
- Mandriva 2009.1
From a feature standpoint, Workstation 7.1 is vastly superior to older editions of the product, adding:
- Eight-way SMP support. VMs can now individually use up to eight processing cores. If this isn't the basis for what could be a fantastic bare-metal hypervisor product, I don't know what is!
- Support for 2TB virtual disks. Older editions of Workstation capped virtual disk sizes at less than 1 TB. Workstation 7.1 bumps this to a much more reasonable 2 TB limit.
- Better graphics performance and OpenGL 2.1 support in Windows Vista/7 guest VMs. VMs can now support more graphics-intensive applications than were previously supported.
As you might be able to tell, I'm a huge fan of the product and although I've used many other similar tools, including Virtual PC and VirtualBox, I always keep Workstation handy.