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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Switching to VMware Fusion: Mac Server Virtualization Edition?

xserve When people think of VMware and server virtualization, they typically think of VMware Infrastructure, the gold standard of server virtualization software.

Well, but for those out there who need to run Mac server apps and Windows-based server apps at the same time, VMware Fusion has been a handy solution for them. 

Because VMware Fusion can run any of the more than 60 guest operating systems supported by VMware virtual hardware, VMware Fusion can indeed be used to run server operating systems, like Windows Server 2003, 64-bit, Ubuntu Server, and even Windows Server 2008, all while running on any Mac OS X operating system 10.4 or later.

Power to Burn

In fact, VMware Fusion is the only Mac virtualization application that lets you run 64-bit operating systems as virtual machines, along with the attendant large memory support (e.g., VMs with more than 2.5GB of RAM, etc.), and VMware Fusion is the only Mac virtualization application that lets you attach more than one core to a virtual machine. 

Even though its exterior is shiny Mac-friendly, consumer-focused goodness, under the covers, VMware Fusion shares a family resemblance to datacenter heavies VI3 and VMware Server.

Ryan Lovett’s submission to the “My Switch to VMware Fusion” video contest deals with just that.  But rather than switching from another virtualization solution, he’s switching from multiple physical boxes in his server cabinet, all onto a single Mac Mini, running VMware Fusion.  Mac server virtualization with VMware Fusion.  Pretty cool, eh?

He’s collapsed what looks like an old G5 tower, some Windows-based print and file servers, and a FreeBSD router, all into a single Mac Mini, running three virtual machines on it, all the time, with VMware Fusion.

Check out Ryan’s video below! 

Ryan, if you’d care to add anything in the comments section about uptime, and what sort of VMs you’re running, I’m sure our readers would love to hear more about it.

 

Monday Morning Fun: "My Switch from Parallels to VMware Fusion," Monty Python Edition

silly walks This submission to the “My Switch to VMware Fusion” video contest comes direct from Alex Noble of Cambridge, UK. 

Now, it seems in addition to a taste for fast, stable, and powerful Windows on Mac (heavy on the “fast” part, by the looks of his submission), Alex also seems to have a taste for comedy. 

And I have to say, I’m 100% in agreement with Alex that there’s nothing like a top hat and snootified Victorian accent to add some wit to a video contest submission, innit? 

Apparently, Alex’s switch to VMware Fusion isn’t just helpful, it’s also funny.

Whatever it was about Alex’s submission, it reminded me of some of my favorite sketches from Alex’s countrymen, the comic geniuses of Monty Python. 

If this is what Alex can do with his Mac’s iSight camera and iMovie, I can only imagine what he could do with some extras, a holy hand grenade, and some Knights who say Ni. 

Check it out yourself!

My Switch to VMware Fusion:USB Peripheral Support Edition

Garmin10x1 The “My Switch to VMware Fusion” contest videos keep coming in so hot and heavy it’s hard to keep up with them! 

Even though we’re getting a little buried here, I wanted to take a moment to share a particularly neat one, especially for all you people out there with USB peripherals that need Windows to run.

One of the great things about VMware Fusion being based off of the same mature, decade-in-development code base as virtualization stalwart VMware Workstation, is that we get the benefit of platform features that have been groomed, tried, and tested for years.

A key place where you see this “just working” is in the case of USB peripheral pass-through.  Our users love the fact that an incredibly broad range of USB devices pass through into the guest operating system with ease.

Paul’s USB Conundrum

Paul Brady of Blakeslee, Pennsylvania is a big fan of VMware Fusion’s USB support too. 

He works as a Systems Engineer for a company called Active Identity which provides computing security and identity solutions.smart card

As anyone who has done two-factor authentication knows, a lot of the time, USB ports are  used for authentication purposes, whether with a USB dongle, or a smart-card reader that plugs into a USB port, and into which the user slides a smart card. 

Either way, USB is really important, as it is for so many people.

In Paul’s case, he wanted to use his MacBook Pro for demonstrating to customers how Active Identity’s solutions worked across multiple operating systems, using Parallels.

But much to his chagrin, he just couldn’t get it to work, which meant lugging around a bunch of laptops to do his demos on, even though he had a perfectly good MacBook Pro that should have been able to run Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and SUSE Linux to do his demos on.

When VMware Fusion shipped, he gave us a spin, and never looked back.  It’s safe to say that Paul has been pretty happy with his “Switch to VMware Fusion.” 

