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Announcing VMware Workstation 16 and Fusion 12

Announcing: VMware Workstation 16 and Fusion 12

a list of the 4 VMware products: Fusion and Workstation Pro and Player

It is our pleasure and privilege to announce the upcoming VMware Desktop Hypervisor product lines for 2020: VMware VMware Workstation 16 and VMware Fusion 12

Looking for a more Mac-centric perspective?  Check out the Fusion 12 blog!

Quick Overview

Building on over 20 years of local virtualization excellence, the latest releases of our favorite virtualization tools deliver some amazing new capabilities for IT Admins, for Developers, and for everyone else.

Top of the list is bringing Kubernetes and Containers to Workstation for Windows with the CLI ‘vctl’

Developers with Fusion can already use ‘vctl’ to build, run, push or pull containers, and now we’re bringing vctl to Workstation for Windows.

vctl can now also deploy custom Kubernetes clusters with newly added support for ‘kind’ – a tool for creating developer-defined local clusters using containers as “nodes.”

The aim is to provide developers a reliable setup for establishing a rapid ‘inner loop’ pipeline of development and code iteration to build modern applications, or even when working on the codebase of Kubernetes itself.

 

Fusion 12 and Workstation 16 will be shipping in VMware’s Fiscal Q3 which ends in October. Don’t want to wait? We’re still collecting feedback from our Fusion and Workstation Tech Previews!

 

New Pricing for Workstation Pro, Fusion Pro

Workstation Pro has undergone some changes as well. Firstly, the upgrade and new license pricing are now  $99 for existing customers, or $199 for new customers. For individual customers, are also now licensing Workstation for use on up to 3 personal devices. And now, those devices can now also be a Mac by simply applying your Workstation Pro license key in Fusion Pro.

Workstation Player continues to be available as Free for Personal Use, and offers commercial licenses at $149 for new licenses and $79 for upgrades, while also now providing license portability with Fusion Player. These changes should make it easy for organizations to license many workstations without necessarily knowing if their users will choose Macs or PCs beforehand.

Fusion Workstation Pricing Chart

Updated Pricing for 2020

Technology Guarantee Program

Customers who buy VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro or Workstation 15.5 Player from August 15th until Workstation 16 ships will also be automatically provided a version 16 key in their MyVMware portal.

 

 

Workstation product banners

New Features

Okay, it’s time to look a little more closely at some more new features.

Containers and Kubernetes

For developers, we’ve added support for Containers and Kubernetes with a new CLI tool: vctl!

Currently available in Fusion, vctl allows users to push, pull, build and run OCI container images, and now also includes the ability to deploy kind Kubernetes clusters.

In support of kind, vctl creates a ‘docker compatible’ socket for kind to connect to without modification, by using an implementation of containerd. We’re looking forward to working closely with the open source community to help support more tools and workflows as we continue to grow in this space!

Even better news is that it will ship with Workstation Player as well as Workstation Pro, making it accessible to everyone.

DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1

Workstation 16 will support running games and apps with Direct3D version 11, otherwise known as ‘DirectX 11’, or OpenGL 4.1. Users can now allocate up to 8GB of vRAM to your 3D accelerated guest to maximize gaming and 3D app performance. (vms must be configured for 16GB of RAM or more to unlock the 8GB vRAM option.)

vSphere 7 Compatibility

Workstation has been updated to support connections to vSphere 7 through ESXi and vCenter for remote VM operation and configuration, as well as providing workload mobility and  compatibility between the Desktops and Data Center virtual infrastructure. (Pro products are required for remote-connections)

 

Dark Mode UI

Upon launching Workstation 16 for Windows, the first thing users might notice is that we’ve added an all new Dark Mode feature to the Workstation Pro and Player UIs. This striking new look feels right at home on the latest versions of Windows 10, including the recently released 2004 build. (We’re holding out on screenshots while we put the final touches on the new UI 😉

Sandboxed Graphics Rendering Engine

Workstation offers a new security enhancement feature: Sandbox Renderer. The SBR runs the virtual graphics engine in a separate thread with reduced privilege, making Fusion and Workstation more secure out-of-the-box without sacrificing performance or quality.

