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Monthly Archives: February 2008

Fusion Faces: Jay Hodgson Uses VMware Fusion To Study Climate Change

Jay_in_snowVirtualization gets a lot of press coverage for helping businesses be greener in their IT infrastructure, consolidating many wasteful inefficiently utilized physical servers into virtual  machines, running on fully utilized, virtualized servers.

But Jay Hodgson, a Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Alabama, is using virtualization and VMware Fusion to advance a green agenda in a different way.

Jay does research on lake sediment to help advance knowledge about past climate change and landscape evolution.  That’s a picture of him doing some field work, pulling sediment out of a lake covered with ice and snow.

Jay’s Challenge

Jay’s challenge was that he has some key Windows applications that he needs to help him advance his research.  Primarily, he uses SigmaPlot and SYSTAT to help him to analyze the data that he collects out in the field.

Unfortunately, these powerful, industry-standard applications in the biological sciences don’t have Mac OS X-native versions.  Jay also uses Microsoft Access day in and out, which doesn’t have a Mac version either.

Jay found himself in the situation where he had a snazzy, powerful iMac with a 2.0 gHz Core 2 Duo, 3 GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive, but unable to use the power of his iMac to help his research.  So instead, he had a separate Windows PC for those applications.

Transferring files back and forth between the machines wasted time and effort, and made organization tougher, and the extra machine wasted space, and wasn’t exactly green.

The Solution

Virtualization of the sort provided by VMware Fusion offered a solution. By running Windows XP in a virtual machine on VMware Fusion, Jay is able to run all his Windows apps on his iMac with.

He had previously used another Mac virtualization product, but he prefers VMware Fusion for its stability and ease of use.  As he puts it, "VMware makes it extremely easy to use all of my data files and store them in an organized method on one computer–regardless of which operating system I need to run a program on."

What would Jay say to someone in his previous situation?

"Try the demo.  Within a day, you’ll buy a license.  It just works."


Fusion Geek Speak: Cooking up a Poor Man’s RAID-Z with ZFS, USB Memory Sticks, Solaris, and VMware Fusion

OK, this post may not be for the faint of heart…put on your propeller beanies, because here we go.

Jim Laurent over at Sun has a really cool post over on his blog about using a VMware Fusion hosted Solaris 10 virtual machine to play around with the open source ZFS file system and  a trio of USB sticks to make a poor-man’s Raid-Z array using USB sticks instead of actual hard drives.

So if you ever had a dream of using your Mac to make yourself a redundant array of inexpensive disks using USB sticks, but without having to deal with RAID-5’s write hole (ed note: what a great name), well, now you know what you’re doing this weekend.

You can see a more advanced version of what Jim did with his VMware Fusion Solaris VM and three USB sticks demo’d by some german colleagues of his in this video, where they use three separate USB hubs, each with four USB sticks in it, to demonstrate  the redundancy of zPools and ZFS in a RAID-Z configuration.

Are your propeller’s spinning yet?

Nuts and Bolts: Printing to Mac Connected Printers from Windows Virtual Machines

Nuts_and_boltsOur friend Rob Griffiths over at Macworld magazine has a great post today about the intricacies of printing to a Mac printer from a Windows machine, either virtual or physical.

Lots of people know about Apple’s Bonjour networking software and how it can be used to print on a Mac printer from Windows.   But what a lot of people may not know is that with some tweaking, even a non-Bonjour capable printer can be used to print from Windows, with the help of an additional Apple technology: printer sharing.

Check out Rob’s post to get the lowdown.  One thing to note: if doing this from a Windows virtual machine on VMware Fusion, you’re going to want to be in Bridged Networking mode.

And you can see more about printing in VMware Fusion virtual machines, and more about Windows on Mac, on our self-paced tutorials page here.

Team Fusion across the pond: VMworld Europe and VMware Fusion


For readers of this blog who may not know, VMware Fusion for running Windows on a Mac is actually only one part of VMware’s business. 

The other, largest part focuses on server virtualization, by letting businesses of all sizes (include 100% of the Fortune 100, and more than 90% of the Fortune 1000) control their costs and add agility and availability to their IT infrastructures via consolidating multiple physical machines into virtual machines running on products like VMware Infrastructure 3 and VMware Server.

Every year, VMware has their user conference, called "VMworld."  This year, we’re having one in Europe as well.  To celebrate VMworld EMEA, the Fusion EMEA marketing team put together a podcast showing off things users can do with VMware Fusion. 

They were nice enough to throw it up on YouTube to share, and we thought we’d share it with you (my favorite part is 8:30 minutes in, when they use Spaces to manage six different VMs!):

Fusion Geek Speak: Shawn Morel Talks About Virtualization at C4 Mac Dev Conference

Team Fusion member Shawn Morel gave a killer talk at Wolf Rentzsch’s C4 indie Mac developer conference last year.

The talk was excitingly named "Virtualization Vivisection" and gets into as much nitty gritty detail about x86 virtualization as you can probably get before you have to start paying tuition.

Some of the topics Shawn dives into (and some helpful links for you to follow as you go along with the talk)?

