Home > Blogs > VMware Workstation Zealot
Featured post

Workstation Tech Preview: New Container CLI

Today we’ve released a new Tech Preview with a first look at a big new feature: Containers.

vctl container CLI with Workstation Tech Preview

A reminder that this is pre-release software and should be used for testing purposes only.

Containers are shipping…

Building and running containers has become a mainstay in modern cloud-based application development, but today if users want to build an app with containers and test it with different clients, you’d need multiple tools.

Recently, VMware Fusion introduced ‘vctl’, the command-line interface to our container platform. vctl gives users the control to Build, Run, Pull and Push OCI container images without needing another container runtime installed, while continuing to build and run virtual machines.

With the release of today’s Workstation 20H2 July Tech Preview, we’re beginning to bring the same container workflow of  ‘vctl’ to Workstation for Windows.

[Link to the Tech Preview Getting Started Guide]

vctl allows users to Build, Run, Pull and Push OCI container images using Workstation. By default vctl supports pulling directly from docker hub, but can be configured to pull images from any compatible registry such as Harbor.

vctl default output

This being our first release of this technology on Windows, we’re eager to hear feedback from the community about your experience. We’re working to deliver a container runtime that leverages the benefits of the VMware Workstation hypervisor stack, optimized for containers, to deliver an experience that supports the workflows of today in a familiar and friendly way.

We encourage users to test their container apps by doing a ‘vctl pull’ from docker hub or ‘vctl build’ in a directly with a standard Dockerfile, and fire it up with ‘vctl run’. Let us know how it goes and where we can improve!

[Link to the Tech Preview Getting Started Guide]

Port Forwarding is not required: Each container has its own lightweight vm appliance host based on Photon OS

What else is new?

In addition to support for containers with vctl, we’re also looking for feedback in the following areas:

Vulkan renderer support for Linux Workstation.

Vulkan is seen as the successor to OpenGL and Workstation for Linux is testing a new Vulkan-based rendering engine.

This feature enables Linux hosts with Intel GPUs to provide 3D support with DX10.1 and OpenGL 3.3 to VMs, which was previously not possible without discrete GPUs from AMD or Nvidia.

    • If Workstation detects an Intel GPU is present and in use by X, it will default to the Vulkan renderer. No additional configuration necessary.
    • If AMD or Nvidia GPUs are in use by X it will default to the OpenGL renderer with DX11 and OpenGL 4.1 (currently in testing)

USB 3.1 controller support

USB 3.1 devices are now able to connect to virtual machines

Increased VM Maximums

VM Maximums have been increased to 32 vCPUs, 128 GB virtual memory, 8GB vRAM per virtual machine

    • On systems that support these configurations, virtual machines can now run with up to 32 virtual CPUs and 128GB of virtual memory. (i.e. 16 or more CPU cores and >128GB of RAM)
    • vGPU can be configured with 8GB of shared memory

Join us in the Tech Preview Community and share your experience!

 

A reminder that this is pre-release software and should be used for testing purposes only. 

 

VMware Workstation 15.5 Now Supports Host Hyper-V Mode

With the release of VMware Workstation/Player 15.5.5, we are very excited and proud to announce support for Windows hosts with Hyper-V mode enabled! As you may know, this is a joint project from both Microsoft and VMware. You can also check out Microsoft’s blog here.

Direct Download:

It has been a long journey

  • Since the introduction of Hyper-V, including Credential Guard and Device Guard, enabling any of these features prevented VMware Workstation from launching virtual machines. In order to satisfy our customers, VMware and Microsoft started a collaboration with the goal of fixing this problem.
  • At VMworld 2019 San Francisco, VMware and Microsoft together made an announcement that we have jointly developed a project that adopts Microsoft Windows Hypervisor Platform (WHP) APIs.
  • In January 2020, Workstation Tech Preview 20H1 was released, with support for hosts with VBS enabled being the target feature for testing.

How does VMware Workstation work before version 15.5.5? 

VMware Workstation traditionally has used a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) which operates in privileged mode requiring direct access to the CPU as well as access to the CPU’s built in virtualization support (Intel’s VT-x and AMD’s AMD-V).  When a Windows host enables Virtualization Based Security (“VBS“) features, Windows adds a hypervisor layer based on Hyper-V between the hardware and Windows.  Any attempt to run VMware’s traditional VMM fails because being inside Hyper-V the VMM no longer has access to the hardware’s virtualization support.

