VMware Slices Up Mac OS X

Review: VMware "Fusion" offers OS X users easy access to Linux, Windows and Solaris apps, but don't expect to be able to run OS X in virtual machines.

eWEEK Labs recently tested a beta release of VMwares "Fusion," a desktop virtualization product for Mac OS X thats comparable in function to VMware Workstation but with a distinctively Apple-flavored appearance.

When Fusion comes out of beta, it will compete with Parallels Parallels Workstation for the job of offering OS X users easy access to Windows, Linux and Solaris applications. VMware has not announced a release date or pricing for Fusion.

/zimages/5/28571.gifFor eWEEK Labs review of Parallels Workstation 2.1, click here.

VMware has come up with a Cocoa-based interface for Fusion, which fits in better with the look of OS X than the VMware Workstation interface would.

Still, we found that using Fusion was basically the same as using VMware Workstation on Linux or Windows: Fusion offered up the same configuration and control options that VMware Workstation does, and we found Fusions performance comparable to what wed expect on similar hardware.


During our tests of Fusion, we noted that OS X is not one of the operating systems onto which we could install a virtual machine. Virtualized OS X is a sticky subject because Apple will not allow its operating system to run on non-Apple hardware.

At the demo of an as-yet-unnamed VMware virtualization product at last falls Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, a VMware official told eWEEK Labs that VMware might enable virtualized instances of OS X by implementing some sort of check to make sure that an OS X virtual machine was running on Apple hardware, but so far it seems that OS X will remain walled off from the world of virtualized deployment.

We were interested to find a capability within the Fusion dialog for opening or creating a pointer to VMwares Virtual Appliance Marketplace. From there, we could download virtual appliances to run with Fusion.

VMware Fusion includes support for USB 2.0 devices, as does the beta of VMware Workstation 6, which weve also been putting through its paces. VMware Fusion enabled us to assign multiple processors or, in the case of the Mac Mini on which we tested, multiple cores to our virtual machines.

To try out the VMware Fusion public beta on your own Intel-based Mac hardware, cruise over to www.vmware.com/fusionbeta to register, get a serial number and download the release. Also, check out the release notes for Fusion at www.vmware.com/products/beta/fusion/releasenotes_fusion.html.

Advanced Technologies Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at jason_brooks@ziffdavis.com.

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