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Category Archives: Uncategorized

Security Matters: Mac Hypervisor Edition

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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.

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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!

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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!

VMware Fusion: Mac Virtualization for Everyone

Hi everyone!

Most Mac users know about VMware Fusion and how it’s the best way to run Windows on your Mac… BUT… did you know it’s also the tool of choice for IT, Developers and Businesses looking to get the most out of their hardware investment, or embrace a BYOD culture?

Well if you didn’t, consider this an introduction to how people use Fusion for things OTHER than home users running Windows on the Mac.

Check out our new video below!

 

 

Fusion 8.1.1 Available Now with Important Networking fixes!

Hi Everyone,

Over the weekend we rolled out an update to Fusion 8 and Fusion 8 Pro that brings our version to 8.1.1.

The important fix has resolved a NAT port forwarding and DNS lookup issues that some users have been experiencing, particularly those who work with Hashicorp’s Vagrant plugin for VMware.

We’ve also addressed USB issues, Fusion crashes related to graphics, and we’ve plugged up a memory leak.

Get it via auto-update today, or grab the download directly from your MyVMware portal or our trial pages (you can drag the trial right over the copy in your /Applications folder, all your licensing and preference information is saved elsewhere)

 

Details from the release notes:

The following issues were resolved in this version of VMware Fusion.

  • Resolved: Running graphic software with MSAA enabled causes VMware Fusion to crash
    • In a Windows virtual machine, running graphic software, such as a Realtime Landscape Architect program, or a graphic game, such as Civilization 4, with Multisample anti-aliasing (MSAA) enabled causes VMware Fusion to crash.
  • Resolved: Resizing the window of a running virtual machine causes host-system memory to leak
    • Resizing the window of a running virtual machine by dragging its corner causes the amount of system memory used to increase. You can observe the memory usage by looking at the Memory Used value on the Memory tab of the Activity Monitor.
  • Resolved: Enabling port forwarding breaks NAT
    • Enabling any port forwarding prevents the vmnat supporting application to fail to perform Network Address Translation functions
  • Resolved: Installing an automatic update unexpectedly suspends remote virtual machines
    • In VMware Fusion, after you connect to a remote virtual machine stored on either an ESXi server or a Workstation Server instance, as Fusion updates, the automatic update suspends or shuts down the running remote virtual machine, in addition to the running virtual machines that are stored on the local disk.
  • Resolved: Connecting specific USB devices to a virtual machine through a USB 3.0 controller causes issues
    • In VMware Fusion 8.1, the following situations occur when you connect the specified USB devices to a virtual machine through a USB 3.0 controller:
      • USB 3.0 scanner – this type of device does not function inside a virtual machine.
      • USB 3.0 flash drive – you cannot format this type of device inside a virtual machine.

VMware + GNS3: The Great Topology Challenge!

Our good friends at GNS3 are running a really awesome contest for the month of March!

“Build the biggest, boldest topology in GNS3 that you can. With the new release of v1.4.x, the ability to build big and bold topologies has never been easier. Leverage the new Local GNS3 VM to help build your topology.  At the end of the month, we will select 5 winning topologies that represent the best of what the GNS3 software is capable of doing.

New to GNS3? No worries! We will also be randomly selecting 5 contestants who will be receiving a prize. So submit whatever topology you can and join in the challenge!

10 Copies of VMware Workstation Pro ($250 each) or VMware Fusion ($75 each) – winner gets to choose what they would like. 5 Top contestants will get a copy as well as 5 randomly selected contestants.”

Simple! Build a gigantic topology with GNS3 for a chance to win one of 10 copies of Fusion 8 Pro or Workstation 12 Pro! And it’s a great contest with chances to win for both seasoned GNS3 users as well as new users to the platform.

GNS3 works best with VMware Workstation 12 Pro and VMware Fusion 8 Pro, the recommended virtualization solutions, and GNS3 users can now take 20% off the sticker price of Fusion 8 or Workstation 12 Pro!

What is GNS3 you may ask?

VMware Workstation Pro has been the ‘swiss army knife’ for IT admins for the past 15+ years, and while Workstation has been long regarded as the IT Admin’s tool of choice, it’s increasingly becoming the same for Network Engineers and ADmin as well.

Combining GNS3 and VMware gives that swiss army knife to Network Engineers in a very meaningful way.

From their site, GNS3 is a tool to:

Build, Design and Test your network in a risk-free virtual environment and access the largest networking community to help. Whether you are studying for your first networking exam or building out a state-wide telecommunications network, GNS3 offers an easy way to design and build networks of any size without the need for hardware. And the best part is it’s free!

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So get out there and go build a gigantic topology with GNS3 and win your copy of VMware Workstation 12 Pro or VMware Fusion 8 Pro!

Getting Started with VMware Fusion eBook: $5

Happy new year friends!

Did you know about this little book I wrote called ‘Getting Started With VMware Fusion’? No? Well good news! It’s on sale for $5!

Before I moved down here to Silicon Valley, I was a lead on the Fusion / Workstation Support team in Canada, and in 2014 I was asked by the good folks at Packt Publishing to write a book about Fusion. So, with great excitement, I took much of what I had learned from my life in Support about how to get the most from VMware Fusion and put them into an easy-to read guide for beginners and advanced users alike.

