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Monthly Archives: March 2008

Fusion Faces: David Alison Making His VM Sweat with Visual Studio Benchmarking on the Mac

david alison The VMware Fusion team has been following David Alison’s ongoing blog series about using VMware Fusion and Visual Studio in a Windows XP VM to run Visual Studio on a Mac

Well, clearly David spends his weekends like I do: working on cool stuff that there’s not quite time for during the week.  How do I know?

On Saturday, he posted some benchmarks comparing his custom physical Visual Studio development box to the performance he gets out of his virtual Windows XP VM running on VMware Fusion on his MacBook, which he uses mainly for mobile Visual Studio development.

The results? Well, the title of his post might give you a hint: “How fast does VMware Fusion run my development environment? Very.

Hailing from Palo Alto, in the blue corner, weighing in at…

Just to set the stage a little, David’s physical development workstation is a quad-core, 2.66 GHz beast of a desktop, with 2GB of matched Corsair dominator RAM, running fully-patched Windows XP SP2.

His Windows XP Visual Studio development VM is running on VMware Fusion 1.1.1, on a 2.2 GHz MacBook, with 4 GB of RAM (1 GB of which he has assigned to the VM).

The results of his comparison of his Visual Studio development VMware Fusion VM to his physical dev box?  As he puts it, ” I was able to load my current project up, which included a local SQL Express database and tens of thousands of lines of code. It loaded fine the first time in, compiled clean and allowed me to see my application in IE (all within my VM). I could trace through code in the debugger, set breakpoints, modify data in the tables dynamically, etc.”

And the performance?  “From a performance standpoint everything ran very smoothly – I didn’t see any big gaps in performance, even though this is a little MacBook.”

Here are the results of some of the benchmarks he ran, with times in the VM running on VMware Fusion with his MacBook versus times on the physical dev box:


David Alison Visual Studio Testing

Those look to be some pretty impressive results.  We’re looking forward to seeing more of David’s experience running Visual Studio for Mac, but it looks like he’s off to a speedy start.


Fusion Faces: eBags CTO Joe Devine Uses VMware Fusion in his Home Studio to run Sony Acid and SoundForge on Mac

joeandparker The breadth of Windows applications that people use VMware Fusion to run on their Mac never ceases to amaze.  Take for example, Joe Devine, whose day job is CTO at eBags.com, one of the biggest online retailers of bags and accessories.

But at home, Joe’s all about his music.  Before he was a big time technology exec for a leading e-tailer, Joe was a professional musician, playing in bands, running a recording studio, and promoting bands back in the 90s.  His musical streak still runs strong.  Recently, when he had the chance to record a local singer in Colorado (where eBags is based) and he was having issues with Firewire under his PC, Joe decided that he would make the switch to Mac.

Joe’s Challenge: Make that Mac Make Music

Joe had initially bought a MacBook for other reasons, but after some instability on his PC, put Pro Tools onto his Mac, where it behaved better.

The challenge was, there are quite a few industry-standard music production applications that are Windows only.  Examples would be Sonic Foundry / Sony Acid Pro 6 and Sonic Foundry  / Sony SoundForge 8, both of which only run on Windows, along with GigaStudio and Virtual Guitarist.

As Joe puts it, "But tons of my project stuff was still in Acid-format and on the PC, not mention literally tens of thousands of samples and loops I needed access to that I didn’t want to waste time converting over for user with Mac tools."

VMware Fusion Makes Sweet, Sweet Music on the Mac

Joe’s solution?  Run Acid on Mac in Unity view using a Windows XP virtual machine running under VMware Fusion.  "VMware Fusion lets me run Acid, pick up all my PC-based media off the network, run all my cool virtual instruments, export tracks to a VMware shared folder on my Mac’s file system, from where I load them into Pro Tools for mixing."

With VMware Fusion, Joe doesn’t have to relearn any new apps, and can just take care of business. "I can do all my computer-only production work in Sony Acid on Mac, and then just export the files and run ProTools for additional production, like recording live vocals and instruments and mixdown," says Joe.  "Without VMware Fusion, I would have to go through the tedious process of converting all my files, and would be without some of my coolest instruments."

