On October 1st 2014, VMware announced the latest release of their VMware Workstation 10 and VMware Player 7 Pro products. I met with VMware’s William Myrhang, senior product marketing manager and Bo Fu, senior product manager to talk about some of the features in the new VMware Workstation 10 and VMware Player 7 Pro release.
VMware Workstation 11
It’s hard to believe, but William pointed out that this release marks the 15th anniversary of VMware’s Workstation product. VMware Workstation was the product that essentially changed the entire face of computing by ushering in the era of virtualization. Like previous versions of the VMware Workstation, the new Workstation 11 is targeted for Software Engineers, Developers, Quality Assurance Teams, IT Administrators, and Technical Sales Teams, as well as for Teachers and Trainers.
Some of the new features in VMware Workstation 11 that William highlighted include:
- Support for more than 200 operating systems: This includes the latest Windows 10 Tech Preview as well as Windows 8.1, Windows 2012 R2, Ubuntu 14.10, RHEL 7, CentOS 7, and many more.
- Virtual machines with up to 16 vCPUs, 8 TB virtual disks, and up to 64 GB of memory: While not offering the same levels of scalability as vSphere, Workstation 11 delivers more than adequate scalability for virtually any test environment.
- 2 GB of video memory per virtual machine: Prior to the Workstation 11 release the graphics memory was fixed. With Workstation 11 you can configure up to 2 GB of graphic memory per VM, enabling you to better run graphic-intensive applications like Photoshop and AutoCAD.
- Support for the latest Intel 64-bit processors: Workstation 11 has been upgraded to take full advantage of the mircoextensions in the latest Intel Hawell and Broadwell processors. Support for technologies like the new AVX2 delivers up to 45 percent improvement in CPU intensive operations and multimedia operationsn as well as a 37 percent improvement for encryption/decryption.
- DPI Passthru: To support the emergence of touch screens and very high resolution devices like the Surface 3, Workstation 11 now supports DPI Pass-through enabling proper rendering of high resolution displays as well as support for virtual accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and ambient light sensors.
- Virtual EFI: In addition to legacy BIOS support, Workstation 11 now supports virtual EFI for booting VMs on USB and large capacity drives.
- Remote connections to VMware vSphere or VMware vCloud Air: Workstation 11 can also now remotely run and manage VMs that are on vSphere and vCloud Air servers. This enables you to run more VMs than your desktop’s resources allow for. You can also seamlessly move VMs between Workstation 11 and vSphere and vCloud Air from the Workstation 11 console.
Of course, VMware Workstation 11 will also continue to offer the advanced features that have made it such a popular development platform like snapshots, cloning, multiple monitor per VM support, HD audio with 7.1 surround sound, USB 3.0, and Bluetooth. One important point that William also pointed out was the support for nested virtualization. Nested virtualization enables VMware Workstation 11 to run VMs that have hypervisors such as vSphere and even Hyper-V inside of Workstation 11 VMs. That could be a real boon for setting up complex test environments.
VMware Player 7 Pro
VMware Player 7 Pro is essentially a streamlined version of VMware Workstation 11. It is built on the same virtualization core as Workstation 11 but doesn’t offer the full range of advanced development capabilities. Its target audience is IT Administrators, Teachers, Trainers, and their employees and students. It allows you to run the same range of guest OSes as Workstation 11 and has the same scalability, but it doesn’t offer more advanced features like cloning or connecting to vSphere or vCloud Air. VMware will also continue to offer their VMware Player 7 product for free. VMware Player 7 is targeted at consumers and it lacks the ability to run restricted and expiring VMs. It is also not eligible for VMware Basic or Production Support.
VMware Workstation 11 and VMware Player 7 Pro will be generally available in December 2014. Customers who purchase VMware Workstation 10 and VMware Player 6 Plus between October 2014 and December 2014 will receive a free upgrade to VMware Workstation 11 and VMware Player 7 Pro. VMware Workstation 11 and VMware Player 7 Pro will be priced at $249.99 and $149.99, respectively. Upgrades from VMware Workstation 9.x and 10.x to Workstation 11 will be priced at $149.99. Upgrades from VMware Player 6 Plus to VMware Player 7 Pro will be priced at $79.99. You can download a free trial at Download VMware Workstation Trial.