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.
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:
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
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!
The Internet was great, but in addition to being a place to share ideas it needed to be a place for consumer commercial activity in order to gain the resources (i.e. corporate sponsorship and investment) needed to grow.
With bring the most connected generation in the history of the world, we are also now gathering more information than ever.
Things start to go Wrong
We now live in a world where a simple transparent 1×1 pixel .gif can be used to follow and track our online behaviour an endless number of sites across all of your devices. Social media hooks are built into every page for shareability, allowing groups like Facebook, Twitter and Google to learn more about what you click than ever before.
On the darker side of that equation, you have lots of potential for misuse and abuse of this new distributed digital landscape. Ad networks can unknowingly distribute malware, pages can ‘click-bait’ you into accidentally opening a barrage of popups or worse, and mobile devices have not had the same maturity as desktop devices so their ability to block unknown threats is minimal at best.
A Potential Solution
So, what does this have to do with VMware or VMware Workstation?
Workstation can be used to isolate all of this behaviour away from the computer that you are using, keeping you safe and protected.
Because of the isolation provided by the VMware hypervisor technology, using a virtual machine in Workstation effectively creates a sandbox for a second (or third, or fourth…) Operating System on the same computer you’re running.
It runs it the new OS in an isolated way with respect to Memory, CPU, and physical hardware devices. To be cliche about it: “What happens in the VM stays in the VM.”
So when something attacks a browser that’s running in a Virtual Machine sandbox, it has no way of impacting the main computer where you might have more sensitive information stored, like credit card or account numbers or access to otherwise protected networks that are available to the host computer.
And because it’s a virtual machine, you can do other interesting things as well, such as having a ‘snapshot’ for a roll back point, put it on a different network than the physical computer itself, or even bring that same VM to different computers to avoid having to use someone else’s browser.
Kid Friendly Internet-ing
It also makes sense if you have kids. I helped my sister out by having my nephew use a virtual machine. He double-clicks the ‘Kids Internet’ button on the desktop, it fires up a Linux virtual machine, and everything that he and his little brother click on can be easily undone by rolling back to a snapshot taken earlier.
It’s an interesting use case, and makes a lot of sense, especially for the privacy-conscious. There are OS’s out there designed specifically for anonymity such as Tails, Discreete Linux, Whonix, or Qubes OS.
We really think that our users would get a lot of benefit from this sort of a setup, so we put together a short Infographic and Video to share the story.
Yes, I know that’s a cheesy title, but in the office where we control Workstation and Fusion every day starts with a conversation about you. We talk about things that are trending on Twitter & Facebook, what’s happening on our community forums, and what people are asking us in our inboxes.
Some days it’s all good news, others it bad. Often it’s a mixture, but every day we’re grateful that you’re engaged with us, so that together we can build a better product.
Back in the summer we ran a competition to see what you’d say about us on YouTube. The results surprised us. I can honestly say that we were not expecting the volume of entries that our little give-away generated.
We are truly thankful that you are our customer.
Please stay engaged. Negative or positive, we want to hear your thoughts on the current product, and where you think it should go next.
In the meanwhile, in no order, here’s my favorite top 10 videos from the competition
VMware Workstation is among the targets of the PwnFest hacking competition. At this event, which is organized along the Power of Community security conference in Seoul, security researchers are demonstrating their attack capabilities. The event is modeled after the well-known Pwn2Own competition.
Earlier today at the event, the 360 Marvel Team and security researcher Lokihardt (JungHoon Lee) used the same issue to demonstrate that they could execute code on the VMware Workstation host from the guest. We have received details on this issue directly from the researchers and we are now working on a solution. We have confirmed that the issue is limited to VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion and that ESXi is not affected.
We would like to thank the organizers of the event, the 360 Marvel Team, and Lokihardt for working with us to address the issue.
November 13 update
Today, we’ve published VMware Security Advisory VMSA-2016-0019 which documents the release of VMware Workstation 12.5.2 and VMware Fusion 8.5.2. These new Workstation and Fusion versions address the issue that was demonstrated at the PwnFest event. The issue has been assigned CVE identifier CVE-2016-7461.
– VMware Security Response Center and VMware Workstation Team
Did you know that VMware Workstation Pro makes it easy to manage a fleet of “Bring Your Own Device” users?
By managing local desktop virtualization endpoints and users with VMware Horizon FLEX, businesses have more control than ever before. Use Workstation Pro to create your ‘Gold Master’ templates and then share those with end users to run using Workstation Player. The templates can be restricted and even encrypted, and managed from the central Horizon FLEX console.
Even when used un-namaged, Workstation Pro and Workstation Player allows BYOD PC’s to live in the enterprise like never before. Users can run the corporate desktop, complete with custom windows-only applications developed in-house, right from their personal Windows or Linux PC.
The Workstation team is proud to announce general availability of VMware Workstation 12.5 Pro and VMware Workstation 12.5 Player! These updates are free for all VMware Workstation 12 Pro and Workstation 12 Player users.
The guest OS uses the full amount of memory allocated to the virtual machine even if you try to limit the amount of memory used by the guest OS through the BCDEdit ‘truncatememory’ option. This issue is resolved.
We’ve been holding in the surprise for some time now but on the keynote stage today at VMworld, Sanjay Poonan, EVP of our End user Computing business unit where Fusion and Workstation are situated, pulled the covers back and revealed the details about our big annual release.
This year we are delivering 2 updates to the Workstation product family: Workstation 12.5 Proand Workstation 12.5 Player, and the big surprise is this: It’s a free upgrade for all current-version customers. So, if you’re on Workstation 12.5, you’re going to be able to upgrade to the latest version with full support for Windows 10 Anniversary edition, for free. We’ll also be adding Windows Server 2016 support when it comes available.
This is an exciting release for us because it marks the first time that we have provided a yearly update for no additional cost to current-version customers. We’ve been holding the surprise in for some time, so we’re very excited to finally share this with the world.
We’ve also changed how users can upgrade to the latest release. Users are eligible for upgrade pricing going back to Workstation 7. So, if you have an old Workstation license and haven’t upgraded in a few years, there’s never been a better time to upgrade!