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Brand-new Apple MacBook Pro: $3K. VMware Fusion: $160. Running got-to-have-them Windows Apps on my Sweet Setup: Priceless.

Donn Bullock

Donn Bullock

by Donn Bullock, Director of End-User Computing Channel Sales for the Americas.

With over 20 years of high-tech sales & marketing experience, Donn has worked at every level of the IT channel including 3 resellers, 2 manufacturers (Compaq & IBM) and a distributor. He started one of the first (he was told by VMware the actual first) business partner VDI practices focused on VMware in 2006.  He joined VMware in July 2012 as the first external hire for the new Commercial Field Sales team and today serves as a channel sales executive for VMware’s $500M EUC business in the Americas.

Donn has a BA from Wake Forest University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Vanderbilt University and lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.


TruAudio

TruAudio

No matter how millennial you might be (or think you are), sometimes you just can’t escape Windows.  That’s what Bryan Garner, CEO of home audio company TruAudio, and his executive team discovered, much to their collective chagrin.  Following the setup of their all-new Apple MacBook Pros, the excitement of having joined the Apple ecosystem was abruptly replaced with the reality of a recently installed, Windows-based financial system.  As new Mac converts, Bryan and team immediately set out to rescue their newly acquired IT tools from the setback of Windows non-compatibility.

As a fast-growing, small business, TruAudio had been running their financials from Quickbooks Enterprise for many years.  In an office exclusively comprised of Windows PCs and Servers, upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics seemed like a natural fit given the IT history of the firm, the application’s ability to scale with the fast pace of their company’s growth, and the recommendation of their trusted IT consultant.  That is until the trending younger executive team decided that Macs were their platform of choice for personal productivity.  It was only after setting up their crisp new hardware that the discovery of no MacOS interface within Dynamics was discovered.

After an unfulfilling foray into Oracle’s VirtualBox, Bryan and team took the advice of yours truly and had a go with Fusion Pro.  The firm has not looked back since.  First, VMware’s Fusion Pro satisfied their Dynamics needs, allowing each of the users to create a dual-screen desktop environment of both MacOS and Windows, running applications simultaneously on either desktop OS (and indeed running Microsoft Office on both).

TruAudio's Desktop

TruAudio’s Desktop

Along the way, the team also discovered that Fusion resolved the unsuspecting issue of printing to their respective locally attached Konica Minolta bizhub printers, which also lacked a native MacOS driver.  Printing through Windows on Fusion was now all they needed.  As the firm has continued to grow rapidly, Fusion has resolved other unforeseen issues and found its way into other critical parts of the business.  For example, the team also discovered that Crestron, the leader in commercial and home automation, lacks a MacOS driver for its products, an easy resolution found once again with Fusion-empowered MacBooks.  By connecting the Crestron automation tools into Windows within Fusion, TruAudio has been able to provide the sound testing studio with flexibility for anyone wanting to test out new solutions on TruAudio gear.

In today’s IT environment, not every user wants to be locked into a single OS.  For many users, application choice dictates platform, not the other way around.  And while users seek choice in their BYOD demands, corporate IT departments insist upon control and standardization.  VMware Fusion reconciles this potential conflict of end-user choice with control, creating an environment in which both Windows and Mac can not only work together, but empower new options and use cases not available to users before.

Don’t believe that Fusion can’t make a difference in your company?  Just ask Bryan as he runs to his next meeting with MacBook Pro in hand. Try it yourself today, for free.

Test Driving macOS 10.13 High Sierra on VMware Fusion 8.5.7

Last week’s WWDC marked another annual iteration of our favourite operating system, macOS. This year, moving from Sierra to High Sierra, we see a number of great reasons to upgrade when it’s released in the fall:

  • Metal 2
  • HEVC H.265 Support
  • APFS
  • Siri updates
  • Safari Updates

Full release notes can be found over at the developer.apple.com release notes page, as well as links to download and the installation guide.

Test Drive!