Great video Paul!  And nice Darth Vader helmet.  I got to get one of those for staff meetings.

 

 

VMware Fusion 1.1.2 Launches: Enhanced MacBook Air, Time Machine Support. Adds Simplified Chinese Localization.

The VMware Fusion team would like to announce the general availability of VMware Fusion 1.1.2, a free update for all VMware Fusion users.  You can download this newest version here.

VMware Fusion 1.1.2 now provides better support for the MacBook Air, enables Time Machine backup of virtual machines, adds support for Windows XP SP3 Boot Camp partitions, and is now available in Simplified Chinese.

Seamless Windows on the World’s Thinnest Notebook

VMware Fusion 1.1.2 addresses two MacBook Air-related problems. Previously, MacBook Air users would encounter a crash if a virtual CD/DVD drive was connected to the virtual machine but a CD/DVD drive was not connected to the MacBook Air. This update fixes this issue.  Also, this latest VMware Fusion update adds the ability to burn CD/DVDs with the MacBook Air’s USB Superdrive.

Take Your VM Back in Time

Prior versions of VMware Fusion automatically excluded virtual machines from Time Machine backups to avoid hitting a Mac OS X-related crash when backing up running virtual machines.

Apple has addressed this issue in Mac OS X 10.5.2 and VMware Fusion 1.1.2 enables Time Machine to back up virtual machines on Mac OS X 10.5.2 and later.

NOTE: As part of the back up process, Time Machine makes duplicate copies of all non-excluded files, as those files change.  As such, Time Machine will make a new copy of any virtual machine that has run since the last time Time Machine ran.  Because virtual machines have a tendency to be large files (just like iMovie projects, or Aperture Libraries), and might take up large amounts of space with duplicate copies on your Time Machine hard drive, you may want to consider manually excluding certain virtual machines from backup in Time Machine’s preference pane.

How do you say “virtualization” in Chinese? VMware Fusion.

VMware Fusion 1.1.2 also introduces Simplified Chinese to the list of localized languages it ships with.  VMware Fusion now ships concurrently in five languages: English, French, German, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese.

New Service Pack for Boot Camp

With Windows XP Service Pack 3 arriving on April 29th, VMware Fusion now supports Windows XP Service Pack 3 Boot Camp partitions when they are run as virtual machines.

Other Bugs Squished in VMware Fusion 1.1.2

  • Properly disconnect USB devices left connected to the virtual machine at shut down, making the USB devices available again to the Mac.
  • Addresses problem with wireless bridged networking in some cases not being able to obtain an IP address from the DHCP server.
  • Fixes a sound problem where only the default speaker worked in some cases.
  • Pressing the newly-introduced keys on the new slim Apple Aluminum Keyboard caused VMware Fusion to crash in certain circumstances.  This has now been fixed.
  • VMware Fusion’s keyboard shortcuts to remap common Windows commands to Mac keyboard equivalents could not be disabled previously in Full Screen or Single Window views
  • In some cases, VMware Fusion, after being upgraded to Version 1.1.1, would fail with a Signal 10 error when the user tried to use the keyboard. This problem has been fixed.

Come and Get It!

VMware Fusion 1.1.2 is a FREE update for all existing VMware Fusion customers.  For new customers, VMware Fusion retails for $79.99, and is eligible for a current $20 mail-in rebate for customers in the United States and Canada. 

Parallels Desktop or Virtual PC for Mac users qualify for a $30 competitive upgrade mail-in rebate that lowers the cost to $49.99.

More information on switching to VMware Fusion and the competitive upgrade rebate.

To download VMware Fusion 1.1.2, go to:

http://www.vmware.com/download/fusion/

One more "Switch to VMware Fusion" Video for the Road

OK, this video just popped into my inbox, so I have to share before I hit the road today.

Something about blue screens of death in a VM before you’ve had your coffee is good for a giggle.

Elias Eldabbagh had been running Window on his Mac for a while before VMware Fusion came along, primarily to run Windows productivity apps. 

Well, unfortunately, his implementation wasn’t the most productive, with lots of crashing and BSODs.  Not exactly "just works."

But his story has a happy ending.  Watch and find out ; ) And when you’re done, think about sharing your "Switch to VMware Fusion" story in our video and blogging contest!

 

 

Some "Switch to VMware Fusion" Movies in the Morning

We’re already seeing some great videos rolling in for the "My Switch to VMware Fusion" video contest (see more about the contest here).

