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VMware Ships Workstation 5.5

Virtualization software publisher VMware is shipping version 5.5 of its Workstation product, which adds new support for 64-bit memory addressing on AMD and Intel systems.

The new version gives VMware Workstation the ability to provide 64-bit guest operating system support for AMD Athlon 64-based systems as well as for systems running on Intel’s EM64T extended memory technologies with experimental support for Intel’s Virtualization Technology (VT).

In addition, 5.5 also adds experimental support for what VMware calls “virtual SMP” (symmetrical multi-processing), technology that makes it possible for a virtual machine to span two processors.

VMware Workstation lets a user run more than one desktop operating system and its applications concurrently on the same hardware, with each system and app appearing to have the exclusive use of the underlying hardware. The product’s aim is to streamline software testing, deployment and management for systems administrators and developers.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company released VMware Workstation version 5 last spring. (See, “VMware Ships Updated Workstation Product,” April 13, 2005.)

“With VMware Workstation, enterprises are able to create a library of virtual machines for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 operating systems, including Linux, NetWare, Solaris x86 and Windows, that replicate production environments,” the company said in a statement. Those virtual machines can then be rapidly provisioned and used, “making it possible for developers and testers to spend more time developing and testing software and less time configuring and managing their required environments.”

Version 5.5 provides support for 64-bit Linux and Windows guest operating systems and experimental support for 64-bit Solaris x86 and FreeBSD, enabling developers and testers to run 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems simultaneously on the same hardware.

In addition, 5.5 features the ability to convert Symantec Live State Recovery images into virtual machines or to open them in their native format without any modification, enabling users to reuse libraries of physical machine images when deploying or building a virtual infrastructure, according to VMware’s statement.

VMware Workstation 5.5 for Linux and Windows host operating systems is available now and costs $189 as a download or $199 for the shrink-wrapped version. Customers who purchased VMware Workstation 5 can get the download at no extra cost.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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