VMware has begun the phased retirement of support for guest OS kernel-based paravirtualization using VMware’s Virtual Machine Interface (VMI) technology. We have decided to retire support for VMI in 2010-2011 as a result of innovations in CPU hardware acceleration technologies from Intel and AMD which have surpassed the performance improvements provided by VMI. As these CPU innovations are expected to become ubiquitous in the next 2-3 years, VMware has begun a phased retirement of the VMI functionality. This announcement is not applicable to device-based paravirtualization technologies provided by VMware which will continue to provide significant customer benefits for years to come.
This change only affects virtual machines running Linux-based operating systems which have VMI enabled. VMware will continue to support VMI on existing supported releases until such time as these releases reach end of life. See http://www.vmware.com/support/policies/index.html for the VMware product support lifecycle policy. Starting in 2010, new VMware products will cease to provide VMI support. VMI will be phased out of Workstation first; beginning in 2010; followed by vSphere in 2011.
Knowledge base article 1013842 "Migrating VMI-enabled virtual machines to platforms that do not support VMI" has been posted to our support site. This KB article describes how to turn off VMI on effected virtual machines when needed.