Eoghan O’Shea of Limerick, Ireland submitted a video talking about how he switched from Apple’s Boot Camp to VMware Fusion for running SolidWorks on his Mac at school. 

He’s at University in Limerick Ireland, and takes classes that require CAD drawing, and as most people know, AutoCAD, Solidworks, and other industry-standard drafting apps are pretty much Windows-only.

He had been using Boot Camp, but was less than impressed by the amount of time it took to switch back and forth between environments. 

His video does a better job of explaining than I will this early in the morning, so without further ado, here’s Eoghan’s video:

Free Fusion T-Shirts, MacBook Air, and More: My Switch to VMware Fusion" Video and Blogging Contest

The VMware Fusion Team is proud to announce the launch of our "My Switch to VMware Fusion" video and blogging contest.

As part of our ongoing efforts inviting users to switch to VMware Fusion for fast, stable, and powerful "Windows on the Mac," and to better spread the word, we’re asking for the help of one of our most valuable assets: our awesome users.

The contest is simple: if you’ve switched to VMware Fusion from some other way to run Windows on Mac, whether Boot Camp, Virtual PC for Mac, Parallels, or whatever, all you have to do is tell your story on the web, and let us know about it. Pretty easy, eh?

There are two ways to participate:

1. Video: For you aspiring filmmakers, make a video that’s under a minute showing what you use VMware Fusion for, what you were using before, and why you made the switch.  When you’re done, post it up on YouTube, and submit the video to us on the contest page
To help you on your way, rough guidelines are provided on the contest page with tools, editing tips, and so on to make it easier for you–but this doesn’t have to be high art.  Videos made with iMovie, your iSight camera, and some screencasting software are just as welcome as those made with crazy HD camcorders and Final Cut Pro!

The great thing is, every single video submitter will get their very own "VMware Fusion team t-shirt" like we wore at Macworld, and a "My Mac Hearts VMware" bumper sticker.  And one lucky submitter will win a fully tricked out MacBook Air complete with VMware Fusion and a copy of Windows, for their trouble.  Yes, that’s right.  I don’t get a MacBook Air, but you just might… ; )

2. Blog It: If video isn’t so much your thing, that’s ok, we still want you to be able to share your "Switch to Fusion" story.  All you have to do is blog about it, and you can still get in on the action. 

Each and every person who blogs their "Switch to VMware Fusion" will be sent a "My Mac Hearts VMware" bumper sticker, and one lucky blogger will win an iPod Touch.

As entries come in, we’ll be blogging them right here on the Team Fusion blog.

Let’s Get Started!

It’s that easy. The contest runs through May 15th, 2008, and we’ll announce winners come June.  We invite everyone who has switched to VMware Fusion to tell their story, to help others understand how fast, powerful, and stable Windows on the Mac can truly be.

We encourage you to check it out today, and tell your "Switch to Fusion" story.

A Side Note: Why This? Why Now?

VMware Fusion has been on the market for a little more than half a year now.  In that time, it’s gotten better and better, winning awards along the way, and gaining mindshare among the Mac community.

And this entire time, our users have been sharing their experience, about why they’ve switched to VMware Fusion, and what VMware Fusion helps them do.

From tech pundits like Robert Scoble and Chris Pirillo, to Mac gurus like the editorial staff of The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the consensus is growing: VMware Fusion is a fast, powerful, and hassle-free way to run Windows on the Mac.

But it’s not just the pundits. Thousands upon thousands of VMware Fusion users have switched to Fusion, and they are sharing their experience everywhere.  From Twittering about their switch, to their own blogs, and more, the success that they’re having is being documented, and bubbling to the surface. Product reviews too, talking about switching to VMware Fusion from other "Windows on Mac" solutions.

And while we’d like to think we do a pretty good job of clearly, openly, and honestly articulating the value of VMware Fusion to potential users, there’s nothing like good old fashioned word of mouth recommendations, with a Web 2.0 twist.

The goal of this contest is to take what’s already been happening–people posting 5-star reviews on Amazon and Apple.com, Twittering about why their switching to Fusion, and so on–and to give more of our users a megaphone, and a reason to shout about it. 

This is also why we wanted to make sure that in addition to big prizes that everyone has a chance to win, that every single person who puts time into making a video or writing a blog post gets something out of it, whether a t-shirt, a bumper sticker, or being linked to from our blog.  We’d like everyone to speak up.

We’re truly looking forward to seeing the awesome stuff people have to share.  Thanks for your continued support!