Linux Host: Vulkan Graphics Rendering Engine

With Workstation 16 for Linux, we’ve added a new rendering engine that takes advantage of the Vulkan API. Our new Vulkan renderer can deliver DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.3 to vms even when using an integrated Intel GPU.

Improved Accessibility

We believe in making computing as inclusive as possible for everyone. To that end, we’ve improved our compliance with VPAT Section 508 to help users of all kinds get the full benefits of using virtual machines.

USB 3.1 Support + Performance & Bugfixes

In this release we’ve also added support for USB 3.1 virtual devices, allowing for USB 3.1 hardware devices to be passed into virtual machines with full driver support.

 

 Can’t wait to ship!

Delivering Fusion and Workstation is the result of a collaboration between many different teams across all of VMware, so we want to give thanks not only to our rockstar engineers, but to all the customers and Tech Preview users who have given us such great feedback in contribution to this incredible release. We look forward to hearing your experiences in our community!

 

If you want to have an early look at some of these features, we’re still collecting feedback from our Fusion and Workstation Tech Previews!

43 thoughts on “Announcing VMware Workstation 16 and Fusion 12

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      Negative. We wouldn’t have a way to operationalize that with a timeline that made sense.
      I mean we do have a way to deliver pre-release bits, it’s called our Tech Preview, but we don’t issue ‘patches’, just the whole .bundle at once.
      So given we aren’t planning another tech preview before GA, I wouldn’t expect 5.8 to work until then.
      Are there specific features in the 5.8 kernel that are ‘must have’ from your perspective, giving you a compelling reason to upgrade ASAP?

      1. Tommy

        I think a lot of us are just on rolling releases, like Arch. I absolutely depend on VMware, and it was quite a catastrophe during the last update =). In the meantime Ive downgraded the terminal and suspended many upgrades, but just to answer the direct question, its not so much as any killer feature in the kernel, as it is just being on distros with the latest kernel.

    2. Denis

      — a/vmnet/Makefile
      +++ b/vmnet/Makefile
      @@ -43,7 +43,11 @@ INCLUDE += -I$(SRCROOT)/shared
      endif

      +ifdef KVERSION
      +VM_UNAME = $(KVERSION)
      +else
      VM_UNAME = $(shell uname -r)
      +endif

      # Header directory for the running kernel
      ifdef LINUXINCLUDE
      — a/vmmon/Makefile
      +++ b/vmmon/Makefile
      @@ -43,7 +43,11 @@ INCLUDE += -I$(SRCROOT)/shared
      endif

      +ifdef KVERSION
      +VM_UNAME = $(KVERSION)
      +else
      VM_UNAME = $(shell uname -r)
      +endif

      # Header directory for the running kernel
      ifdef LINUXINCLUDE
      — a/vmmon/linux/driver.c
      +++ b/vmmon/linux/driver.c
      @@ -38,6 +38,8 @@

      #if LINUX_VERSION_CODE = KERNEL_VERSION(5, 8, 0)
      +#error Linux kernels from 5.8.0 are not supported
      #endif

      #include

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      There’s some performance work going on there, but we haven’t quantified it as we’re still testing.
      There is a known body of work to be done (as in we know what technically we need to do to improve performance on Hyper-V enabled hosts), but some of that work will rely on as-yet-unreleased APIs to be available in Windows.
      I would expect Ws16 on Win2004 to feel like the Tech Preview for the most part (little snappier tho), but going forward there should be some bigger gains as we continue to work with MS on it.

  1. Christian

    “Customers who buy VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro or Workstation 15.5 Player from August 15th until Workstation 16 ships will also be automatically provided a version 16 key in their MyVMware portal.”

    When do you plan to start the new pricing?
    Is it already possible to get a new license for Workstation 15.5 Pro for $199 (and later get the additional license for WS 16 Pro)?

