Network administrators should find a lot to like in the recently launched VMware Workstation 10 and VMware Player 6 Plus, especially if their end users include developers, engineers, quality assurance, and other staff that have heavy-duty or oddball virtualization requirements. They may also be able to find some use for both products for securing corporate resources on contractor or employee's personal PCs.
VMware provided me an evaluation copy of VMware Workstation for the writing of this post. I set it up on a standard, run of the mill Windows 8 desktop PC. The setup is easy, and a technical user with the appropriate administrative privileges should have no issues navigating the feature options.
While VMware Workstation 10 includes a typical setup for VMs, it also includes a Custom option for creating VMs with advanced options including SCSI controller type, virtual disk type, and compatibility with legacy VMware products. Figure A shows the New Virtual Machine Wizard:
Virtual Machine Wizard
VMware WorkStation 10 for the enterprise
The support for 16 vCPUs, 64GB RAM, and 8TB disks should register with IT administrators who have processor and storage intensive virtualization requirements for AutoCad and other processor intensive applications that once would have been off limits inside a standard VM. VMware Workstation 10 could also play well with applications like Teambox on Premise that requires installation via a VM.
Since primarily, I'm a mobile writer the promise of tablet support in a desktop virtualization solution caught my attention. VMware Workstation 10 includes the virtual tablet sensor support enabling a VM to take advantage of the tablet features including:
- Ambient light sensor
Unfortunately, it only supports Windows-based tablets at this time.
The Expiring Virtual Machines feature that VMware Workstation 10 supports opens up a number of exciting options that can broaden the use of VMs for a company including:
- Create demo environments for customer demonstrations that the sales team can turn over to a customer or prospect for review, knowing that the demo environment will expire on a preset date.
- Create a virtual desktop for contractors or freelancers that expire at the end of their contract.
- Create a virtual testing environment for off-site contractors that expire on a preset date.
When a user powers on the VM, it queries the server at specific time intervals. It stores the current system time in the restricted VM's policy file and treats it as the last trusted timestamp.
Support for over twenty virtual networks may sound extreme, but the Virtual Network Editor lets you add and remove networks at will. The editor gives users with admin privileges access to VMnet information and options to connect a host virtual adapter to this network, use local DHCP services, and Subnet IP, and SubNet Mask. Figure B shows the Virtual Network Editor:
Virtual Network Editor
A Virtual KVM switch called VMware-KVM in VMware Workstation 10 means you can open VMs across multiple monitors
Setting Preferences is also made easy in the Preferences Dialog Box (Figure C), which includes options for managing displays, shared VMs, memory, priority, and devices.
Preferences dialog box
VMware Player 6 Plus as a BYOD and COOP solution
I've been watching the growth of virtualization as a solution for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), so I was definitely interested in learning more about VMware Player 6 Plus, which enables enterprises to run restricted VMs created in WorkStation 10 and Fusion 6 Professional.
VMware Player 6 Plus has the following hardware requirements:
- 64-bit x86 Intel Core™ Solo Processor or equivalent
- AMD Athlon™ 64 FX Dual Core Processor or equivalent
- 1.3GHz speed or faster
- 2GB RAM minimum/ 4GB RAM and above recommended
The Player has the following installation requirements:
- 700 MB of available disk space for the application.
- Each VM requires additional disk space
Virtual machines supporting Aero graphics have the following requirements:
- 3GB RAM (Host PC)
- Intel Dual Core, 2.2GHz and above or AMD Athlon 4200+ and above
- NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT and above or ATI Radeon HD 2600 and above
An enterprise could use VMware Player 6 Plus to deploy VMs to employee-owned laptops, or even their PCs at home, to run corporate software in a secure environment.
If your organization still runs internal software that runs only on Windows XP, VMware Player 6 Plus is a way to keep that aging software running until your programmers can update it to run on the web or a more current operating system.
I'll be interested in seeing enterprises find use cases for VMware Player 6 Plus like giving onsite contractors access to enterprise resources on their own hardware. The same goes for using VMware Player 6 Plus as a quick solution for outfitting PCs for Continuity of Operations (COOP) after an office goes offline during a natural disaster.
VMware Player 6 Plus is only available from the VMware online store.
The combination of VMware Workstation 10 and VMware Player 6 Plus can help enterprises meet routine and special virtualization requirements that can come about in today's changing business environments.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.