VMware Assured Computing Environment (ACE) 1.0 has been launched in December 2004. Since that time the company never provided major updates to the product, which surely is almost unknown among users.
Now VMware comes back and, as expected since VMworld 2006, opens ACE 2.0 public beta.
In this second release ACE is not a stand-alone product but a superset of VMware Workstation 6.0 features, which customers can unlock with a special license.
Another new and very welcomed feature is introduction of a stand-alone Management Server, available as binary application for Windows and Linux (both Red Hat and SUSE) or as virtual appliance (with administration through web interface), which allows centralized control of distributed ACE players:
But ACE 2.0 has other notable features including capability to execute a secured virtual machine from a USB device (like a flash drive or a portable media player), which is a good opportunity to drastically reduce success of newest virtualization companies offering a security/portability wrapper for VMware Player or Parallels Workstation, like Sentillion or moka5.
This first beta is based on Workstation 6.0 beta 3 (build 39849), made available in early February, but ACE beta testers have to download bits and reissue an installation to see new ACE license form appearing.
Enroll the beta here.
VMware is also expected to release more than one version of ACE, since current beta is exposing the Enterprise Edition label.