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VMware Fusion 11.5: Now With Container Support

Fusion 11.5.5 Available Now

tldr; Fusion Supports Containers! Download the bits below!

Today is a big day for us on the Desktop Hypervisor team. Our beloved products Fusion and Workstation are getting some pretty significant updates for no extra cost to existing users.

We have a lot to share about our commitments to Developers, to Community, and to Windows , so let’s dive right in!

Our Commitment to Developers

VMware has long served developers, as well as end users and IT professionals, with some of the best in class features with our award winning desktop hypervisor products, VMware Fusion and Workstation.

However, when it comes to developing and testing today’s modern applications, things look a little different than the traditional ones which Fusion was originally designed to support.

Today, we’re proud to express our commitment to today’s modern developers by delivering new support for OCI containers using our award-winning hypervisor technology stack. Fusion 11.5 users can now pull, build, run and push containers as part of a modern development and testing workflow, without needing other tools such as docker desktop installed.

Enter vctl

To support these new workflows, we created a new CLI tool: vctl, and we’re shipping it today as a part of our Fusion 11.5.5 update.

overview of vctl commands

vctl: “vee-kettle” or “vee-control”?  The debate continues…

vctl is designed to locally manage containers and our containerd based runtime. We use vctl to pull and run images from remote container repositories like Harbor or Docker Hub, or to build custom container images using standard Dockerfiles.

Some folks may recall that we first introduced vctl as part of Project Nautilus during our Tech Preview a few months back. Since then, we’ve listened to the community, made some changes, added some new capabilities, and are ready to bring it to the world as part of a free update to your existing copy of Fusion 11.5 or Fusion 11.5 Pro. (yes, both!)

For starters, there’s a new syntax. If you’re familiar with docker, you’ll feel right at home. So things like ‘vctl run nginx’ works the same as ‘docker run nginx’.

We think users will also be happy to hear that we’ve also added build support, so you can build images from standard Dockerfiles.

Let’s take a quick look at how we can get started with vctl!

A familiar workflow

With the vctl cli experience we wanted to focus on some of the most common tasks users perform with containers, and bring that to our unique container engine to bring folks something radically new.

> vctl pull nginx
INFO Pulling from index.docker.io/library/nginx:latest
───                                                                                ──────   ────────
REF                                                                                STATUS   PROGRESS
───                                                                                ──────   ────────
index-sha256:30dfa439718a17baafefadf16c5e7c9d0a1cde97b4fd84f63b69e13513be7097      Done     100% (1412/1412)
manifest-sha256:8269a7352a7dad1f8b3dc83284f195bac72027dd50279422d363d49311ab7d9b   Done     100% (948/948)
layer-sha256:11fa52a0fdc084d7fc3bbcb774389fd37b148ee98e7829cea4af189735acf848      Done     100% (203/203)
layer-sha256:afb6ec6fdc1c3ba04f7a56db32c5ff5ff38962dc4cd0ffdef5beaa0ce2eb77e2      Done     100% (27098756/27098756)
config-sha256:9beeba249f3ee158d3e495a6ac25c5667ae2de8a43ac2a8bfd2bf687a58c06c9     Done     100% (6670/6670)
layer-sha256:b90c53a0b69244e37b3f8672579fc3dec13293eeb574fa0fdddf02da1e192fd6      Done     100% (23922586/23922586)
INFO Unpacking nginx:latest...
INFO done

Pulling images is familiar, and defaults to docker hub for simplicity, but you can specify a full path to another repo or registry.

To run an image, it should once again feel familiar:

> vctl run --name=myNginx -t -d nginx
INFO container myNginx started and detached from current session

Same goes for showing the container inventory:

> vctl ps -a
────      ─────          ───────                ──             ─────   ──────    ─────────────
NAME      IMAGE          COMMAND                IP             PORTS   STATUS    CREATION TIME
────      ─────          ───────                ──             ─────   ──────    ─────────────
myNginx   nginx:latest   nginx -g daemon off;   n/a     running   2020-05-28T12:21:46-07:00

> vctl images
────            ─────────────               ────
NAME            CREATION TIME               SIZE
────            ─────────────               ────
nginx:latest    2020-05-28T12:21:13-07:00   48.7 MiB
photon:latest   2020-05-27T19:40:03-07:00   14.5 MiB


It’s fairly light on resources, and you also have the control to assign more or less resources to the appliance when firing up the container using -c and -m (CPU and Memory) flags. Run vctl run with no arguments to see some examples.


Activity Monitor showing the vmware-vmx process

Fusion is fairly light on resources consumption for the container appliance

When a container is fired up, we also mount the rootfs up to Host, meaning you can use Finder to browse the container contents!  You could open up the running code of your app, make changes in real-time, in a way that feels just like editing any other file on your Mac.

container storage volumes

When you start vctl, you’ll see the ‘Fusion Container Storage’ mount… each container also gets mounted as they’re started, and unmounted when they stop

Look! Folders and Files from a Linux filesystem!