Introducing User Level Monitor

To fix this Hyper-V/Host VBS compatibility issue, VMware’s platform team re-architected VMware’s Hypervisor to use Microsoft’s WHP APIs. This means changing our VMM to run at user level instead of in privileged mode, as well modifying it to use the WHP APIs to manage the execution of a guest instead of using the underlying hardware directly.

What does this mean to you?

VMware Workstation/Player can now run when Hyper-V is enabled. You no longer have to choose between running VMware Workstation and Windows features like WSL, Device Guard and Credential Guard. When Hyper-V is enabled, ULM mode will automatically be used so you can run VMware Workstation normally. If you don’t use Hyper-V at all, VMware Workstation is smart enough to detect this and the VMM will be used.

System Requirements

To run Workstation/Player using the Windows Hypervisor APIs, the minimum required Windows 10 version is Windows 10 20H1 build 19041.264. VMware Workstation/Player minimum version is 15.5.5.

A big congratulation to the engineering teams from both Microsoft and VMware. This is a big milestone for both sides. We will still be working together on bugs reported by our customers, improving performance, and adding features to WHP based on customers’ requests.

A big thank you to our customers, to our passionate users! Thank you for being patient! Thank you for your valuable feedback! You are the only reason we have such a big joint project!

Enjoy running VMware Workstation on the latest Windows 10 20H1 with or without Hyper-V!

— The VMware Workstation Team

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

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

Quick download links:

Workstation Pro for Windows

Workstation Pro for Linux

What‘s New with the Workstation 20H2 Tech Preview

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.

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 Workstation Tech Preview Community Forum!

Download Now! (Windows)

VMware Workstation 20H1 Tech Preview – New Build Available

Thank you all for testing VMware Workstation 20H1 Tech Preview. So far many thousands of users have joined the testing.

We are happy to announce that updated Tech Preview build is published. With this new build, following issue reported by our users have been fixed — Virtual machine may crash when powered on if VMware Workstation runs on a Hyper-V/Host VBS enabled host with Intel CPU model Skylake or later.

Please retest and let us know whether this fixes the issue if you experienced it before.

We have been fixing bugs, improving performance of the virtual machine performance on VBS enabled host, to drive VMware Workstation with host VBS enabled feature to reach GA quality as soon as we can.

Please stay tuned for further updates!

Thank you!

Direct Download Link

VMware Workstation Team

VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H1 — Hyper-V/Host VBS Support

VMware Workstation team is proud to announce VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H1 is now available.

Download it here

What’s New with VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H1

With the first release of our 2020 Tech Preview branch, version 20H1 users are now able to run virtual machines on Windows 10 when Hyper-V or host Virtualization Based Security is turned on. You can run Device Guard, Credential Guard services at the same time as VMware Workstation.

At VMworld 2019, the team brought Microsoft on stage for a joint demo, showing for the first time that a virtual machine could be successfully powered on a Hyper-V and VBS (Virtualization Based Security enabled Windows 10 host.  After years of hard work, this incredibly challenging and very low-level project has now moved from concept to a preview that you can test today.

Software Requirements

  • Windows 10 20H1 from Windows insider program.  Minimum build number: 19041.

Hardware Requirements

  • Intel Haswell or newer CPU
  • AMD Bulldozer or newer CPU

What to Test

With this tech preview, VMware Workstation is supposed to work exactly the same way as Workstation works on the non-Hyper-V/VBS enabled host. Please test your most frequent used scenarios and see how it works. Some of the examples we can think of:

  • Create a virtual machine with VMware Workstation Pro Tech Preview 20H1
    • Set up all the tools within the virtual machine that you use, use those tools within the virtual machine, and check the tools work as expected
    • VM operations, for example, Power On/Off virtual machine, Suspend/Resume, Take snapshot/Revert to snapshot, …
  • Copy a VM that was created with earlier Workstation GA version and which is being used in daily work, and run the VM under the tech preview build

Limitations

Comparing with what we demoed at VMworld 2019, Performance of virtual machine have been greatly improved. However, since this is a beta build instead of GA build, the performance may still be not as good as you expect it to be. However, please tell us if you find performance of some applications running within the virtual machine behave far below expectation. General performance of VMware Workstation with host VBS is top priority we target to improve with the GA version to be released soon.

There are some other known issues and limitations. You can check details from user guide under “Documents” of Workstation Pro Tech Preview 20H1 community.

We will answer your questions raised in VMware Workstation Tech Preview 20H1 community and looking forward to your feedback!

Thank you!

Direct Download Link

VMware Workstation Team

Black Friday Sale is on!

he looks happy, doesn't he?

It’s that time of year again!