Naturally we were inclined to check things out in VMware Fusion, and we were met with some mixed results. By and large the OS runs as a VM, but at this time things aren’t working exactly as we’d like.

Here are the two main issues you can currently expect with macOS 10.13 High Sierra as a VM:

  • Fail to install macOS 10.13 guest, got error “Unable to create the installation medium”
  • No APFS driver in UEFI renders the Guest OS unbootable when the Guest boot volume is using APFS.

Install Fresh vs. Upgrade?

What we’ve seen is that upgrading existing macOS VM’s is the easiest path to go. Always make sure to have a snapshot or a clone [clones are Fusion Pro only] of your VM so you have a known good roll-back point if things go awry. Upgrades are done in the guest just like they are on a physical machine, so Apple’s instructions apply and can be found right here.

For installing fresh, we had a fix for this last year which the community has updated with a new fix! (oh how I love our users!)

so go get the patch already... ;)

Without the patch, this is what happens

The process is the same as I outlined before, just replace the .tool with the new one from here. Original blog post: http://blogs.vmware.com/teamfusion/2016/06/fix-for-installing-macos-sierra-as-a-vm.html

Let the magic begin

Ah, there we go…

 

To APFS or not to APFS?

Isn’t that the question? Unfortunately Fusion’s current lack of support makes the decision for us. Rest assured we are very excited about and interested in leveraging the new capabilities found in Apple’s new File System, but for now it will give you an OS that you can not boot in a Virtual Machine.

As such, during the installation, be sure to NOT check the ‘Use APFS’ checkbox, otherwise you will render the VM unbootable.

uncheck the box

We currently need to uncheck this box to boot successfully

If it remains checked, here’s what things look like after the installation has completed:

no booty

Missing APFS UEFI driver

With the added message:

APFS = no booty

It looked, but alas could not find it.

Again, simply not choosing APFS during the installation gets around this limitation, but I wanted to make sure users were aware that we knew about it and how to still take High Sierra for a test drive. Rest assured we are very excited about and interested in leveraging the new capabilities found in Apple’s new File System!

On another note, what we’ve also noticed is that not everyone gets the full OS installation image downloaded when they grab the ‘Install macOS High Sierra.app‘ package from the App Store. Originally mine was only 5MB and it downloaded the OS during the installation itself, but after upgrading my Host MBP to 10.13 (with APFS) and tried to run the upgrade again, it clearly downloaded the update in a different (earlier) stage of the installation. I quit before actually installing a second time and then use that .app to install my VM with the ~5GB .app file that I now had.

So there we have it! In summary:

  • Fusion 8.5.7 runs on 10.13 Host with or without APFS
  • macOS 10.13 High Sierra runs as a Guest without AFPS after a small patch to one of our scripts to support the new OS image structure changes.

A bit of business, but please note that ‘support’ for this new os is still considered experimental, so it’s definitely not recommended in production environments, but it makes for some fun and exciting times on testing machines!

Let us know in the comments or the Communities how your experience has been!

Fusion 8.5.7 Now available with Windows 10 Creators Update support

Team Fusion is proud to announce the availability of VMware Fusion 8.5.7.

A free update for existing users, this release contains bug fixes and adds improved support for the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update.

We also resolved an issue when using git to perform a ‘git clone’ from within virtual machines failing in NAT configurations. Sorry about that one, but thanks for the community’s support in helping us fix it!

You can always grab the latest Fusion by using the Check for Updates features within the app, or by going over to vmware.com/go/getfusion

Fusion 8.5.7 Now Available!

 

Check out the release notes here:

http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/fusion/8/fusion-857-release-notes.html

 

 

Security Matters: Mac Hypervisor Edition

securely-vmware

 

As I’m sure you noticed, we’ve delivered a flurry of patch-releases for Fusion and Workstation in the last few weeks. Want to know why? Because security matters.