Folders and Files from the Linux filesystem in the vanilla nginx container image. You could edit this file directly in Visual Studio Code on the Mac for example.

Let’s check out some of the details:

> vctl describe myNginx
Name:                       myNginx
Status:                     running
Command:                    nginx -g daemon off;
Container rootfs in host:   /Users/mike/.vctl/storage/containerd/state/io.containerd.runtime.v2.task/vctl/myNginx/rootfs
IP address:       
Creation time:              2020-05-28T12:21:46-07:00
Image name:                 nginx:latest
Image size:                 48.7 MiB
Host virtual machine:       /Users/mike/.vctl/.r/vms/myNginx/myNginx.vmx
Container rootfs in VM:     /.containers/myNginx
Access in host VM:          vctl execvm --sh -c myNginx
Exec in host VM:            vctl execvm -c myNginx /bin/ls

Using the describe command on a running container, we can see more detail, as well as the execvm commands that we can copy and paste to ‘shell’ into our appliance OS or run some process (/bin/ls in the example above…). (This of course is in addition to being able to vctl exec into the container process itself…)

Getting Started

Getting started is as easy as updating to Fusion 11.5.5, opening up your favorite Terminal app, and running vctl system start.

Once the daemon is running, you can try pulling or building and running container images!

We have a good deal of documentation and examples located on our GitHub page, as well as our normal documentation centers.

If you hit a bug with your container or dockerfile, let us know so we can support it by filing an issue!

Which leads us to our next commitment: Community.

Our Commitment to Community

Releasing great software is fun, but what’s also exciting is the community around it.

VMware has a long standing and well-established community, but it tends to be centered around the “VI Admin” through VMware Technology Network, our community forum, and we welcome users to share their experiences with us there.

However, when it comes to the more development related discussions, the VMTN community forum might not always have the right experts readily available.

So we’ve expanded in a few new ways:

In collaboration with the VMware {code} team, we’ve created a new Slack channel: #fusion-workstation, within the VMware {code} Slack community!

Joining VMware {code} is free, and once you’ve joined you’ll get an email with a link to the main Slack channel.

The VMware Code community is full of folks that go beyond the typical duties of the VI Admin, and our Fusion and Workstation product and engineering teams will be directly participating to help answer tough questions.  Editor:  We’ll probably share some memes too. 

We will also be doing live and recorded events with both the VMware {code} team, community, and on our own in an effort to help folks get the most out of Fusion and Workstation. Follow our Fusion and Workstation Twitter accounts to get the latest details!

As mentioned earlier in this post, we also have our Github repository where we have example docs, how-to content as well as detailed descriptions of the vctl subcommands. We encourage users to let us know if they hit any snags with vctl by filing an issue so we can work to make sure every OCI container runs without a hitch!

And finally,

Our Commitment to Windows Users

The days of “you must disable Hyper-V to use Workstation” are over!

After years of collaborative development and engineering between VMware and Microsoft, we’re proud to be delivering a compatibility story where Workstation 15.5.5 and newer can run on Windows 10 Hosts with Hyper-V mode enabled.

Hyper-V mode is required for security features like Device Guard and Credential Guard, as well as developer features like WSL, and previously rendered Workstation completely inoperable.

For more detail, check out our Workstation Blog


Wrapping it all up

So that was a lot… Our commitment to Developers with a new container runtime for Mac and supporting WSL on Windows, to Community with many new ways to engage and a content calendar put together to help folks get the most from Fusion and Workstation, and to Windows with our multi-year collaborative effort to support Windows 10 Hyper-V mode with Workstation.

Featured post

DirectX 11 Now in Testing with VMware Fusion Tech Preview 20H2

The VMware Fusion and Workstation team is excited to announce the release of our 20H2 Technology Preview featuring the first drop of our DirectX 11 support!


Quick links to the bits:

Fusion Pro for Mac


What‘s New with the Fusion 20H2 Tech Preview

105FPS on a DX11 Benchmark is kind of nice!

Benchmark ran with Radeon 5500M with 4GB of video ram assigned to the VM, Window was 2560×1440 on a 4K external display

DirectX 11 Support

  • Provides support for DirectX 11 (Direct3D v11) and OpenGL 4.1 graphics capabilities in the guest operating systems! Obviously DX11 is Windows guest only, but OpenGL 4.1 applies to Linux guests as well.
  • Hundreds of new games and applications can now run in Fusion and Workstation!

Increased Hardware Maximums: MONSTER VMS

  • Both Fusion and Workstation Tech Preview 20H2 support up to 32 processors and up to 128GB of RAM per virtual machine, as well as 4GB of shared graphics memory

Sandboxed Graphics Processes

  • We’ve dramatically enhanced virtual machine security by using a special non-root “sandbox” process for rendering 3d hardware assisted graphics. This further isolates the Guest VM operations from the Host, significantly reducing the viability of privilege escalation to the host.

