VMware Workstation 6 Supports Vista

VMware this week made available version 6.0 of its desktop virtualization product, which has set a standard for testing and development, and competes with Microsoft's now-free VirtualPC. New features in Workstation 6.0 include support for Vista, dual monitors, and USB 2.0 devices.

While the server world increasingly turns to virtualization to take advantage of the huge advances in CPU power with the advent of multi-core chips, virtual machines play a critical role in aiding IT administration, development and software testers. Users can quickly boot up a computer within a computer, as well as do cross-platform testing without multiple hardware setups.

VMware supports a wide array of operating systems, including Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, Windows and even Novell NetWare. It also can run fully 64-bit systems, and handles up to 10 network cards and experimental support for two-way Virtual SMP.

With version 6.0, Windows Vista is now supported as both a guest or host (the physical machine running the virtual machines) operating system. VMware says this will enable businesses to upgrade while still supporting legacy applications, which can be run instead inside a virtual machine.

Separate from VMware Workstation, the company has added what it calls the ACE Option Pack, which enables administrators to create secure and centrally managed virtual machine images. They can be transferred to portable devices such as USB thumb drives for added mobility.

New experimental features include "recording" every action done inside a virtual machine such that it can be replayed exactly the same way at a later date. This ensures bugs can be reproduced and resolved, VMware says. Also experimental is support for Virtual Machine Interface (VMI).

VMware Workstation 6.0 for both Windows and Linux runs $189 USD, but a free trial download is available now.

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