More visibility

The Pwn2Own competition at the CanSecWest conference put a huge bounty on ‘vmescape‘. They’re not the first to do this, and they won’t be the last. And I want to be clear up front, we’re delighted that they helped us make our products more robust, and more secure.

For those not following this closely, ‘vmescape’ is the challenge of executing code on a host machine, that originated on a virtual machine. In other words, you have to execute something on a virtual computer, that tricks the hypervisor, such as Fusion, Workstation, ESXi, etc, in to passing that code through to the host computer, effectively breaking out of the guest with the intent of controlling or damaging the host.

While the successful exploits themselves are interesting to note, the likelihood of this causing actual damage to you, in the real world is pretty small. Partly because of the nature and complexity of the technology involved, and partly because of the bevy of unknowables of a real production system. Mike Foley, one of our foremost security gurus, notes:

“VM Escape is not the threat your security guy thinks it is. It’s really, really hard to do.”

Hard to do, but still imperative that we fix.  And so we have. With an abundance of gratitude to our incredibly talented security team, working directly with our multi-discipline engineering teams, we think we’ve been on top of things.

Platform security is critically important

Virtualization technology today is used more widely, and in more critical systems than ever. With VMware having such a prominent footprint both on the desktop and in the data center, we take our role and responsibility in this very seriously.

While many of our Fusion & Workstation customers are considered ‘consumers’,  (i.e. they have a single copy installed on their own personal machine), the majority of our customers are business, both small and large. Security for the end-user is important, but when we’re talking about corporate systems and virtual desktops that connect to those systems, the need for an air-tight virtualization stack becomes an imperative.

To that end, we’ve delivered 3 critical patches for both Fusion and Workstation (both Pro and Player), each addressing different security issues documented in our Security Advisory announcements (which can be found here), all within the past 3 weeks.

We understand that this makes it tricky for you. Updating software is never fun – even if it’s fully automated – and we appreciate the anxiety we may have caused you, but I hope you agree, it was worth it

Collaboration is Key

We’re very proud of our engineering teams. Cross collaboration between them is critical when addressing complex issues, made more difficult by the need for rapid delivery. And of course while patching is critical, maintaining a high level of product quality is something we refuse to compromise on.

We work directly with security researchers who demonstrate some pretty slick exploits at several security shows, and we’re keen to see that trend continue. In this day-and-age, when breaches and data privacy issues are making mainstream headlines, we couldn’t do this without the collaboration we get from the community. We are immensely grateful to you.

Now, Secure yourself

It’s always important to stay up to date with security patches for all software you own/use/control. If your software hasn’t auto-updated already, get the latest patches [here]. And while we have your security attention, we recently came up with a nice little way to use Fusion and Workstation to help increase both your own security and privacy when dealing with online threats.

For this use case, we have a nice summary infographic and video, with more detailed writeups for safely surfing the Internet with Fusion and Workstation [linked respectively].

Fusion is now a part of the VMUG Advantage Program!

vmug+pd

Hi folks!

Here on the Personal Desktop team (which is the product group containing our Fusion and Workstation products), we love our users. We bend over backwards to make sure the products are secure, and work in a way that our users expect with regular new features and the stability we’ve all come to depend on.

In this vein, the VMware User Group, or VMUG, members are our most passionate and advanced users. These are the kind of users who rely on Fusion or Workstation to test  applications and operating systems locally before pushing to their bigger vSphere platform. They know virtualization inside and out, are our earliest adopters, and dedicate time to testing the latest and greatest from any vendor that wishes to have a footprint in their data center.

Which is why we’re very excited to announce that VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation are now included in the VMUG Advantage program!