Improved External GPU support

To get started with DX11, VMware Tools needs to be upgraded, and the Virtual Hardware Compatibility version must be set to v18. Existing VMs can be upgraded by adjusting the virtual hardware compatibility while the VM is powered off.  After power-on, you can then upgrade VMware tools as you normally would. With new VMs you may need to manually set the virtual hardware version to v18 before installing, so double check.

Committed to our users, we’ve been working hard on this feature for many years, and so we welcome your feedback!

Let us know your experience! Does your favourite game work? Glitchy? Looks perfect? Help us improve by sharing in our Fusion Tech Preview Community Forums or our Workstation Tech Preview Community Forum


Ready for Testing: Updated Tech Preview with Big Sur Support

At WWDC 2020, the good folks at Apple wow’d us with a look at the next major version of macOS: 11.0 Big Sur, and it’s no stretch for us to say: We’re pleasantly impressed.

We’ve been working to update Fusion with support for the new rendition of macOS, and today we’re pleased to share with you some early progress with the introduction of a new Tech Preview.

Direct Link to .dmg (no login required)

Download Group (you must be logged in to MyVMware to access this page)

Big Changes

Big Sur brings with it some really big visual changes, but also major changes under the hood. For instance, Apple has been progressively deprecating 3rd party Kernel Extensions or “kexts” which Fusion needs to run VMs and containers. In order to continue to operate in this model, we’ve re-architected our hypervisor stack to leverage Apple’s native hypervisor APIs, allowing us to run VMs without any kernel extensions. 

On macOS Catalina systems, Fusion operates as it always has using kernel extensions to provide functionality. However on Big Sur systems, Fusion operates entirely without kexts.

This Tech Preview is the first release of us operating in this new mode and we’re eager to hear your feedback.

This Tech Preview supports macOS Big Sur 11.0 Beta 2 for both Host and Guest. For example, you can run Big Sur VMs on macOS Catalina, as well as on Big Sur hosts.

What else is in this preview?

Building on the last previews, this TP includes DX11 and OpenGL 4.1 support, as well as eGPU support for improved graphics performance. For example, you can render DX11 graphics for Windows VMs on the built-in display for a MacBook Air using an eGPU housing a Radeon 5700. The performance gains vs. a discrete mobile GPU are pretty significant! One might even say ‘YUUUGE’. (In order to use your eGPU, you must select ‘Prefer eGPU’ from the Virtual Machine > Settings > Display window. This is a per-VM feature.)

We’re also deprecating macOS 10.14 Mojave hosts, starting with this tech preview. Fusion 11.5.x will be the last version of Fusion which supports 10.14, whereas this year’s major release will support 10.15 and 11.0.

How to provide feedback?

We would love to hear from you in our Fusion Beta community: https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/beta/fusion-pro

Known Issues

With such big changes under the hood, there are of course some known issues that we’re working on, both with our code as well as filing issues with Apple directly.

  • Nested VMs are not currently supported.
  • Jumbo Frames feature currently does not function
  • When the installation of a macOS Big Sur guest completes, the virtual disk containing the temporary installer image is not automatically deleted.
    • Workaround: Manually delete the disk once installation is complete
  • Big Sur guests may log out unexpectedly and/or display a black screen when clicking an invisible icon in the upper right corner of the display.
    • Workaround: There is no workaround at this time, we are continuing to investigate
  • A powered-on VM snapshotted or suspended with Fusion running on a macOS 10.15.x or earlier host might fail to resume on a macOS Big Sur host.
    • Worksaround: Power Off your VMs before upgrading your host to Big Sur to avoid VM corruption. As always, employ backups when testing beta software!
  • A maximum of 31 vCPUs are available when running on the current seed of macOS 11 Big Sur. Configuring 32 vCPUs will prompt an error message to reduce the number of cores to 31 or less. (this is temporary and not related to licensing)
    • Workaround: Use 31 or fewer vCPU cores
  • REST API is now only available to local connections.
  • VMs that have side channel mitigations enabled while running on Fusion on macOS 11 Big Sur may have reduced performance. This setting is enabled by default.
    • Side channel attacks allow unauthorized read access by malicious processes or virtual machines to the contents of protected kernel or host memory. CPU vendors have introduced a number of features to protect data against this class of attacks such as indirect branch prediction barriers, single thread indirect branch predictor mode, indirect branch restricted speculation mode and L1 data cache flushing. While these features are effective at preventing side channel attacks they can cause noticeable performance degradation in some cases.
    • Workaround: If your security situation allows, you may regain some performance by disabling side channel mitigations. in your VM Settings > Advanced window.

Fighting the COVID-19 Coronavirus with VMware Fusion and Folding At Home


>> Quick Link to the OVA Appliance

What a time to be alive.

I’m writing this from my apartment in San Francisco where I’ve been sheltering in place for almost 2 weeks now.

Personally I had been wondering just how I could help, beyond just applying the rules of today… social distancing, not panic-buying, keeping in touch with friends and family with Zoom and FaceTime, trying to limit time spend on Facebook (okay that last one I’m having a hard time with, but still…).