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

Workstation 15.0 (Pro or Player) customers can install Workstation 15.5 (Pro or Player) as a free upgrade without needing a new license key, but for users still on Workstation 12 or Workstation 14, now is the best time to upgrade to the latest and most advanced versions available!

Workstation Pro 15.5 introduces support for the latest Windows updates, a number of important security and bug fixes, as well as new features like Multi-Monitor Shortcut and Jumbo Frames!

Get your upgrade before the sale ends!

 

 

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

OFFER ENDS DEC 01 AT 21:00 PACIFIC!

 

Workstation 15.5 Pro and Player Available Now!

It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the immediate availability of VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro and Player!

 

Our major release this year comes as a free upgrade for existing version 15 customers, with upgrade discounts available for v12 and v14 customers.

Release Notes

Workstation Pro:

Direct Windows download ::: Direct Linux download

Workstation Player:

Direct Player for Windows download ::: Direct Player for Linux download

Still on Workstation 14 or 12.5? Upgrade Here!

Whats New

Jumbo Frames

Configure the MTU size of your virtual networks (Pro only) up to 9194 bytes for nested virtual lab environment testing and replication. Run a full NSX deployment on vSphere on your local system (sufficient CPU/RAM/Disk resources required, of course!). 

Better vSphere Compatibility: pvscsi

Workstation 15.5 introduces the pvscsi device, bringing improved desktop-to-datacenter compatibility for many virtual machine and OVA/OVF templates. No need to change virtual devices and settings when migrating workloads between Workstation and vSphere!

New OS support

Workstation is updated to support the latest versions of Microsoft Windows and the major Open Source distributions:

    • Windows 10 19H2
    • Ubuntu 1904 (and 1910 after release)
    • Debian 10.1
    • RHEL 7
    • FreeBSD 12.0
    • Oracle Linux 8
    • SLE 15 SP1

Display control at your fingertips

Users of multi-monitor setups can take advantage of our new display-layout shortcut key.

Use ‘Ctrl-Alt-M’ in full screen mode to bring up the Monitor Layout menu. From there select one of the options with another keystroke (i.e. the 1, 2, 3, 4, number keys)

We’ve also fixed a number of bugs, improved performance (most noticeably around host-guest file sharing and vm shutdown times), and added a number of important security fixes.

Grab the download by using Workstation to ‘Check for updates’, from your MyVMware portal, or download it directly here:

Workstation Pro:

Direct Windows download

Direct Linux download:

Workstation Player:

Direct Player for Windows download

Direct Player for Linux download

 

We hope you love it!

Let us know what you think in the VMware Workstation Community forums!

Workstation and Hyper-V Harmony

Many users have been taking advantage of Microsoft Hyper-V features that on the surface don’t exactly look like the typical virtualization we’re used to. Device Guard and Credential guard, for example, provide an extra layer of security by using the virtualization extensions of x86 CPU’s and Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor.

Hyper-V is also involved in running Windows Subsystem For Linux (v2) and Windows Server Containers behind the scenes.

And while this is a very effective suite of security barriers and great new set of ‘no compromise’ Linux and open source tools for developers, unfortunately it renders Workstation unable to launch.

You. Shall. Not. Pass.

bzzttt! Sorry!

Monday morning at VMworld 2019 we presented our annual ‘What’s New‘ session to talk about the upcoming Fusion and Workstation releases and share a little of our roadmap. More on that here.

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, 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.

Our demo consisted of booting both an Ubuntu Linux virtual machine and a Windows 10 virtual machine on a host with Hyper-V features, specifically device guard and credential guard, enabled.  While it was a little slow, we had no errors and were able to even open up a youtube video.

By building into Workstation the ability to use these new Hypervisor API’s at its core layers of operation, Hyper-V features and VMware Workstation virtual machines will be able to co-exist at the same time on the same host, out of the box.

We have a ways to go still, but we wanted to share this with our users to let them know that this was something we were working on with the highest of priorities, even tho we couldn’t talk about it until now.

We’re excited about the future and our ongoing collaboration with Microsoft and the WHP team, and look forward to sharing a tech demo in 2020.

When the VMworld Recordings go live you we will update this post and link to our session.

See Ben Armstrong’s blog post on the topic here:
https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Virtualization/VMware-Workstation-and-Hyper-V-Working-Together/ba-p/825831

 

 

 

Black Friday Sale!

Hurry while the savings last! – try our super secret coupon code ‘BF2018’ for an additional 10% off! 45% off in total!!

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!