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      The new prices go into effect when the products launch in a few weeks.
      I think if you buy from a channel partner they might be able to transact, but the bits still won’t be available.

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      They seem interesting, but it’s not something we’re looking at at this time.

  2. Timothy Huckabay

    What about the historically poor performance (still through 15.5) of SSDs, including NVMe drives, under Workstation Pro? Vmware has long kneecapped this storage performance, and it is unacceptable at this stage.

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      Actually we made some strides in that particular area. Not sure what you mean by kneecapping (i mean, why would we do that?)
      It’s a little early to publish benchmarks, but it’s something the team is working to do.

      1. Timothy Huckabay

        I have extensively tested through version 15.5 of Workstation Pro. No matter how fast an intalled NVMe SSD is (host), for example, driver performance metrics INSIDE a VM are capped. It makes no material difference, in fact, if one uses a SATA SSD or NVMe SSD on the host machine, the performance is capped inside the VM. Moreover, changing emulated drive types inside the VM makes little to no difference, as the caps remain. This is a plumbing issue in VMWare Workstation’s drivers and other code related to reading and writing from virtual drives. Finally, the CAPS themselves inside the VM are VERY LOW compared to the performance the given SSD is actually capable of, and actually produces ON THE HOST machine.

        I posted this in January 2019, in the forums, which provides a bit more detail:

        As of version 15.0.2 of Workstation, this is still NOT fixed. VMware’s claim of “performance improvements for virtual NVMe storage” are just hot air. I have extensively tested the latest versions of Workstation Pro 15 and Workstation Pro 14, and can definitively state that the SCSI drive option continues to be faster than the NVME drive option, and both are much slower than they should be within VMs. (Even under the SCSI option, read/write performance is DRAMATICALLY worse in the VM than on the host for NVME drives.) I tested using a Samsung 970 Evo 2TB NVME drive in all cases for this. There is not even a recognizable marginal improvement in NVME performance between Workstation 14 and 15. So, VMware has yet to actually address this problem. Notably, Workstation 15 continues to recommend SCSI drives over all others for performance, so at least that much is yet true. NOTE: Within a VM, NVME drives particularly suffer for multithreaded reads and writes, as may be seen in the AS SSD Benchmark tool’s 4K-64Thrd (i.e., 64-threads) read and write tests.

        Now, regarding…drive performance, here are your best options to date: use a SCSI disk (NOT NVME)….

        1. Felix

          I came to the same conclusion as I was testing virtual NVME vs virtual SCSI drives. I was surprised as I saw that a virtual NVME drive actually performs worse than the SCSI one. The difference is not even small. My Manjaro VM took noticably longer to boot from the NVME drive.

          I tested that on a Samsung 970 EVO 1TB. That was about two months ago with the most recent kernel at that time.

  3. Charles

    “Customers who buy VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro or Workstation 15.5 Player from August 15th until Workstation 16 ships will also be automatically provided a version 16 key in their MyVMware portal.”

    * Does this mean that the Version 16 Key will be for a trial period, one year, what is the duration for the new 16 key?

    * When the Version 16 is released and provided in our MyVMware portal, is it at a discounted price if there is a trial period even though I already have 15.5 and upgraded to 16?

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      The v16 key is perpetual, same as v15.

      > “* When the Version 16 is released and provided in our MyVMware portal, is it at a discounted price if there is a trial period even though I already have 15.5 and upgraded to 16?”
      I think there’s some clarification needed here.
      To clarify, if it is provided automatically into your MyVMware portal, it’s because you purchased 15.5 after August 20, or you have an active SNS contract. No additional purchase needed.
      Discounted pricing applies if you already own a license for v15 or v14 but bought before Aug 15.

  4. mwb

    > the upgrade priceing will now be: $99 for existing customers

    Will the upgrade window still be owning a Workstation Pro within the last two major releases (ie., to get the upgrade price for 16.0 you will have to have a registered license for 14 or 15)?