All that stuff is good, but surely there has to be more to do without putting anyone at risk, right?

Well thankfully I’m not the only one thinking that.

My friends and colleagues William Lam and Amanda Blevins, along with the support of the VMware community, have taken the onus to put together a free virtual appliance that can contribute your spare CPU cycles to the Folding At Home project.

More details: Link: A Force For Good: VMware Appliance for Folding at Home

Basically, the appliance creates a virtual machine that’s all set up with what it needs to start crunching numbers to aid research into the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

The first release did not support deployment on Fusion and Workstation due to some inconsistencies in the OVA profile, but we’ve worked to address that in today’s 1.0.1 release.

So let’s look at how to download and get to crunching numbers with it on Fusion.


Downloading the appliance is easy. Just go to the link below and click ‘download’.

Link: Folding At Home OVA

The download is about 250MG and the VM it creates ends up being about 750MB, so it’s a pretty small appliance.

Once the download starts, click the drop down and change the download item to grab the FAQ and the Deployment Steps PDF files.

Once downloaded, you’ll need to ‘import’ the OVA.

You can do this from the File menu, or by just double-clicking the downloaded .ova package.

The import process creates a copy of the appliance as a virtual machine.


The installation process goes like this:

  1. Download the OVA
  2. File > Import…
  3. Select the .ova file you just downloaded
  4. Click ‘Continue’ to bring up the configuration window
  5. Configure the appliance as follows:
    • Networking
      • (Optional) Set the Hostname
      • Leave IP and other settings as they are
    • Proxy Settings (Optional)
      • Only configure this if your host requires a Proxy
    • OS Credentials
      • Provide a root password (VMware1! is the default)
    • Folding At Home (F@H) Settings
      • You can leave these as they are, or configure as needed (it won’t prevent installation, and you can easily re-deploy if you want to change something)
      • Note: Fusion and Workstation do not unfortunately support the ‘GPU’ mode, so you’ll have to leave that unchecked
      • The OVA Properties are already configured to add your compute cycles to Link: TeamVMware (ID is 52737, you can check out our stats here: stats.foldingathome.org/team/52737 )
      • The default Folding profile is set to ‘medium’ which won’t try to take every last drop of CPU, making it a good option if you’re using the system while folding. Otherwise, if it’s a spare rig, bump that to “Full” to be more aggressive.
      • The F@H Remote Management console has a default password set of VMware1!, but you may change it if you wish before deploying.
  6. Click ‘Continue’
  7. Provide a file path to save the VM to and click ‘Save’
    • At this point you may want to configure some of the CPU and RAM settings, but if you click ‘Cancel’ at this stage it will trash the newly created VM.
  8. Click ‘Finish’

At this point, the VM automatically starts up.

What I do here is quickly ‘Power Off’ the VM so that I can assign more CPU cores and RAM.

  • Go to the Virtual Machine menu and select ‘Shut Down’, (or hold ‘Option’ and click ‘Power Off’ to really pull the plug…)
  • Open the VM settings and add more CPU cores and RAM. Default is 2 cores and 1GB of RAM.
    • How many cores you want to assign depends on what you’re using the system for.If it’s your daily driver you probably don’t want more than half your available CPU cores.If it’s a separate machine that isn’t actively being used, I generally leave 2 cores for the OS and assign the rest to the VM.


After getting your settings right, it’s time to power on the VM for real.

It should run a few maintenance tasks, and then present you with a prompt.


Once it’s powered on, you can SSH into it to control it.

There are more details and context available in the FAQ guide posted on the appliance download page


Personally I had a few issues deploying it…


  • Bridged networking didn’t work for me
    • I had to use NAT, but that didn’t change any of the functionality.
      • I switched to NAT while the VM was booting up and hung on ‘scanning for network’. As soon as I swiched to NAT from Bridged (Autodetect), everything started working.
      • If I were managing it remotely, I would need to do some port forwarding in Fusion’s Network Editor for the vmnet it’s on. (details on what ports are needed are in the FAQ and deployment guides)
    • Sometimes it wouldn’t accept my new root password…
      • VMware1! is the default, and that worked anyhow

That’s basically all there is to it. It will sit and wait for Work Units to calculate.

You can check to see if it’s running any jobs or do some troubleshooting: (from either the console window or by SSH’ing into the VM. sshd is started by default.)

  • Check the status of the Service:
/etc/init.d/FAHClient status
  • You can restart the services with /etc/init.d/FAHClient stop /etc/init.d/FAHClient start Or /etc/init.d/FAHClient restart

You can then view the logs as below

/etc/init.d/FAHClient log -v


less /var/lib/fahclient/log.txt

Welcome to the front lines of the war against COVID-19!


Originally posted at: https://mikeroysoft.com/blog/covid-fah/

VMware Fusion Tech Preview 20H1: Introducing Project Nautilus

It’s Tech Preview time, and this year we’re doing things a bit differently. Let’s dive in!

