VMware is preparing to release the latest version of its Fusion virtualization software for the Mac, which now includes support for Apple’s recently released Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” and Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released Windows 7 operating system.
On Oct. 6, VMware announced it would start selling Fusion 3 on Oct. 27. The virtualization software is already available for pre-order through VMware’s own Website, the Apple Online Store and Amazon.com for $79.99. Those users looking to upgrade from previous versions of Fusion can purchase the software for $39.99.
Right now, there are a handful of companies that offer desktop virtualization software that allows Mac users to run Windows within a separate virtualized partition. In addition to VMware, Parallels sells its own Desktop 4.0 Switch to Mac software. Parallels recently updated its offering in August.
Apple also sells its own portioning software – Boot Camp – which is available from the Apple Online Store and Apple Website.
VMware is offering more than 50 new features with the release of Fusion 3. The most important is support for Apple’s Snow Leopard. Fusion 3 uses a new, 64-bit core virtualization engine and offers native support for the 64-bit kernel, which VMware claims offers better Windows performance on the Mac.
In addition, VMware Fusion 3 supports Windows 7, which is slated for release on Oct. 22, as well as the Windows Aero user interface and the Flip 3D navigation feature. For gamers and PC enthusiasts, the Fusion 3 software offers support for both OpenGL 2.1 and Microsoft’s DirectX9.0c Shader Model 3 graphics, which allows users to run Windows games and other applications on the Mac.
Finally, VMware Fusion 3 offers a new type of migration tool that can move a snapshot of their PC to a virtual machine within the Mac. The migration tool uses an installer and a four-digit code that allows the migration to happen automatically across the network. The Website Ars Technica has a comprehensive rundown on the how the PC-to-Mac migration technology works.