VM Workstation 8

Submitted by jbredehoeft on Thu, 01/26/2012 - 22:48

I've been using linux for years and it is my preference for my desktop and my home systems, however the companies I work with and for usually issue Windows desktops and most of the their applications are windows applications. So, I run windows when I have to, either by dual boot or in a VM. Currently, I'm working for a company that provides a windows laptop that I must us to connect to the corporate LAN via a VPN or I can use the Citrix Access Gateway from any computer. I can't VPN with my home linux system and the Citrix Desktop or XenApps disconnect every few minutes requiring a relogin. I either use the corporate laptop to do Windows work via the VPN clients or I can launch VM workstation and connect to the CAG which solves the disconnect problem, but this constrains me to being in the VM. I been using workstation for quite a while since the early versions, and it is a great product, I just wasn't impressed with the latest version.

With workstation 8 my VMs had sound issues with the new vmtools, primarily the HD sound. I was able to fix this, first by downgrading back to HW version 7 and eventually fixing a few settings. This was cumbersome and difficult, but this article isn't about how to fix VMs. This is about Unity in workstation and other features. With this new version of VM Workstation, Unity works well. Previous versions of Unity had been a little buggy, so I had forgotten about Unity until just recently. Unity in VM workstation 8 is smooth and works well. Now it allows me to be in my linux desktop, fully productive, using Citrix without disconnects, and without having to VPN in from the corporate laptop. I've gotten some of my desk space back, I still have the use of my native linux applications, and can drag applications anyplace on my home linux desktop, while using Unity. Why did I forget about Unity?

Unity is only one of several functions of VM Workstation. Teams are gone, but folders have been added and they provide nearly similar functionality to teams. There are advanced network settings, there is even a way to connect to vSphere, Workstation 8 becomes a vSphere client. That is awesome, I can now move VMs to into Virtual Center or share them with other people thru a central location or test them on my local machine. I can even remotely create a VM on vCenter.

There are additional functions also: export to ovf; or run Converter, which is now integrated into workstation. VMworkstation just gets better and better. You can convert PCs, servers... etc. Start the P2V (physical to virtual) process from the same console of your Workstation, and do other tasks while the conversion process continues. Workstation got a major overhaul with version 8, and now it deserves to be a tool for every IT admin. Not just to build and play VM's locally on a single PC or server for testing, but to access VMs located on multiple systems or in vCenter and manage them.

If you haven't used VM workstation before, get it -- it is worth it if only just for Unity, but there is so much more. Get it! Do it now!