New Decade, New Approach to “Beta”

Here on the Fusion team, we want to get features in the hands of customers faster than ever before, and we want to iterate and refine things with the guidance of our users, and to do so transparently, out in the open, as much as possible.

In that vein, for the Fusion Pro Tech Preview 2020 we’re doing things a bit differently than we have in previous years.

This year, in an ongoing way, we’ll be releasing multiple updates to our Tech Preview branches, similar to how we update things in the main generally available branch.  The first release is available now, and we’re calling it ’20H1′.

What this means is that if you have Tech Preview 20H1 (TP20H1 as we lovingly call it…)  installed, it will get updates throughout the year as we improve the quality of our release.

We’re also moving our documentation and other things over to GitHub. We’ll be continuing to add more to the org and repos there, maintain and curate it, as well as host code and code examples that we are able to open source.

Having our docs etc on GitHub let users provide feedback and file issues filed against both docs as well as the products themselves. We will continue to post updates and encourage discussion in the community forum, while GitHub becomes more of a place where we can refer to the ‘latest source of truth’, and where folks can file (and even track) more ‘official’ bugs.

We encourage folks to file issues on GitHub, as well as fork and make changes to the repos there if you believe there’s a better way or if we’re missing something.

Same as always, the Tech Preview builds are free for use and do not require a purchased license, but they come with no guarantees of support and things might behave unexpectedly. But hey, that’s where the fun is, right?

Okay, let’s talk about features…

Firstly, we did some cool USB work!  We’ve opted into using Apple’s native USB stack, enabling us to remove one of our root-level kernel extensions. Try out your devices and let us know if they have any trouble by filing an issue in this GitHub repo: Fusion GitHub usb-support

In Fusion Tech Preview 20H1, however, our main focus is the initial release of an internal project we’ve been calling ‘Project Nautilus‘. We’ve been working on this for almost 2 years, so I’m extremely pleased to say that it’s finally available to the public to use, for free, as part of TP20H1.


What is Project Nautilus?

Project Nautilus enables Fusion to run OCI compliant containers on the Mac in a different way than folks might be used to. Our initial release can run containers, but as we grow we’re working towards being able to declare full kubernetes clusters on the desktop.

By leveraging innovations we’re making in Project Pacific, and a bevy of incredible open source projects such as runC, containerD, Cri-O, Kubernetes and more, we’re aiming to make containers first-class citizens, in both Fusion and Workstation, right beside virtual machines.

Currently a command-line oriented user-experience, we’ve introduced a new tool for controlling containers and the necessary system services in VMware Fusion and Workstation: vctl.

Containers on the desktop today

Today when you have say, Docker for Mac installed, its services start, it creates a special Linux virtual machine (in one of many ways, including using Fusion), and essentially maps all of the ‘docker’ commands back the kernel running in the linux vm. (remember that docker is just a front-end to containerd, formerly dockerd, which front ends runC, which interfaces into the linux kernel ‘cgroups’ feature for isolating processes [i.e. the ‘container‘ part of the container].)

So that bulky VM sits there running, waiting for your docker commands, and runs all your containers within it.

Each running container becomes a part of the docker private network, and you forward some ports to localhost and expose your service.

In Fusion with Project Nautilus, we’ve taken a different approach.

Nautilus is different

The vision for Nautilus: A single development platform on the desktop that can bring together VMs, Containers and Kubernetes clusters, for building and testing modern applications.

With Nautilus, leveraging what we built for vSphere and Project Pacific, we’ve created a very special, ultra-lightweight virtual machine-like process for isolating the container host kernel from the Host system. We call that process a PodVM or a ‘Native Pod’.

Each Container get’s its own Pod, and each Pod gets its own IP address from a custom VMnet, which can be easily seen when inspecting the container’s details after it launches.

Meaning, we can easily consume running services without have to deal with port forwarding back to localhost.

It also means that while today we deploy the container image in a pod on a custom vmnet, we can conceivably change that to a bridged network… Meaning you could start a container, the pod would would get an IP from the LAN, and you can then immediately share that IP to anyone else on the LAN to consume that service, without port forwarding.

Of course with custom vmnets we can configure port forwarding, and we’ll also be exposing more functionality there as we grow the Nautilus toolkit.

One of our goals is to bring to bear a new model for design much more complex deployments. We see a future where we can define, within a single file, a multi container + VM + kubernetes cluster deployment, allowing users to accelerate their application modernization.

Nautilus Today

Today Nautilus is controlled by ‘vctl’, and that binary is added to your $PATH when Fusion TP 20H1 is installed.