The VMUG Advantage program includes the ‘VMUG EvalExperience’ subscription which provides exclusive access to 1-year evaluation licenses of VMware’s flagship products and solutions, for use as a learning tool in your home lab. In addition, you get:

  • EVALExperience
  • 20% Discount on VMware Training Classes
  • 20% Discount on VMware Certification Exams
  • $500 IBM SoftLayer Cloud Credit
  • 35% Discount on VMware Lab Connect
  • $100 Discount on VMworld Attendance

The full list of products in the EVALExperience program includes:

  • VMware Workstation Pro 12.5
  • VMware Fusion Pro 8.5
  • VMware vCenter Server Standard for vSphere 6
  • VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus
  • VMware vCloud Suite Standard
  • VMware vRealize Operations
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight
  • VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon
  • VMware Horizon Advanced Edition
  • VMware vSAN

If you’re an admin who works with VMware’s products, there’s never been a better time or reason to join the VMUG Advantage program!

Using Fusion to securely browse the Internet

Hey everyone =)

Did you know that today’s Internet is more than just web pages? Shocker, right?

Well… did you know that VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation can help protect you when browsing the wide-open Internet?

How so, you might ask?

When you surf online you are being tracked in a number of ways. Tracking “Cookies”, IP Addresses, Geo Location and Language, Browsing History, Invisible tracking pixels/images and more. All working in concert to build a profile of you and your online habits.

In addition to just standard browsing being tracked, there’s also ‘the bad guys’ out there:

Using VMware Fusion (or VMware Workstation) on your desktop to run a different operating system and web browser in a virtual sandbox keeps your main operating system safe, anonymous and protected from online threats.

Check out the Infographic here!

Fusion 8.5.3 Released, addresses macOS 10.12 issues

Using macOS 10.12 Sierra and VMware Fusion 8.5? It’s time to update!

And with the biggest sale of the year going on right now, there’s never been a better time to get up to date if you’re on Fusion 7 or older.

Today we’ve released an update to our favourite Mac virtualization product to address some critical stability issues on certain configurations of macOS 10.12. Users would get an ‘internal error’ message and Fusion would quit unexpectedly. This release fixes that issue.

Users can download the update from within the product by clicking ‘Check for Updates’, or you can grab the raw bits right from vmware.com/go/getfusion

 

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It’s also the perfect time to update to the latest supported version of our most popular products with our Cyber Monday sale going on all week.

There’s still a couple of days to get 35% off our already discounted Fusion 8.5 Pro and our flagship Windows and Linux virtualization product, VMware Workstation 12.5 Pro.

 

 

Every Day Is Thanksgiving

Yes, I know that’s a cheesy title, but in the office where we control Fusion and Workstation every day starts with a conversation about you. We talk about things that are trending on Twitter & Facebook, what’s happening on our community forums, and what people are asking us in our inboxes.

Some days it’s all good news, others it bad. Often it’s a mixture, but every day we’re grateful that you’re engaged with us, so that together we can build a better product.

Back in the summer we ran a competition to see what you’d say about us on YouTube. The results surprised us. I can honestly say that we were not expecting the volume of entries that our little give-away generated.

We are truly thankful that you are our customer.

Please stay engaged. Negative or positive, we want to hear your thoughts on the current product, and where you think it should go next.

In the meanwhile, in no order, here’s my favorite top 10 videos from the competition

The one with the cute kid

The one about a zoo

The product demo we should have made ourselves

The one about a whole career

The one that scared us a bit

The other one with cute kids

The one with the gamer

The one with the dog

And finally, the third one with a cute kid

Thank you

Black Friday sale is now live!

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It’s that time of year again! Our biggest sale of the year is now live on store.vmware.com!

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Biggest sale of the year is almost here!

It’s nearly that time again… Black Friday and Cyber Monday are quickly approaching!

We’re going to have our award winning virtualization products on sale at huge discounts just in time for the holidays.

If you had been holding off upgrading to Fusion 8.5, our Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are the biggest discounts we offer all year, it’s the perfect time to get supported under macOS Sierra and Windows 10 Anniversary (which has been called ‘the most secure Windows to date‘.

In other news, we also just released a security patch to address a vulnerability demonstrated at this year’s PwnFest festival in Seoul, Korea last week. We patched the vulnerability in hours and pushed the release on Sunday to protect our users.

You can read the release notes for 8.5.2 here