And for $5, it’s a great resource for all Fusion users to make the most of their investment in VMware.

Get it here: “Getting Started with VMware Fusion”

It’s a handy resource for folks new to Fusion, and filled with great tips even for those who have been using Fusion for years.

The sale ends this Friday, Jan 8th 2016, and in addition to my little book there are a ton of other VMware related resources in there… everything from vCenter to vRealize Operations, Horizon View, or even ThinApp!

https://www.packtpub.com/all/?search=vmware

Enjoy!

 

Just in time for the Holidays!

It’s only Monday, and we’re already off to a fantastic week for VMware Fusion 8!

First, we were so full of holiday jeer that we just couldn’t help ourselves, and so we launched a Holiday Sale for Fusion 8 and Fusion 8 Pro! Click Here to get to the store and take 30% (!!) off Fusion 8 and Fusion 8 Pro… good for both Upgrades and New Instals!

http://store.vmware.com

Then, we got word that the good folks over at Network World have done a roundup of all their most beloved tech products of 2015, and VMware Fusion 8 made the list!

“it’s a DevOps and infrastructure engineer’s delight […] a startlingly handy hypervisor “

We couldn’t agree more! Thanks for including us, we’re humbled to be such a valuable tool in so many people’s daily lives!

Link to the Network World article

We at VMware are so very grateful for all the support and enthusiasm of our customers, the dedication of our engineers, the zeal of our evangelists, and the passion of our partners and friends.

The VMware Fusion team wishes everyone a happy holiday season!

Fusion 8.1 is available now!

Today we’ve released an update to Fusion 8 and Fusion 8 Pro with version 8.1.

We’ve included a raft of bug fixes in the following areas:

  • Fixes an issues with the Easy Install process misinterpreting Windows 10 Version 1511 ISO images as Windows server 2012 R2 images
  • Resolved an issue where reverse DNS lookup does not work in a virtual machine when a dnsmasq server is installed and configured on the Mac host.
  • Fixed a crashing issue when unplugging a monitor from the Mac when Fusion is in Full Screen view with multiple monitors.
  • Fixed an issue with Microsoft Excel responding to input with a one-second delay
  • Fixed an issue when using USB devices with a virtual machine on an OS X 10.11 host might cause the virtual machine to crash.
  • Fixed an issue when the host and guest non-English language keyboard layout differ when the virtual machine is accessed remotely using VNC.
  • Fixed an issue when a USB Attached SCSI (UAS) device connected to a USB 3.0 port on a Mac OS X 10.9 or later host might fail to successfully connect to the guest.
  • Resolved an issue when copying a large file between a USB storage device and an OS X virtual machine might stall and fail.

This update is free for all Fusion 8 customers.

Full release notes

Direct Download Link

 

Black Friday Sale on now!

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This is it! The biggest sale of the year!

It’s your chance to upgrade to the latest and greatest Fusion that we’ve released to date!

Take advantage of huge savings on Fusion and Fusion Pro and see why the reviewers are saying that Fusion 8 is the clear winner!

If you’ve been thinking of upgrading from Parallels, the best deal of the year awaits you with a whopping 55% off Fusion 8 and Fusion 8 Pro!

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New this year is a bundle discount! Buy both Fusion 8 Pro and Workstation 12 Pro together and take 50% off!

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Remember, this is for a limited time only! Offer ends on November 27th 8:59 PM PST

Buy now and save before the deal ends!

El Capitan now available and fully supported!

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Mac users worldwide rejoiced as Apple released the public general availability of OS X 10.11 El Capitan today.  As with all major OS updates, often the question isn’t simply “Should I upgrade?”, but rather “Should I upgrade right now or wait until the first point release?”.

The community has had the time to dig into El Capitan with great reviews from Ars Technica, MacworldGizmodo, 9to5Mac and others.  The reviewers are generally saying the same thing: Upgrade today, it’s worth it.

This decision is of course going to be different for every user depending on their needs.  Folks with mission critical applications that they depend on tend to be more hesitant when risking the stability of their systems.  Other folks however can tolerate the occasional bug.

When we released VMware Fusion 8 and Fusion 8 Pro, we announced that we would fully support El Capitan, and we’re making good on that promise.

Recently we were somewhat surprised by a late change to El Capitan that was preventing the installation of El Capitan in a virtual machine, which I wrote about on my personal blog over here.  We had a fix, but it wasn’t an ideal situation and I personally am not a fan of telling users to replace components within the Fusion application package itself.

So, we felt this was kind of a big deal, and we released a fix yesterday by way of Fusion 8.0.1 to make sure that users who want to test the latest and greatest in a virtual machine were going to have the experience they expect: It just works. Users who have 8.0 installed should be getting a push notification about the available update, and we’ll be making updates to our web downloads shortly.

VMware Fusion 8 continues to make it easy to run the latest operating systems, and with 8.0.1 you can rest assured that not only does it run great on El Capitan, but that El Capitan also runs great as a virtual machine in VMware Fusion.

Congratulations to Apple on this fantastic release!

Thinking about upgrading from Parallels? We have a great deal for you!