~Pete Kazanjy

VMware Fusion Product Marketing

Photo Citation: Thomas Hawk Photography

Super-thin Windows for your Mac

I’m a huge fan of the blog Lifehacker in general, and they’re definitely fans of VMware Fusion, having named us one of their top Apps of 2007.

But they have one specific series written by Adam Pash called “Hack Attacks” that are just especially awesome for the level of geekery they afford. 

Adam has the rare ability to take complicated technical concepts and boil them down for general consumption, but then he goes a step further and robustly documents how to do what he’s just explained.  It’s really cool.

Put that Windows on a Diet!

Adam published an awesome Hack Attack yesterday on slimming down your install of Windows for use as a virtual machine, inspired by his own use of VMware Fusion.  He runs VMware Fusion to help him run Windows on Mac for a couple key apps that don’t exist for Mac, and as such, he doesn’t really need all the services and components that Windows XP ships with.

He talks about two strategies for stripping out or shutting down those services, nLite and GameXP, using which you can diminish the amount of RAM and hard drive space needed to run a Windows VM.

This, of course, can be useful in general for anyone looking to make an “Outlook Appliance” or “MS Project Appliance” or what have you, but is especially compelling when you think about the MacBook Air, and its fixed 2GB of RAM, and max of 80 GB of hard drive.

Check out Adam’s post.  You won’t be disappointed!

 

 

Learning from your Customers in the Internet Age

Background: This blog post was inspired by a series of events that began late last month when employees of Parallels, a company that makes a competing solution to VMware Fusion, were found posting less-than-flattering reviews of VMware Fusion to Amazon.

The Web, and Market Transparency

The web brings amazing transparency to learn about products and services. Whether you’re talking user forums on your company’s web site or reviews on a third-party retailer’s site, users get the ability to share their likes and dislikes about products, help others with technical challenges, and give prospective users unvarnished opinions about products at hand. 

This level of transparency is a godsend for companies looking to improve their products and how they do business; the feedback loop from customer to vendor has never been stronger. At VMware, we believe in leveraging the power of our users and the community to help us build and release the best possible products. 

VMware Fusion team members from engineering to marketing participate in our own user forums on a daily basis. We do our best to stay in the know about what our users are doing with the software—what delights them, and what frustrates them—so we can make it better. 

And this engagement isn’t limited to our own site. We do our best to stay current on what’s being said about us out on the web. We scan blogs and read customer reviews at Amazon.com, Apple Online Store and other forums to make sure we are capturing the pulse of our users and to identify the areas where we can make VMware Fusion even better. We do this because consumer reviews truly matter when people are looking for honest advice from their peers—other customers who have bought the same product before them—to make a sound technology decision.

The Good, and the Bad

While the majority of the feedback we receive is from users getting significant value from VMware Fusion, like any company we have our share of negative reviews and user issues. When we encounter users with problems or challenges, we do our best to reach out to solve the problem and help the customer find success. This helps us improve our product and helps our users to become even better advocates of VMware Fusion. 

With this context in mind, last week we ran across a couple of negative user reviews on Amazon.com that seemed out of character. They seemed especially out of character given that both posters had posted 5-star reviews of Parallels Desktop for Mac, prior to posting less-than flattering reviews of VMware Fusion. After a little investigation via LinkedIn, based on the user names that the reviewers posted under, we found that these reviews were not from actual users but from employees of a competitor, Parallels. 

Choosing the Right Path

Recently there have been quite a few conversations taking place across the web about how best to compete in a web-enabled world, and what is and isn’t okay.  Ultimately, in determining what was the best way to address this situation, we applied the same standards of respect, transparency, and “benefit of the doubt” that we value on the VMware Fusion team, and that VMware aspires to in general.

Last Friday, we brought this behavior to Parallels’ attention to address, offering them the opportunity to address the issue internally and to explain the situation publicly. 

At the end of the business day on Monday, Ben Rudolph from Parallels published a brief, explanatory blog post on the topic. You can read it here. 

While we may not agree with Ben’s characterization of the issue, we’d like to thank Ben and the Parallels team for working with their employees to remove the offending reviews and address the issue. 

We Continue to Look Forward to Your Feedback

We greatly appreciate and continuously look forward to feedback from our valued users. We will continue to monitor customer reviews and forums to make sure we are getting the best possible feedback from our users.  And at the same time, we invite all our users to come visit us on the VMware Fusion forums and let us know how well VMware Fusion works for you or where we can improve. 

Pat Lee
Group Manager, Consumer Products
VMware