Let’s look at the vctl default output:

mike@OctoBook >_ vctl

vctl - A CLI tool for Project Nautilus Container Engine powered by VMware Fusion

Feature Highlights:
 • Native container runtime on macOS.
 • Pull and push container images between remote registries & local macOS storage.
 • Run containers within purpose-built linux-based virtual machines (CRX VM).
 • 1-step shell access into virtual machine debug environment. See 'vctl sh'.
 • Guide for quick access to & execution in container-hosting virtual machine available in 'vctl describe'.

 vctl COMMAND [options]

 delete Delete images or containers.
 describe Show details of containers.
 exec Execute a command within containers or virtual machines.
 get List images or containers.
 help Help about any command
 pull Pull images from remote location.
 push Push images to remote location.
 run Run containers from images.
 sh Shell into container-hosting virtual machines.
 start Start containers.
 stop Stop containers.
 system Manage Nautilus Container Engine.
 tag Create tag images that refer to the source ones.
 version Prints the version of vctl

Run 'vctl COMMAND --help' for more information on a command.

 -h, --help help for vctl

You can see we are off to a good start, there’s a lot we can do already. We also have many aliases in place. Most commonly you’ll have ‘ls’ for ‘get’, ‘i’ fo

As a quick example, to run our first container first we need to start the services.

mike@OctoBook >_ vctl system start
Preparing storage...
Container storage has been prepared successfully under /Users/mike/.nautilus/storage
Preparing container network, you may be prompted to input password for administrative operations...
Container network has been prepared successfully using vmnet: vmnet12
Launching container runtime...
Container runtime has been started.

Once the system is prepared and started, we can pull an image:

Note that we’re providing a full URL to the image hosted on docker hub, but we could easily point that to a private Harbor instance or some other OCI-compliant registry. In these examples I’m referring to the full path as the image name, but you could ‘tag’ it and just refer to the tag for simplicity’s sake.

mike@OctoBook >_ vctl pull image docker.io/mikeroysoft/mrs-hugo:dev
─── ────── ────────
─── ────── ────────
manifest-sha256:83cd5b529a63b746018d33384b1289f724b10bb624279f444c23a00fd36e3565 Done 100% (951/951)
layer-sha256:c94289816e8009241879a23ec168af2d9189260423f846695538c320c8b99ea7 Done 100% (17575762/17575762)
layer-sha256:9d48c3bd43c520dc2784e868a780e976b207cbf493eaff8c6596eb871cbd9609 Done 100% (2789669/2789669)
layer-sha256:b6dac14ba0a98b1118a92bc36f67413ba09adb2f1bb79a9030ed25329f428c1f Done 100% (5876538/5876538)
config-sha256:cb657649e42335e58df4c02d7753f5c53b6e92837b0486e9ec14f6e8feb69b61 Done 100% (7396/7396)
INFO Unpacking docker.io/mikeroysoft/mrs-hugo:dev...
INFO done

Now that we have the container in our local inventory:

mike@OctoBook >_ vctl ls i
──── ───────────── ────
──── ───────────── ────
docker.io/mikeroysoft/mrs-hugo:dev 2020-01-19T17:46:09-08:00 25.0 MiB

Cool, there’s my image (you can see it live at https://mikeroysoft.com!).

Let’s start it up!

mike@OctoBook >_ vctl run container my-www --image=docker.io/mikeroysoft/mrs-hugo:dev -d
INFO container my-www started and detached from current session
mike@OctoBook >_ vctl ls c
──── ───── ─────── ── ───── ────── ─────────────
──── ───── ─────── ── ───── ────── ─────────────
my-www docker.io/mikeroysoft/mrs-hugo:dev nginx -g daemon off; running 2020-01-19T17:58:33-08:00

You can see that the container ‘my-www’ is running, based on the mrs-hugo:dev image in it’s fully-pathed form.

You can see the command being run, and most interestingly you have an IP address.

Opening that up yields whatever was running in the container. In my case it’s nginx serving up some static content on port 80. No port mapping necessary.

I won’t go into much further detail in this post, but in the coming days and weeks we will be doing a series of posts and additions to the GitHub repository to explore using all of the capabilities we’ve been able to deliver as part of Nautilus.

Nautilus Tomorrow: Let’s get there together

This is only the first iteration, and we’re making great effort to ensure that we can iterate quickly. This means not only listening better and hearing more from our users, but also tracking issues more transparently, and hold ourselves accountable for delivering fixes and improvements in a timely manner.

We see a not-so-distant future where we can define complex multi-vm+container+kubernetes cluster setups locally on the desktop using a standard markup, and to be able to share that quickly and easily with others even if they’re using Windows.

So there you have it… time to go get started!

Direct Download

VMware Fusion on GitHub

Black Friday Sale is on!

It’s that time of year again!

The time where we offer up our biggest savings on our favorite desktop hypervisor products, VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation!

Fusion 11.0 customers can install Fusion 11.5 as a free upgrade without needing a new license key, but for users still on Fusion 8 or Fusion 10, now is the best time to upgrade to the latest and most advanced releases yet!

Fusion 11.5 introduces support for the latest Windows updates, as well as macOS Catalina with Sidecar support!

Oh, and don’t forget the all new Dark Mode!

Embrace the dark side!

Fusion has never looked this good!

Get your upgrade before the sale ends!


We’re also offering big discounts on VCP exam vouchers and Education services!


VMware Fusion 11.5 Available Now!

