VMware Launches Workstation 6, Includes Dev Features

VMware announced today the release of VMware Workstation 6, the first of its virtualization products to offer support for Windows Vista. One of the most common initial uses of Workstation 6 will be for corporations that want to evaluate Vista before deploying it in a live environment.

The new release also includes features aimed squarely at developers, as opposed to IT workers.

VMWare added an integrated virtual debugger and automation APIs with applications developers and testers in mind, according to James Phillips, VMware's senior director of virtual software lifecycle automation.

"Say you're working on code in .NET to do automatic trading for a financial services [app]. From within your IDE, you can say, 'I want to build that.' The compile will happen. Then the compiled code is pushed over to a target virtual machine. You can interact with that virtual machine with the debugger in Visual Studio, or in Eclipse," Phillips said.

Previously, a developer had to start a VM, copy the code to it and then configure the IDE to point at the VM by hand. Now that work is automated, according to Phillips.

Other new features of note in VMware Workstation 6 include:

  • USB 2.0 support. That means, among other things, that iPods are now supported.
  • Multiple monitor display. A VM can now be spread across more than one monitor, and multiple VMs could each get their own display.
  • Integrated physical-to-virtual functionality. Workstation 6 speeds up the VM creation process by cloning an existing physical computer, which can be done within minutes, according to a VMware press release.

VMware largely established the virtualization market, and still has few serious competitors. However, Microsoft is attempting to jump into the lucrative virtualization market in a big way, preparing a new server virtualization product, code-named "Viridian," to replace the current Virtual Server 2005. Microsoft's desktop virtualization product, known as Virtual PC 2007, has one advantage over the $189 per copy Workstation 6 -- it's free.

VMware had its best year ever in 2006, seeing revenues grow 83 percent to $709 million. Parent company EMC Corp. announced in February that it's selling approximately 10 percent of VMware in an IPO scheduled for this summer.

This story includes additional reporting by Thomas Caywood, senior writer for Redmond Developer News magazine.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].