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      That’s exactly correct. You’ll need a version at least 2 major versions old, so v14 or v15. v12 would not qualify.
      However, if someone has v12 right now, they can buy the discounted upgrade for Workstation 15 and get a free upgrade to v16.

  5. tom fenton

    You state that a Fusion Pro 12 license will unlock Workstation Pro 16, but will a Workstation Pro unlock Fusion Pro?

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      Yes. Pro product keys unlock Pro products, Player keys unlock Player products.

  6. laz

    I always face screen tearing in both windows and linux virtual machines in vmware workstation 15.5. Is there a fix. I

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      Sorry, but blog posts aren’t really good troubleshooting avenues. Have you posted on the community forum?

  7. Simon Sudler

    Will the new version cooperate with Windows 10 Device Guard and Credential Guard? Because this is a major feature I am waiting for.

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      Workstation 15.5.5 already has this capability, and yes WS16 will include it as well 🙂

  8. Dawid Wrobel

    I can’t find any information on how to get vctl expose a docker-compatible socket. I am hoping to test Fusion with JetBrains CLion’s built-in docker support and hopefully use it as a Docker for Mac replacement.

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      I answered my own question by typing it into Google… but it’s interesting…
      So today you could actually install the docker-machine-driver-vmware and use that it seems.
      https://github.com/machine-drivers/docker-machine-driver-vmware , and that can be installed with Homebrew or Chocolaty:
      https://chocolatey.org/packages/docker-machine-vmware

      Next up would be specifying the docker socket directly, so when WS16 ships I’ll see if we can put together some instructions for how get that running smoothly.

      1. Dawid Wrobel

        Michael,

        Thanks for getting back to me. So it won’t be part of Fusion 12, only limited to Workstation? I am testing Fusion 12 as I speak.

        Also, I am aware of docker-machine driver and been actually using with it already, but connecting directly to vctl would definitely reduce the complexity and provide missing features, like auto-mapping shared volumes.

        1. Michael Roy Post author

          My bad, I just assumed Workstation since this is the Workstation blog (tho the Fusion one has comments turned off because of comment spam…it gets A LOT)

          So the path to the socket today is: ~/.vctl/storage/containerd/run/containerd/containerd.sock , and that won’t be changing.
          It’ll be interesting to hear how you get on with this… I’ll try in GoLand as well… but feel free to drop me a line if you have questions about it: mroy at vmware…

  9. Jeff

    By USB 3.1 support, do you mean USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), vs the earlier USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)?

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      As a Guest, yes. WS16 will run Windows 7 VMs.
      As a Host, no, Workstation 16 will not run on Windows 7 hosts.

  10. Daniel

    Hi,

    Just reading this “Workstation Pro has undergone some changes as well. Firstly, the upgrade and new license pricing are now $99 for existing customers, or $199 for new customers. For individual customers, are also now licensing Workstation for use on up to 3 personal devices. And now, those devices can now also be a Mac by simply applying your Workstation Pro license key in Fusion Pro.”

    Q: If I upgrade my WS Pro 14 license to WS Pro 15.5 today, when V16 comes out, will I be licensed to use it on 3 PC? I’m an individual using this at home only.

    Cheers

  11. hyewon bark

    hello,Michael
    i have some question about workstation release.

    “Customers who buy VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro or Workstation 15.5 Player from August 15th until Workstation 16 ships will also be automatically provided a version 16 key in their MyVMware portal.”

    1.by when they should register their license key in My VMware portal? for automatically provided a version 16 key
    2. if they who had used workstation 15.5 without SnS want to up grade worktstation 16 ,they have to buy SnS?
    3. if their SnS will be over, they who use worktstation 16 have to buy again SnS?

    1. Michael Roy Post author

      1) You’ll want to register that rikht away if you haven’t already. There’s a window that will close, but it’s not over yet.
      2) Only if they’re buying from a channel part, not orders from store.vmware.com
      3) No, they would need a new (or an upgrade) license

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