Workstation 15 Pro delivers exciting new features such as DirectX 10.1 graphics, a revamped application interface, 4K display support with added scaling controls, one-click SSH to Linux VMs and more!

Hurry while the savings last!

Shop Now!

Workstation 15 Is Here

Workstation 15 Pro and Player are Now Available!

Download Now

Workstation Pro                 Workstation Player 

Buy Now

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, the VMware Workstation team is very proud to announce the general availability of VMware Workstation 15 Pro and VMware Workstation 15 Player, our flagship desktop hypervisors for Windows and Linux PCs.

With features aimed at developers and IT, as well as many overall improvements, this is one of our biggest releases yet.

Some of our favorite highlights include modernizing our user interface with 4K and HiDPI support, a brand new REST API, DirectX 10.1, and One-Click SSH into a Linux VM.

Brand New REST API

Most exciting for us is the addition of a new REST API. This API is the very same introduced in Fusion 10 last year has been brought to the Workstation platform. The REST API allows users to automate VM tasks as part of a broader workflow. Quickly command Workstation to deploy, configure and destroy VMs on the fly to rapidly speed up the development and testing process.

Control VMs with JSON over HTTP/S to automate all the things, locally or remotely

Version 1.2 of the API adds new controls to manage NAT port forwarding and MAC to IP DHCP bindings, allowing users to create complex virtual networking simulations using standard JSON over HTTP/S.

 

Updated Interface

Workstation Pro and Player have a fresh new face that supports the latest HiDPI 4K display resolutions for both Host (UI) and Guest (desktop) scaling. With over 500 new feature icons as well as updated product icons, the Workstation family has never looked so good.

The all new Workstation in 4K

Stretch Mode

Guests can now be ‘Stretched’ to fit displays with higher DPI without adjusting the guest resolution: console windows can be made larger and readable, and older OS’s with lower resolutions look like they’re supposed to.

Console views now scale on 4K and other HiDPI screens

One-Click-SSH into Linux VM

If you’re using Windows 10 version 1803 or greater, you’ll also have access to the new ‘One-Click-SSH’ feature to rapidly open up a secure shell to a Linux VM. This feature also works for remote connected vSphere, ESXi and Workstation hosts (network connectivity directly to the VM’s IP is required.)

Right-Click > SSH > Get Working

Enhanced 3D Hardware Accelerated Graphics Engine: DirectX 10.1

New in Workstation is Direct3D 10.1 capabilities, allowing games and applications which require DirectX 10.1 to run where they could not before. D3D 10.1 was an important step beyond D3D 10 because it adds Ant-Aliasing and Geometry shaders, and serves as a fallback for many DX11 games and applications that otherwise would not run.

DirectX 10.1 Graphics in Workstation 15

vSphere 6.7 Support + Hosts and Clusters View

Workstation 15 supports ESXi 6.7 virtual hosts as well as deploying vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 with the vCSA deployment wizard.

When connected to remote vSphere environments, Workstation now has awareness of Data Centers, Hosts and also Clusters, for greater visibility into remote environment topologies.

Hosts and Cluster view for remote vSphere connections

 

And That’s Not All…

Workstation also uses Virtual Hardware Platform Version 16, which includes many updates around Performance, Security and supporting the latest hardware and software technologies, including:

  • Improved Virtual NVMe Device Performance
  • Important Security Fixes (Spectre, Meltdown and L1TF)
  • Virtual Trusted Platform Module
  • UEFI Secure Boot
  • IOMMU
  • VBS (Device Guard, Credential Guard) Support (guest only)

Virtual Networking Controls (Workstation Pro Only)

Network Simulation: Workstation Pro can introduce Latency, as well as Packet Loss and Bandwidth Limits on Incoming and Outgoing traffic per Virtual NIC.

Network Rename: Workstation Pro allows users to rename networks for personalization and organization.

Virtualization Based Security

VMware Workstation 15 Pro and Player can each deliver a secure, managed virtual desktop capable of running the latest Virtualization Based Security technology such as Device Guard and  Credential Guard by providing a compliant virtual hardware platform. (Guest support only)

Workstation 15 contains a Virtual Trusted Platform Module device type, as well as UEFI Secure Boot and IOMMU, which are requirements for certain security applications and policy controls such as BitLocker.

Workstation also supports “nested” 3rd party hypervisors and hypervisor-based security functions, so features like Core Isolation and Hyper-V will run in supported VMs.

 

These, plus hundreds of bug fixes and general improvements make Workstation 15 our biggest release to date, and we’re so excited to share what 20 years of industry leading virtualization looks like!

 

Get your copy today!

Buy Now!