Virtualization Technology News and Information
VMware Workstation 6.5 Now Available

VMware's long running desktop virtualization platform is now at the 6.5 mark.  This product has come a long way, and it is typically the proving ground for new technology before it makes its way into ESX.  Some of the interesting new features in Workstation 6.5 include:

  • Unity mode — Integrate your favorite guest applications with your host. Open the application window, enter Unity mode, and the Workstation window is automatically minimized. The guest application windows look just like host application windows, but with color-coded borders. You can access the virtual machine's Start menu (for Windows virtual machines) or Applications menu (for Linux virtual machines) by placing the mouse pointer over the host's Start or Applications menu, or by using a key combination.
  • Accelerated 3-D graphics on Windows XP guests — Workstation 6.5 virtual machines now work with applications that use DirectX 9 accelerated graphics with shaders up through Shader Model 2.0 on Windows XP guests. Hosts can be running Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Linux.
  • More powerful record/replay of VM execution activity — Easily enable this powerful debugging tool, which records full system behavior, including all CPU and device activity. You can now insert markers while creating or playing back a recording and quickly navigate to these markers during replay. You can also browse a recording to replay from any spot.
  • Virtual machine streaming — You can now download a virtual machine from a Web server and power it on without waiting for the download to complete. Use the command-line startup command (vmware for Workstation or vmplayer for VMware Player) with the URL of the virtual machine. The download can also be paused and restarted. Note that this feature is not available for ACE instances.

Usability Enhancements  

  • Easy Install option for Windows and Linux guest operating systems — When you create a virtual machine, you now have the option of entering a few pieces of information so that installation of the guest operating system and VMware Tools is performed in an unattended fashion. Easy install is supported on newer Windows operating systems and some version of the following Linux operating systems: Red Hat, Mandriva, and Ubuntu.
  • Installer bundle for Linux hosts — Installing Workstation on Linux hosts just got a lot easier. The new bundle format provides a graphical UI wizard for most Linux operating systems. With a few mouse clicks, Workstation is installed. For users who want a custom installation, a command-line interface provides complete control.
  • Integration with VMware Converter 3.0.3 — This release includes the Conversion wizard component from VMware Converter 3.0.3. You can now use File > Import to create virtual machines from Acronis True Image files in addition to the Microsoft Virtual PC, Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery, and StorageCraft ShadowProtect file types previously supported. You can also convert Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF) appliances. For Microsoft Virtual PC and Microsoft Virtual Server virtual machines, you now have the option of sharing the source virtual hard disk (.vhd) files.

Performance Improvements  

  • Networking performance using NAT — You will see significant improvements in networking performance if a virtual machine is configured to use NAT. Performance is ten times better than in the previous release in some cases.
  • Folder sharing and dragging, dropping, copying, and pasting text and files — Transferring files between virtual machines or between host and guests using these features is up to 25 percent faster.
  • USB devices — Several optimizations have reduced latency of I/O to USB devices by as much as 50 percent.
  • I/O performance — A new asynchronous I/O manager boosts performance on Windows hosts under heavy I/O loads.
  • VMCI performance — Applications that make use of VMCI will see a significant increase in throughput. Several optimizations have been added.

New Platform Capabilities  

  • New virtual hardware version — This new hardware version lets you use the following new features if the guest operating system supports them: Add or remove some virtual devices while the virtual machine is powered on ("hot-plug"). Use LSI Logic SAS (serial attached SCSI) adapters in the virtual machine. Hot-add virtual CPUs and memory to guests that support this functionality. For virtual machines with this hardware version, 3-D graphics capabilities are enabled by default for Windows 2000 and later guest operating systems and most Linux guests.
  • (Experimental) Support for smart cards in virtual machines — You can plug a smart card reader into a host and insert your smart card to authenticate yourself on your host or on a guest. Smart cards can be shared between the host and guests or between guests.
  • Replicate the physical network connection state for mobile users — If you use virtual machines on a laptop or other mobile device, enable this new link state propagation feature if you use bridged network connections (not NAT). As you move from one wired or wireless network to another, the IP address is automatically renewed.

Developer Tools  

  • VMCI Sockets interface — Developers who want to write client-server applications for virtual machines can now use this sockets interface for the Virtual Machine Communication Interface. VMCI provides a faster means of communication among applications running on the host and in virtual machines. See the VMCI Sockets Programming Guide.
  • Updated VIX 1.6 API — The VIX API allows you to write scripts and programs to automate virtual machine operations. The API is available in the C language. There are additional language bindings for Perl and COM. See the VIX API 1.6 release notes and the VIX API Reference Guide.
  • (Experimental) VAssert API for inserting replay-only code to debug applications — Use virtual assertions as you would regular assertions in the applications you develop. The benefit of VAsserts is that they appear only when you replay a recording using the application and so are overhead-free. Currently available for Windows guests. See the VAssert Programming Guide.
  • VProbes tool for investigating guest behavior — You can write VProbes scripts that inspect and record activities in the guest, VMM, VMX, and virtual device state, without modifying that state. For example, VProbes can track which applications are running or indicate which processes are causing page faults. See the VProbes Programming Reference.
Published Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:43 PM by David Marshall
VMware Releases Server 2.0, Workstation 6.5, ACE 2.5 | - (Author's Link) - September 28, 2008 3:20 PM
easgs - (Author's Link) - October 4, 2008 12:07 PM

Hi, I have created a video tutorial about how to install VMware 6.5 Workstation in OpenSuse 11.0, the video is available at:

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