VMware Workstation 10 is feature rich, but you might be fine with the free VMware Player 6 Plus
Today marks the release of a new revision of VMware Workstation. This family of products is now in its 13th year, and I have quite the library of VMs built up over that period of time. Most of my VMs have been moved to my dedicated-for-virtualization vZilla Core i7 that's running ESXi 5.5 24x7, but there are still occasions where having VMware Workstation and/or the Player can be very handy. And migration between these virtualization platforms has become pretty seamless. Here's the detailed VMware blog post/announcement of this new Workstation release, with all the technical goodies explained:
New Release of VMware Workstation 10 – Now Available! by Nicolas Rochard Sep 04 2013.
Workstation use case?
Software development and testing with multiple monitor support, where winding back the clock of a running VM is quite handy, as are multiple displays, like on my desk.
Player use case?
Testing local boot devices, using USB 3.0 devices in a VM, faster than ESXi's limited USB 3.0 support, that I demonstrated here.
For far more detail and explanation of why the free VMware Player may be adequate for many users needs, see also VMware Player is a free way to play with VMs by Paul Braren Jan 02 2012.
If you're not a developer and don't need snapshots, you'll probably be just fine with the free for non-commercial use VMware Player version, which still gives you the ability to both create and run VMs.
VMware Player Plus Product FAQs
Can I still use VMware Player for free?
VMware Player is free for personal non-commercial use. If you would like to learn about Virtual Machines or use them at home you are welcome to use VMware Player for Free. Students and Faculty of accredited educational institutions can use VMware Player for free if they are members of the VMware Academic Program.
All about VMware Player 6:
Available with a license key to allow corporate use, it's then called VMware Player 6 Plus, "can run restricted virtual machines", and includes support, for $99 here:
But the software installer is available free, with no license key required (for non-corporate use), and doesn't time out or anything:
If you need a commercial license of VMware Player 6 Plus and you have a Mac, consider VMware Fusion 6 Professional, the $129 virtualization software for OS X. Why? Two birds, with one stone. It comes bundled with commercial-use license for VMware Player 6 Plus for PC:
It costs more, but if you really need all the power and features of the premium workstation virtualization product, give VMware Workstation 10 a 30 day trial, with buy and upgrade buttons also available here:
with Player bundled for free.
Key new features in VMware Workstation 10 include:
The Latest Operating Systems – Easy Install now recognizes Windows 8.1 and new Linux distributions to make it easier than ever to create current virtual machines. Computers running Windows 8.1 can be converted into virtual machines via an easy-to-use wizard.
State of the Art Performance – Workstation 10 enables you to create faster, more powerful virtual machines with up to 16 vCPUs, 64GB of memory, 8 TB disks and faster USB connections, a new vSATA controller and twice as many virtual networks.
*Expiring Virtual Machines** – Restricted virtual machines can be set to expire at a specified date and time. An expired virtual machine automatically suspends and will not restart without administrator intervention.
Tablet Sensors – VMware Workstation 10 includes the first-ever virtual accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and ambient light sensor to enable applications running in a virtual machine to respond when a user juggles their tablet.
- Run a Cloud on Your PC – Workstation 10 lets you build a cloud on your PC running popular applications from Pivotal, Puppet Labs and Vagrant.
VMware's official YouTube video:
not available yet, check back soon, here's a Workstation 10 15 minute demonstration video I created.
I noticed that no reboot was required to install the upgrade (from Workstation 9/VMware Player 5), but the Add/Remove Programs version number didn't show the update until after a reboot
VMware Workstation 10 is still a 32 bit program, but it certainly runs 64 bit VMs like Windows 8.1
If you use Windows Server 2012 Essentials and find that your VMs lost internet access, you'll need to stop a service, and edit the 2 VMware virtual NICs to get DNS from DHCP. Read this article for more about this issue:
If you find you cannot get in to the NICs to reconfigure DHCP, you'll need to remove them to recover, explained here.
Sep 10 2013 Update:
The free version of VMware Fusion 6 now touts full readiness for OS X Mavericks and Windows 8.1 VMs.
Good to see VMware get out there with this statement for developers so quickly, who got access to the RTM Windows 8.1 code just yesterday! Could come in handy for my family's Mac mini system, affectionally dubbed "macZilla". Wonder when Apple's bootcamp will get updated, to help ease dual-booting. Yes, this means you can boot a Windows 8.1 VM on your Mac running Mavericks. And if you install that 8.1 VM on a separate drive (done internally with a little iFixit Surgery, which I explained here), you can dual-boot over to that same copy of Windows 8.1 as well. Nice! Not something I'll be able to test soon, but run a VM or dual boot to that same VM all worked out quite well, on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion / VMware Fusion 5 / Windows 8.0.
Experience Windows on OS X Mavericks today:
- Extend Mavericks' unique capabilities to your Windows environment and get a more Mac-like experience when running Windows applications on your Mac.
- Take full advantage of every display connected to your Mac with Mavericks’ multiple display support.
- Use AirPlay to view your Windows environment on your HDTV.
- Use OS X Mavericks enhanced dictation feature throughout Windows applications on your Mac
- Easily install OS X Mavericks from the recovery partition and run it as a virtual machine with VMware Fusion 6 or Fusion 6 Professional.
Sep 19 2013 Update:**
Another way to get up to 50% discounted Fusion or Workstation license is to sign up for VMUG Advantage, with has numerous other benefits.
Oct 21 2013 Update:
VMware Workstation 10 supports virtual drive sizes up to 8TB, see Using VMware Workstation (page 16)
although manual EFI BIOS tweaks are a bit harder than on ESXi 5.5 vSphere Web Client (manual vmx edit). See also a "universal" build of Windows 8.1 here (8TB C: drive, EFI BIOS in VM):
Using ESXi 5.5 to create “Golden Master” Windows 8.1 template VM with ease-of-use tweaks for your lab
Dec 02 2013 Update:
35% off Cyber Week sale underway now through Dec 04 2013, click here for VMware Workstation, and here for VMware Fusion.
May 08 2014 Update:
VMware changed some links, above article spruced up accordingly. See also this my new post on my Google+:
If you're not yet ready to build a VMware ESXi server, consider the (free for personal use, or $99 for corporate use) VMware Player. That way, you build up a library of VMs that can easily be moved into (or back out of) that "home cloud" server you might build some day.
Another possible use case, if your employer allows it, is to automagically morph that-work related Windows 7 system into a VMware Player VM. Yes, even work's whole-drive encryption and VPN will work fine. How? Using the also free:
which saves on the cost (and heat) of running 2 separate systems in your home's office.
Another benefit? You can then be using your own, personal, latest-and greatest (Windows 8.1 system, Linux, Mac) with multiple monitors, for highly productive use of that isolated, secure, and encrypted Windows 7 Pro work VM. By the way, Windows 7 Pro doesn't support multiple monitors over Remote Desktop (darn!), using VMware Player locally gets around that limitation.
This all makes sense, no? It's what I do. Questions? Drop a comment!