VMware Fusion Melds Apple OS X with Windows
While Apples OS X enjoys a healthy and broad software ecosystem of its own, theres no avoiding the fact that many vital applications, both commercial and in-house, will run only on Microsoft Windows. Enter VMware Fusion, a new product that enables OS X users to work around the operating system support limitations of the applications they require by hosting virtual instances of Windows and other x86 or x86-64 operating systems on their Apple desktops and notebooks. VMwares new offering, which joins the companys VMware Workstation and Player products for Windows and Linux, sets itself apart from its sibling products with a completely Mac-native interface and an impressive knack for integrating Windows applications into the OS X desktop as closely as possible. Its this joining of OS X and Windows to which the "Fusion" name refers.Click here to take eWEEK Labs tour of
VMware Fusions highlights.
I recommend that OS X users looking to run Windows applications head over to www.vmware.com/mac, where Fusion is available for download with a 30-day evaluation license. Fusion is also well worth evaluating by developers and system administrators who run OS X but need to test applications on other operating systems.
VMware Fusion should be able to host any x86 or, with the appropriate hardware, x86-64 operating system. I tested Fusion with Microsofts Windows XP SP2, Sun Microsystems Solaris Express Developer Edition and an rPath Linux-based LAMP software appliance.
Unfortunately, due to Apples restrictions on its operating system, its not possible to run virtual OS X instances on Fusion. Id like to see Apple bend these controls at least enough to enable Apple machines to host virtual OS X instances, as this capability would be a significant boon to developers and administrators who work with Apples OS.
On the host, VMware Fusion requires OS X Version 10.4.9 or higher, and the software must be run on one of Apples Intel-based Macs. I tested Fusion on a Mac Mini with a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo processor and 2GB of RAM. VMware recommends a minimum of 512MB of RAM, but as with all virtualization applications, the more RAM you have available, the more virtual machines you can host.
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VMware Fusion, which began shipping on Aug. 6 for $79.99, isnt the first virtualization product of its type for OS X. Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Macwhich also costs $79.99offers the same basic feature set for OS X users, with small differences in detail.