Posted by Srinivas Krishnamurti
Director of Product Management and Market Development
It’s a great time of year – everything is decorated and looks pretty, people are in a festive mood, there’s a lot of great parties and everyone is exchanging gifts. Talking about giving gifts, we have a holiday gift for the Mac community – the public beta for our new desktop product for Mac, codenamed Fusion, is now available. It is free but the beta requires a serial key, which you will get as part of the download process.
We announced (press release, my blog) in August at WWDC that we are developing a desktop product for Mac. We demoed an early version of the product during WWDC at the Four Seasons Hotel to a few hundred attendees who left the Moscone Center and walked 4 blocks to see the demo. That was just the beginning! 70,000 customers pre-registered for the beta. We released a “friends and family” version in October to a select few customers to get early feedback. One incident sticks out in my mind when we visited a customer who was part of the friends and family program. As soon as we sat down and before we could do any introductions, out came a credit card across the table and his voice boomed, "I’d like to buy it now!" Well, we’re not quite ready to take orders just yet but we are ready to receive feedback from the larger Mac community. That would be a great gift you can give us…
Once you download and install the product, you will experience:
1. A clean native (Cocoa-based) user interface. An elegant user interface is all the rage on Macs and I would contend that many of us actually buy Macs because of that. Us Mac users don’t put up with cross platform porting of user interfaces because it is ‘just not Mac’ so our motto was, native UI or bust! We built an interface from the ground up to meet the expectations that Mac users have. Secondly, we talked to a lot of customers about their needs and zeroed in on the fact that most customers simply wanted to run some PC applications on a Mac so they can either get rid of the PC that is occupying space on their desks or avoid having to buy or even use a PC. With our product, you will find a user interface that not only meets the expectations of Mac users but also one that is optimized to fit the requirements customers care about. The famed KISS principle is in full effect!
2. VMware’s robust and advanced virtualization platform. VMware first shipped a desktop product in 1999 and since then our virtualization platform has been through the wringer with millions of users depending on it every day. This advanced virtualization platform is not only robust with excellent performance but also functionally rich.
When you buy a Mac today, you will get a machine with the latest and greatest hardware – Intel Core Duo or Intel Core 2 Duo, USB 2 device support, built-in wireless networking, Bluetooth, iSight camera, etc. You can leverage all these wonderful capabilities when you run OS X and it is a shame if you cannot use them from your PC environment running on a Mac. By leveraging our advanced virtualization platform, you get: support for Intel VT, ability to run 32- and 64-bit PC applications concurrently, assign two CPUs to your virtual machine for enhanced performance, access USB 2 devices from within your virtual machine with support for isochronous devices like webcams, etc., read and write CDs/DVDs and even access your iSight camera from within a virtual machine.
My favorite platform feature is what we call "virtual battery." With the "virtual battery" feature, our product passes battery notifications into the Windows virtual machine so you know exactly how much juice you have left. This feature is invaluable especially when you run Windows in full-screen mode on your MacBook. The devil is always in the details, but having built desktop virtualization products for 8 years now, we worry about details like this so that we can offer our customers a sophisticated product they can depend on.
On a related side note, one of our developers installed a solar power system at home. The system came with monitoring software but it only ran on Windows and only came with USB drivers for Windows. That was slightly problematic because he is a Mac user. No worries after he installed an early release of our Mac product on his MacBook Pro and he was kind enough to send this screenshot. I have a feeling that there are a lot of users who fall into this category…
We realize that once you start using this product, you will want to push the envelope and run multiple environments at the same time so we included a patented page sharing technique to reduce the total amount of memory required to run multiple virtual machines. When you run multiple virtual machines concurrently, we check each memory page and if they are the same, we only use one memory page. This translates to a very efficient use of memory – the total amount of memory consumed is significantly less than the sum of the parts.
3. Virtual machine compatibility across the product line. If you already have virtual machines created with VMware Workstation, VMware Server or VMware Infrastructure, you can run all those virtual machines seamlessly in our Mac product. No need to recreate the library you already have. Similarly, you can run any of the over 360 virtual appliances available in the Virtual Appliance Marketplace. Download the browser appliance for safe browsing or a VOIP appliance that gives you an impressive range of next generation telephony solutions. Just download and click on ‘Power On.’
And best of all, we have more features in the pipeline. Stay tuned for more betas coming to a Mac near you soon.
One final note: we are going to be at Macworld Expo 2007. Please be sure to visit us in booth S339 so you can meet the product team to
give us your feedback in person. If you cannot attend Macworld Expo, you can
still interact with the product team via the discussion forum.