Joe’s favorite thing about VMware Fusion?  "No more crashes!  No more switching computers, audio interfaces, etc. during a project.  No more having to choose between Acid and Pro Tools–I can use both!"

Picture of Sony Acid running on Mac in a Windows XP virtual machine with VMware Fusion (killer speakers!):


And here’s a track that Joe recorded with Megan Fong, using VMware Fusion!  How cool is that?  Listen Here.

What would Joe says to someone in his shoes?

"Music production on the Mac is made possible with VMware Fusion, and just works!  If you’re a Sony Media user you will definitely be able to do loop-based production using VMware Fusion.  Being able to run older VST instruments that will never have universal binaries is a huge plus!"

Joe’s Gear

Machine: MacBook Core Duo, 2gHz, 2 GB RAM, 23" Cinema display to run dual heads.
VMs: Windows XP
Virtualized Apps on the Mac:

And, of course, Joe’s killer studio:


VMware Fusion Desktop Background: Come and get it!

screen_final Dave Hyndman commented on my Friday post about Windows Live Writer on Mac asking about the desktop background he saw in my screencaps, and if it were available.

Well, it’s just a little background that we threw together for our Macworld demo machines, where it showed up in some videos as well.  A handful of people on the VMware Fusion team have it as their desktop, but if there are people out there in the world who’d like to put it on their Mac’s desktop, well, I’m more than happy to share.

The background was put together by Henderson Ong in the VMware corporate marketing group.  Henderson does a lot of our design, and has a great eye for making things pretty and Mac like.

For example, it was his idea to make the heart glossy and 3D-esque, as if it were an icon in Mac OS X.  We were really happy with it, and I hope you are too.

Here’s the image, which should be hi-res enough to work as a background (click through to get the full image):



Technorati Tags: ,,,,

Meta Blogging: Blogging about Windows Live Writer on Mac with VMware Fusion, from Windows Live Writer in a VM, in Unity mode, with VMware Fusion (my head hurts)

VMware FusionScreenSnapz013   


I’ve been looking for a blogging tool to help with this blog for a while now.  No offense to TypePad, but their online tool was a little tough on me.  Some of the Team Fusion bloggers, like Ben Gertzfield, Regis Duchesne, and Shawn Morel swear by Red Sweater’s Mars Edit. 

As I’ve pointed out in the past, for good or for bad, I, like fellow Fusion user Danny Sullivan, am a Windows user, living on Mac hardware thanks to VMware Fusion.  But for me, as someone who has too much stuff going on, and doesn’t have a heckuva lot of time to go up a new learning curve, there’s value in how certain Windows apps on VMware Fusion “just work” for me, from a UI standpoint (i.e. Windows UI cues have been burned into my reptile brain).

Windows Live Writer seems to be like that for me.  After having blogged a couple times about some of our users who are using Live Writer on Mac in a Windows virtual machine under VMware Fusion, I thought I’d give it a spin, in my own Windows XP VM.

So far, I’m loving it.  I’m a big fan of WYSIWIG, and Live Writer feels like a web-enabled version of Word, with some blogging stuff thrown on top.

I had a little fun with the screen shot above, in a moment of Friday morning geekiness, iterating the screen cap a couple times, so we could get a screen cap in a screen cap in a screen cap.  Enjoy!


Fusion Faces: Gail Nickel-Kailing Executing Business Strategies with Blue Hornet on Mac with VMware Fusion

Gail Nickel-Kailing I had the pleasure to meet Gail while fulfilling on the Fusion team’s commitment to award a shiny new iPod touch to one of our user survey takers.  Gail was the respondent who was selected by the random number generator I used to help with the tough task of choosing one winner out of the tens of thousands of great reponses we got.


Gail and I got to talking, and pretty soon, we were all set on featuring her story on Fusion Faces!


