VMware Workstation 6.5: The Best of Virtualization

VMware’s latest version of its PC and laptop virtualization tool continues to bring success to developers and advanced users.

Other manufacturers following in VMware’s footsteps are Sun Microsystems with VirtualBox and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft with its Virtual PC.

VMware Workstation 6.5 is a unique tool used to create and run a wide variety of virtual machines on conventional PCs offers some of the best configuration and administration tools.

The latest version of VMware Workstation is an ideal tool for developers, advanced users working with multiple platforms, and anyone who needs to simulate a network of computers on a single PC. The e-Week Laboratory tested the different versions of VMware Workstation, and 6.5 got our “Analyst Choice” prize for its performance.

But unlike previous years, the new version, costing nearly € 160 per license, now has serious competition. VirtualBox by Sun Microsystems surprised many with its functionality—a free alternative that runs on both Windows and Linux systems. Parallels Workstation is also a great alternative that costs almost half as much. Microsoft offers Virtual PC, although this product is at a slightly lower level than the other alternatives.

The new version has been available since early October 2008 and contains big improvements like the new integrated desktop “Unity”; an “Easy Install” function that allows unattended installation of the guest operating system; management of encrypted virtual machines with ACE (Assured Computing Environment), and tools for Pocket ACE. Other improvements include changes to graphics system treatment, and new debugging tools to re-trace step by step the operations of virtual machines.

We have tested Workstation 6.5 on a Dell XPS M1210 with 4 Gb of RAM and an Intel T2300 processor at 1.66 GHz, using Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1. We ran applications such as Microsoft Office, along with a wide variety of productivity tools, moving data between different virtual machines, and transmitting them through its own internal network, without any problems. Once again, Workstation has proven to be one of the best hypervisors for running guest operating systems.

VMware Worktstation 6.5 uses a type 2 hypervisor, which means that its software runs over the operating system that we use and the physical hardware. Type 2 hypervisors usually get lower performance ratings than type 1 hypervisors, whose environments act directly with the real hardware, such as in Microsoft’s Hyper-V and VMware’s own ESX Server. However, the type 2 hypervisors are ideal for testing, developing and demonstration purposes as they allow you to create complete virtual machines and environments on the same computer very easily. In this sense, Workstation 6.5 is particularly well prepared, since it even includes its own DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server and support to handle up to 10 virtual switches.

On the VMware site, you can download a 30-day trial version of Workstation 6.5 (https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/?p=workstation-w).

Learn more about VMware Workstation 6.5 in Part Two of this article. Thanks to Edouardo Sanchez for providing this great article to us in Spanish.

Speak Your Mind