1. Virtualization history and basics going back to Popek and Goldberg and their seminal paper on virtualization.

2. Why the Intel architecture was such a challenge to virtualize.

3. How VMware did it back in 1998 (or, how the researchers who eventually founded VMware did it, and then how that became what VMware is today).

4. "Hijacking OS X" and other things that sound scary, but make VMware Fusion possible.

5. Intel’s VT versus good old fashioned Binary Translation (BT)

6. Virtual devices (and why USB is a tough nut to crack).

7. PowerPC virtualization (and why it’s probably not going to happen any time soon).

8. 3D Graphics in virtualization

9. Virtualized Mac OS X on Mac OS X (which is funny, because this talk was given months before the Fusion Team demo’d Mac OS X Leopard Server virtualized at Macworld)

And, of course, much, much more.  Thanks to Wolf and company for getting these talks up on Viddler:

Some other great talks at the event:


Fusion Faces: Robert Scoble Switches to Fusion

Wonderful surprise in the Google Alerts this morning: apparently Robert Scoble, self-described "tech geek blogger" has switched over to VMware Fusion for running Windows on Mac

In a post on his blog, he talks about how his technical friends had recommended it to him based on some instability and crashing issues he had been having previously. 

Based on his post, it seems like he’s pretty happy.  And that makes us happy.

He joins the growing ranks of tech pundits and Mac heads who have switched to VMware Fusion, like the folks at Lifehacker,  some of the guys at TUAW, and Chris Pirillo, not to mention tens of thousands of VMware Fusion users like you.

So if you’re thinking of switching to VMware Fusion to help you run Windows on a Mac, there’s no better time.

1. Through June we’re running a $30 competitive upgrade rebate, for Parallels Desktop and Virtual PC users (and if you’re new to virtualization, fear not, there’s always our standard $20 rebate. The rebate are mutually exclusive, of course!)

2. VMware Importer Beta 2 is available for moving both Virtual PC 7 and Parallels-based virtual machines over to run with VMware Fusion/

and best of all

3. VMware Fusion is free to try for a fully-featured 30-day free trial.

Weekend Geek Out: The Second Coming of NeXTstep

Our Mac cred runs deep here on the VMware Fusion team.  Today swinging by the QA corral to drop off some borrowed hardware, I had a chance to see what some creative engineer had done with his VMware-provided modular bookshelves.

Regis Duchesne had a post a while back about what some people had done with the bookshelves (apart from putting books in them).

The Tetris shelves were pretty cool, but I’m a big fan of the NeXT Shelves too:


Fusion Faces: Windows Quicken on Mac and Picasa on Mac with the Common Culinarian

Hal over at the Common Culinarian blog (warning, don’t click through unless you’re OK with seeing gorgeous pictures of yummy delights) had a great post talking about the rewards and challenges of moving over to a Mac.

Specifically, Hal is an accountant, and he has more than four years of financial info stored from his Quicken (for Windows) 2006.  When he went to convert it over to the Mac version of Quicken, he ran into a couple of issues.

First, he likes the richer feature set of Quicken for Windows.  Like the ability for Quicken to talk to more banks over the internet.

Second, when he went to convert over the financial information, apparently he had some serious challenges with the conversion process. 

Rather than cleaning it by hand, he realized that there was a simpler solution using VMware Fusion to run Windows on Mac with Quicken for Windows on top of that. 

Here’s a screenshot that he posted up on his blog of Quicken for Windows running in Unity view on VMware Fusion (is anyone surprised at his desktop background?):


The other thing Hal’s using VMware Fusion for is to run Google’s Picasa on  Mac. He’s a bigger fan of Picasa than iPhoto, and as such, he finds running it in a Windows XP virtual machine, just like his Quicken, running on top of VMware Fusion, suits him just fine.

So for the rest of you who are a little leery of Quicken for Mac, or big fans of Picasa, fear not.  Hal, the Common Culinarian, has shown us the delicious light.

According to MacLife Magazine, We’re ggggrrreeaaattt!

  MacLife magazine has released their review of VMware Fusion, and we’re happy to say that they agree with our users:   VMware Fusion earned a "Great" rating, with a score of 4 out of 5.

As reviewer Christopher Phin put it, "While this is the first version of Fusion, the software shows remarkable polish.  It feels like Mac software, bundling all the files for a virtual machine into a Mac OS X package, rather than leaving config files, hard disk documents, and other files loose on your drive." 

Chris also liked the fact that VMware Fusion supports two cores in a virtual machine, and will run virtual machines with 64-bit operating systems, making VMware Fusion the most powerful way to run Windows on a Mac.

Thanks for the review Chris!

VMware Fusion at Macworld Roundup

Recently Macworld posted up a bunch of the sessions from the annual conference for viewing online.  So we thought we’d join in on the fun too.

This may come under the heading of "You’re only getting to this now?" but now that we’re somewhat unburied from Macworld, we’ve pulled together some of our own experiences–pictures, customer quotes, and video–from the annual Mac pilgrimage to share back with the larger community.  Our Macworld landing page has been updated with those items, here.

We even created a video compilation of great moments from throughout the show, from when Sinbad showed up to rave about VMware Fusion for Windows on Mac, to when a user brought by cookies and a thank you note to let us know how much he likes the software.  Enjoy!