Gail is the Managing Director at Business Strategies Etc., a consulting firm that specializes in applying technology to design, produce, and deliver marketing communications, both online and off.      


Gail’s Challenge: Wants a Mac, Needs Key Business Apps


Gail is a fan of Mac hardware and had her sights set on a shiny new 17" MacBook Pro with all the trimmings.  The challenge was, one of her key clients has a long-term relationship with Blue Hornet, an email marketing application.  And as many email marketing experts know, Blue Hornet doesn’t work on the Mac.


Besides Blue Hornet, Gail has some other key business apps that she uses day in and out that wouldn’t work on the Mac.  She’s a big fan of Microsoft Visio for visually explaining concepts, and likes to use Corel Paint Shop Pro, and Stamps.com.  Of course, those apps don’t work on the Mac, either.


The Business Strategic Solution? VMware Fusion and Windows XP


One of Gail’s clients, a systems integrator, recommended that she use VMware Fusion to help her sort this out.  She’s been exceedingly pleased with the results.  As Gail put it, "My favorite thing about VMware Fusion is that it works!  It was easy to install and configure and for someone who is not an IT professional, just a small business owner that has to do her own tech work, it is easy to manage and update."


It’s the perfect compliment to her Mac, letting her achieve the vision of "Just Works" SMB IT, but without foregoing her key applications, "Windows on my Mac with VMware Fusion is better behaved than Windows on my old PC!  It just works, quietly, unobtrusively, dependably.  I love it!"


And she loves the power of having two machines in one.  "I essentially have two computers in one box.  I have an external monitor hooked to my 17" laptop, and I use one for Windows XP and the other for Mac OS X.  It really feels and acts like two machines.  But if I want, I can flip into Unity view, and those two machines blend into one.  Too cool!"


What would Gail tell someone in her shoes?


"I recommend VMware Fusion all the time.  I have a friend who is a Flash designer.  She had just bought a new MacBook Pro, and couldn’t find Mac versions of some of the apps she was running.  I told her, ‘You gotta get Fusion!’ and she already did.  She thanks me all the time!"


Gail’s Gear:


Machine: MacBook Pro 17", 2.4gHz, 4GB RAM


VMs: Windows XP


Virtualized Apps on the Mac:



  • Microsoft Visio

  • Blue Hornet Email Marketing

  • Stamps.com

  • Corel Paint Shop Pro




Fusion Faces Updated: Danny Sullivan Can’t Stop Raving About VMware Fusion

I got all goofy and doe-eyed last week when blogging about how one of my favorite bloggers, Danny Sullivan, was switching to the Mac with VMware Fusion.

Well, I’m here to revisit my previous fan boy paroxysms, because Danny has posted again regarding, and I quote, "My Mac & Windows Under VMware – Awesome!"

I couldn’t write these headlines better myself!  This is fantastic.  It’s so awesome to see these guys trumpeting their success with VMware Fusion.  It’s like Danny and Scoble are having a contest.  Scoble’s "VMware Rocks" was pretty good, but Danny mentions Windows on Mac in his title…so he might have the lead.

What really make me happy is the fact that Danny’s situation is really like mine: he’s a Windows user through and through, making his way in a Mac world, using VMware Fusion as his security blanket. 

We say this all the time, that a Windows virtual machine, running on the Mac with VMware Fusion, is the perfect security blanket.  But Danny actually said this himself, "So I’m on the Mac but not really using the Mac side much. I’m sure I’ll get
there. I actually do want to get there. But having Windows is a great security
blanket, not to mention it’s fast and stable."

Like my setup at work, Danny pretty much lives all day in a Windows VM, in an external monitor, popping into Mac OS X here and there when feeling brave.  (for example, this blog post is being written in Windows Live Writer in my Windows VM, running on my MacBook Pro with VMware Fusion).

As Danny puts it, "It works so well. I can’t say it enough. Right now, I’m using my widescreen
external monitor to run the Windows virtual machine. I only remember I’m using a
Mac when I forget about the stupid new keyboard shortcuts or the lack of a Del
key (more on all this later; yes, I know, fn-delete and there are remapping
tools). Down below, it’s Mac city — where I’m mainly running Firefox so far."

