Release: VMware Workstation 6.5 / ACE 2.5 / Player 2.5

On September 23 VMware released the much awaited Workstation 6.5 (which includes Player 2.5 and ACE 2.5 products).

This new version (build 118166) is specially interesting because it introduce the seamless window capability (known as Unity) that Mac OS customers already enjoy with Fusion.
With Unity any program running inside a Windows or Linux guest OS can be seen as part of the underlying host OS (Windows only).
This could greatly simplify the adoption in those environments where less technical users still confuse the physical and virtual desktops.

Besides Unity, Workstation 6.5 is specially interesting because it further blends the security wrapper capabilities of ACE.
Now Workstation can create and edit secure virtual machines without any special edition of ACE but note that a separate license is still required if customers want to manage multiple secured VMs through the ACE Management Server.

With ACE 2.5 VMware introduces a couple of interesting security features:

  • Kiosk mode (disable any access to the host OS)
  • detection of (some) malicious keystroke loggers inside the guest OS

Workstation 6.5 has many more new features than just Unity and ACE authoring. For example:

  • Virtual hardware hot-plug (virtual memory and virtual CPUs can be added while a VM is running if the guest OS supports this feature)
  • Virtual machine streaming (a VM can be downloaded from a Web Server and run immediately)
  • Integration with VMware Converter 3.0.3
  • Support for accelerated 3D graphics on Windows XP guest OS (only when DirectX 9 physical GPUs are available)
  • Experimental support for smart cards readers on guest OS

Workstation 6.5 also includes a bunch of features specifically for software developers:

  • Integrated Virtual Debugger for Microsoft Visual Studio (an application running inside the guest OS can be recorded through the Record/Replay feature and the replay can be debugged at a later time)
  • Availability of VProbe scripting language for debugging
  • Experimental support for VAssert APIs (allowing to write debug code that runs only during VMs replay)

Download a trial here.

The Virtualization Industry Roadmap has been updated accordingly.