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VMware Launches Workstation 6

VMware announced today the release of VMware Workstation 6, the first of its virtualization products to offer support for Windows Vista.

Although just one of many new features of VMware's industry-standard virtualization software, including support for Microsoft’s newest operating system is clearly the centerpiece of the release.

Vista can work through Workstation 6 as a client or host, taking advantage of some of Vista’s features like 64-bit power and increased memory capacity.

No doubt one of the most common initial uses of Workstation 6 will be for corporations that want to evaluate Vista before deploying it in a live environment.

Other new features of note include:

  • USB 2.0 Support: That means, among other things, that iPods are now supported.
  • Multiple Monitor Display: A VM can now be spread across more than one monitor, and multiple VMs could each get their own display.
  • Integrated Virtual Debugger: This feature, which will please the security and developer communities, allows users to deploy as well as run and debug programs inside a VM from within their own integrated development environments.
  • Integrated Physical to Virtual Functionality: Workstation 6 speeds up the VM creation process by cloning an existing physical computer. VMware states in a press release that this can be done within minutes.

VMware Workstation, one of the first virtualization products on the market, was introduced more than eight years ago. VMware largely established the virtualization market, and still has few serious competitors, other than Microsoft itself.

Microsoft is jumping into the lucrative virtualization market in a big way, preparing a new server virtualization product, code-named Viridian, to replace the current Virtual Server 2005. Its desktop virtualization product, known as Virtual PC 2007, has one advantage over the $189 per copy Workstation 6 -- it's free.

Workstation 6 is likely to have another benefit besides sales: Parent company EMC Corp. announced in February that it's selling approximately 10 percent of VMware in an IPO scheduled for this summer. VMware had its best year ever in 2006, seeing revenues grow 83 percent to $709 million.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.