Demo Corner: Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D for Mac with VMware Fusion

Microsoft has been getting a lot of buzz about their three-dimensional Earth-visualization software, "Virtual Earth."

The software, which lets users "fly" around 3D maps of the Earth using a web browser, has one catch: right now, the technology is only accessible on Windows, in that it requires Microsoft XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista, supporting Microsoft’s 3D acceleration protocol, DirectX 9.

Sadly, for now, this leaves Mac OS X users out  in the cold.  Unless, of course, that user is running VMware Fusion to run Windows on Mac.

Stefan Geens, has a solution though. He figured he could run Windows on his Mac as a way to use Virtual Earth 3D.  He started out with one approach that was less than successful:

"I used to try new versions of the Parallels Desktop for Mac virtualization tool to see if they had added support for VE3D, but all I got for my efforts
were very hard crashes, not just of Windows but of the entire machine."

Yikes!  That doesn’t sound like any fun at all.

The good news, though, is that he didn’t give up.  He gave VMware Fusion a spin, and thanks to VMware Fusion’s superior 3D support, had success! 

As he puts it, "Sometime in the last few months, however, competitor VMware, came out
with an upadte of their virtualization tool for Mac, Fusion, that does support VE3D. Here’s a screenshot from this morning when giving it another go,"

And here’s the screenshot he provided  of VE3D in Internet Explorer running on Vista with VMware Fusion (I recognize that tool bar!):


Very cool!  And here’s a YouTube video of Virtual Earth in action.

If you’re running XP, Vista, or Server 2003 with VMware Fusion, give it a spin and tell us how it works!


Fusion Faces: David Alison Cooking Up His Next Brilliant Startup with Visual Studio and VMware Fusion

David Alison is a technology entrepreneur who is always on the hunt for the next big thing.  David founded WebSurveyer and sold the company in 2006, staying on at the new company, Vovici through 2007.

But David’s got a new gig, a startup called "MaxiManage" and as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge for him, he’s decided to move his primary computing environment over to the Mac!

He’s getting along well, but as he puts it "I’m doing all of my core development using Microsoft Visual Studio and
that’s a Windows only proposition. What I really wanted was something
that would allow me to fire up a Windows XP session and run Visual
Studio in it, while still being able to load my Mac applications at the
same time."

Based on VMware’s reputation for rock sold virtualization products, David gave VMware Fusion a shot, and so far, is really happy with the results for running Visual Studio on the Mac with VMware Fusion.  As he puts it:

"I figured I’d install the trial and check out Fusion.  Installation
was a snap – really simple. I had a full version of Windows XP that I
installed within my Mac; no setting up a special partition, the entire
virtual machines exists as a single file within the Mac OS. Nice and
clean – I like it."


VMware Fusion Get the “Royal Treatment” from District Administration Magazine

District Administration magazine is the go-to publication for
administrators of K-12 education institution  who are looking for better, more successful ways to run their schools.

A big part of success in the modern school has to do with technology, and as most tech-heads know, the Mac has always had a special spot in the Education space.

The challenge of course is that there are key applications that are must haves in education, applications like Visual StudioQuicken and more, that need Windows to run. 

Ken Royal, the technology editor for District Administration magazine, of course, has been tracking virtualization as a way to address this problem for quite some time.

However, only just recently did VMware Fusion come across Ken’s radar as a great way to run Windows on Mac.  How much does he like it?

Well, according to his coverage, the web development department at District Administration magazine are switching over to VMware Fusion as their standard for running Windows on Mac.  A telling quote from the post:

"Yes, it’s faster [than Parallels]. I had been experiencing some pretty drastic system
slowdowns and had to do some fixes – it wasn’t intuitive for me. With
VMware Fusion I didn’t have to do anything."

We’re glad to see Ken and the other editors at District Administration getting value out of the software, and the more that VMware Fusion can help create more scenes like the below, the better!


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