VMware spruces up workstation software

VMware last week updated its desktop virtualization product to assist developers in coding and testing new applications.

While VMware Workstation is less well known to IT administrators than some of the company's other products, organizations can benefit from its use for in-house development and application testing. With VMware Workstation, developers can divvy up a workstation to create a variety of virtual machines, each running a different operating system. To this they can add code and tweak it for running on Windows, Linux, NetWare and Solaris x86.

VMware complements the company's server virtualization technologies, GSX Server and ESX Server.

VMware has taken technology called memory sharing from its ESX Server and incorporated it into VMware Workstation. Memory sharing makes it possible to provision multi-tier applications and simulate real-world conditions.

Because VMware workstation allows the partitioning of desktops, developers can spend much less time rebuilding, configuring and re-provisioning test environments.

Other new capabilities of VMware Workstation 5 include the concept of teaming, which lets users connect multiple virtual machines together to simulate deployment of multi-tier network applications. Developers can configure conditions such as network bandwidth and packet loss rate to show how the application would work in a real-world environment.

With VMware Workstation, developers can also take multiple point-in-time snapshots of virtual machines and then revert back to any snapshot. Users can mark virtual machines as templates so clones of the virtual machine can be made for other users. Plus, users can record all screen, keyboard and mouse activity so actions can be replayed for debugging code.

VMware Workstation also has 64-bit operating system support for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 SP1, Red Hat, SuSE Linux, Mandrake and Sun's Java Desktop, as well as Novell Linux Desktop 9.

Virtual machines created with VMware Workstation can be migrated to VMware ESX and GSX Server if necessary.

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