VMware Fusion 5 was released this week.
Here are a few quick thoughts…
They now sell a “regular” ($49) and “Professional” ($99) version
Now with the introduction of the Professional edition, VMware is only selling upgrades to Fusion 5 Professional for $49
At first this might seem unfair, but I checked my order history and I paid $49 for the upgrade from v3 to v4 so the upgrade price is the same as the last go around, and you’re getting the higher end version of the product.
Now for the good news…
Historically VMware Workstation on the PC has had more features and was better suited to running VM labs for trying out new stuff.
Fusion seemed to be more consumer focused – Ie it was a good fit for someone who needed to run one copy of windows 7, but it wasn’t as good as Workstation for someone trying to manage, say a dozen or two virtual machines for various labs.
Fusion 5 Pro introduced 2 new features that just made this a lot more viable on the mac:
– Folders – this is such a simple, but necessary container – If you have more than a few VM’s it’s useful to be able to group them into folders.
– Networking – This isn’t as good as I remember it on the PC version – there’s no settings to limit bandwidth (useful for simulating slower connections) but it’s nice to see them add the feature. It does mean that you can likely setup multiple, isolated private networks (useful for isolating VM labs from each other)
– Lastly an annoying behavior they added with VMware Fusion 4 has been resolved – it used to be that when you launched a VM, the “Virtual machine library” would dissapear – it was a bit of a pain if you had to kick off 3 or 4 VM’s – this window stays put now.
– the Virtual Machine Library also now features both a list and an icon view. The list view is very nice, with a tree view on the left of your VM’s (and folders) and a preview window on the right. under the preview window it shows a few lines of the notes field so you can easily see what the selected VM is all about. Under that is a storage breakdown and the lines of notes which are displayed very visibly now – this is great if you leave yourself notes on what each VM is for. Under that is storage graph and the ability to see how much disk space you can reclaim.
On my environment, I upgraded from v4 – one of my Vm’s (windows 7) was suspended and that worked fine in 5, but it warned me that some things were different and recommended that I shut down the machine so that the vmware tools could be upgraded and so that the compatibility setting could be updated.
Another machine had a snapshot and that seemed to go ok as well – Though as a precaution, after the Vmware tools were updated I deleted my snapshot then created a new, current one.