It’s with great pleasure that we announce the immediate availability of VMware Fusion 11.5!

Download here!

Still on Fusion 10 or 8.5? Upgrade here with 20% off!!

Release notes

This release comes as a free upgrade to existing Fusion 11 users, with Fusion 8.5 and v10 customers being still eligible for discount upgrade pricing. This release also extends support for v11 customers until December 2020.

Added to that we’re also running a 20% off sale right now! We wanted to make sure that folks who are still using older releases can get support for macOS Catalina without having to pay full price for the upgrade.

So what’s new?

First up, Dark Mode.

When Dark Mode is enabled onl our Mac, Fusion transforms into a darker and more nighttime-friendly version of itself.

Fusion not only detects when Dark Mode is enabled and adjusts the user interface accordingly, but it also can synchronize the mode with Windows and macOS Guests who support the feature.  This is a per-vm preference, and can be enabled in the VM Settings > Advanced window.

Next up: Sidecar

macOS Catalina introduces an incredible new feature called Sidecar that lets your Mac use your iPad as an external display.

With Fusion’s support of this feature, users can deploy a VM and drive it completely from your iPad, including support for the Apple Pencil and Bluetooth Keyboard. Works Wired or Wirelessly.

Also featuring: Jumbo Frames

Professionals oftentimes use Fusion and Workstation to deploy virtual lab environments, but when using some more advanced networking tools and techniques unfortunately some things didn’t work. One reason is because a larger MTU size was required for their virtual networks, but previously this wasn’t something users could configure.

Now with this support, savvy IT Pros and VI Admins can run a full vSphere, with NSX, virtual lab environment on Workstation with overlay support. (Given sufficient hardware resources, of course!)

There are a number of other reasons to use Jumbo Frames, including network performance advantages in enterprises and universities with supporting network infrastructure.

And More!

We’ve squashed bugs, improved performance and closed security holes, while adding support for the latest OS’s from Microsoft, Linux, BSD and Apple.

Get it now! 

Still on Fusion 10 or 8.5? Upgrade here with 20% off!

Release notes

We hope you enjoy, and please share your feedback in our community forums!


VMworld 2019: Fusion and Workstation Announcements

At VMworld 2019, Zongmin Li and I took to the stage to present our annual ‘What’s new in Fusion and Workstation’ session, where we share what we’ve been working on and and look ahead on our roadmap a bit.

In this session we made some exciting announcements:

Fusion 11.5 and Workstation 15.5: Free Updates Coming in September

The biggest announcement is about our annual product release. We have a lot of great new features that we’ll be issuing as a free update to existing users, and extending the period for Fusion 8 and Workstation 12 customers to upgrade without having to buy a full ‘new’ license.

So what’s in the releases? Let’s take a look…

Fusion and Workstation Shared Features

  • Jumbo Frame Support
    • Configure the MTU size of your virtual networks (Pro products only)
  • New pvscsi device support
    • More compatibility with vSphere virtual hardware
  • New OS support
    • Windows 10 19H2, Ubuntu 1910, Debian 10.0, RHEL 7.7
  • Local Kubernetes Clusters
  • Performance and Security Bugfixes

Fusion Only Features

  • macOS 10.15 Catalina
    • Host and Guest support
  • Dark Mode and Dark Mode Sync
    • Fusion now goes dark when Dark Mode is enabled on your Mac, and can optionally synchronize this setting with Windows 10 and macOS 10.14+ guest VMs.
  • Sidecar (requires Catalina host)
    • Use Windows on your iPad, wirelessly, with hardware keyboard and Apple Pencil support!

Workstation Only Features

  • Network Config Preservation
    • When upgrading Workstation between major versions, your custom network settings are preserved
  • Network Config Export
    • Export complex network configurations with an easily shareable text file.
  • Multi-Mon Shortcut Key
    • Quickly adjust the layout of your virtual displays.
      • ctrl+shift+m brings up the topology chooser where you then key the number of the corresponding layout you want

And finally, we had one more thing to share…

VMware and Microsoft Hypervisor Platform Collaboration

Closing out the presentation we had “One More Thing” to share, and we brought our friend Ben Armstrong, Product Manager for the Microsoft Windows Hypervisor Platform, on stage to join us in announcing something we’ve been working on for quite some time now.

For the past year we’ve been collaborating closely with Microsoft on the Windows Hypervisor Platform engineering team so that Workstation can co-exist with Hyper-V enabled hosts.

Read more about our collaboration here

We’re very proud of what the engineering teams are delivering this year in Fusion and Workstation, and for the incredible features that have yet to come.


Black Friday Sale!

Hurry while the savings last!

On Wednesday, November 21st at 8am PST (and maaaaaaybe a bit earlier ;), the doors to our biggest sale off the year will be opened!

Shop Now!

Save up to 35% off your favorite VMware Desktop Hypervisors – Fusion and Workstation, from now until Monday during our annual Black Friday sale!

Fusion 11 delivers exciting new features such as DirectX 10.1 graphics, a revamped App Menu, one-click SSH to Linux VMs and more!

Hurry while the savings last!

Shop Now!



VMware Fusion 11 is here!



Fusion 11 and Fusion 11 Pro: Available Now!

Download          Upgrade Now

Hot on the heels of macOS Mojave’s release today, we’re proud to announce that  our latest major upgrade to Fusion: VMware Fusion 11 and Fusion 11 Pro, is available now!

We are incredibly proud of this release as we continue to focus on developer workflows and increasing our automation capabilities, while still improving on GPU and overall performance, stability and security.

Cut right to the chase and get the bits:

Direct Download             Upgrade

This release delivers many new features and platform enhancements such as:

Enhanced Metal Graphics Rendering Engine with Direct3D 10.1

Fusion 11 and Fusion 11 Pro both default to the new Enhanced Metal Graphics Rendering Engine on supported hosts, and has been updated to deliver DirectX 10.1 compatibility. Now supporting Anti-Aliasing as well as Geometry shaders, games and apps which require DirectX 10.1, or which fallback to 10.1 from DirectX 11, will now run in a Windows 7, 8 or 10 virtual machine.

DirectX 10.1 with Anti Aliasing and 3GB VGPU RAM


Updated User Interface, Application Menu

Fusion 11 delivers an all new Application Menu for quickly accessing VM inventory, changing view modes, settings, snapshots, or launching Windows applications from a single click. The Application Menu can run with or without Fusion, allowing users to launch and control VMs at an instant.

New Finder integration at the top of the VM Window allows users to quickly navigate to anywhere in the running VM’s folder tree, supporting drag and drop file location printing (Drag the VM name to Terminal or any text-input field, it prints the vm’s file path)

Open a Finder window to anywhere in the VM’s file tree, or drag to print the path in a text field


Includes added support for customizing the Touch Bar for equipped Macs using new contextual functions for the VM Library and the VM Window.

Improved: Fusion REST API v1.2

Introduced in Fusion 10 Pro, the Fusion REST API has new controls for configuring Virtual Networking such as Mac-IP DHCP bindings, NAT Port Forwarding control and more.

New controls for managing DHCP and NAT

One-Click SSH

Fusion 11 and Fusion 11 Pro can rapidly connect to any Linux VM running an OpenSSH or compatible service with a single click from the VM Library Window. You can choose to save the password to avoid entering it in each time.

Quickly SSH into a Linux VM


New vSphere View

In addition to supporting ESXi 6.7 and the deployment of vCenter Server Appliance 6.7, VMware Fusion 11 Pro can now view into Hosts and Cluster detail when connected to remote (or local nested!) vSphere environments. View your resources by VM, Host or Cluster to get a better look at your sphere inventory right from Fusion.

Run a series of ESXi VMs with a vCenter Server Appliance to simulate a real vSphere environment, and connect to it directly from Fusion

Also Included in this release:

Hardware Version 16

Fusion 11 now uses VMware Virtual Hardware Platform version 16 which contains many improvements around areas of security, performance, and stability, as well as adding support for the latest Macs, including the 18-core iMac Pro and MacBook Pro with 6-core Intel i9 CPU.

  • Included in HWv16 are:
    • Improved Virtual NVMe Device Performance
    • Important Security Fixes (Spectre, Meltdown and L1TF)
    • Virtual Trusted Platform Module
    • UEFI Secure Boot
    • IOMMU
    • VBS Support (guest only)
  • Support for the latest Host and Guest OS’s
    • macOS 10.14 Mojave – Host and Guest
    • Windows 10 October 2018 Update – Guest
    • Windows Server 2016 updates – Guest
    • Ubuntu 18.04.1, Fedora 28 – Guest
    • VMware Photon OS – Guest
    • VMware ESXi 6.7 – Guest 


Automated Disk Cleanup

Introduced in Fusion 10 for Windows Guests, Fusion can be configured to automatically perform a ‘disk clean upoperation every time the VM is Shut Down to help save host disk space.


Virtual Network Simulation

Introduced in 2017, Fusion 11 Pro can also configure virtual networking, including bandwidth limits, packet loss and latency to test application resiliency in bandwidth-restricted environments


Performance, Bug and Security fixes

Fusion 11 includes many under-the-hood changes to increase performance, particularly with Virtual NVMe devices. Simply change your virtual disk type to NVMe to increase performance on SSD storage equipped Macs.

Also included are a bounty of security fixes and architectural changes to mitigate against todays latest hardware and software based threats like Spectre, Meltdown and L1TF vulnerabilities.


Another Amazing Release!

All in all we are incredibly proud of this release as we continue to focus on developer workflows and increasing our automation capabilities, while still improving on GPU and overall performance, stability and security.


Upgrade eligibility: Owners of Fusion 10 and Fusion 8 or 8.5 are eligible for upgrade pricing. Users who purchased Fusion 10 from August 21st onward will have their keys automatically upgraded in you’re My VMware account.

Get it Now!