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VMWare Rolls Out Vista Virtualization 152

MsManhattan writes "VMWare Inc. today is slated to introduce a new version of its workstation virtualization software that supports Windows Vista. The upgrade, VMWare Workstation 6, enables users to run Vista as a host or a guest operating system. Additionally, it allows users to store a virtual machine setup on a portable device — like as a USB drive — and transfer the set-up to another computer. Virtualization, an old concept that has gained new momentum, can help organizations optimize their infrastructures but it can also create expensive management headaches. Just the same, the analyst group Gartner predicts that three million virtual machines will be in use by 2009, up from today's 500,000."
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VMWare Rolls Out Vista Virtualization

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:14AM (#19052031)
    I hope VMWare's fixed its Vista performance problems in this new version: running Vista as a virtual OS even under the commercial versions of VMWare was slower than dirt in the last cut.
    • I'm fairly sure it's not entirely VMWare's fault ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Two points about your post:

      1) this is the commercial version of VMware.

      2) the beta versions of VMware WS 6 had debug code active that slowed down the guest VM. try the final release of VMware WS 6, and you'll find there are no longer any performance issues that are VMware's fault.
    • by Iriel ( 810009 )
      I'm just hoping that I can run XP on a Vista computer. Maybe there's still hope for Vista...
      </bitterresentmentfromgamingonVista>
  • Just three million? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Werrismys ( 764601 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:17AM (#19052073)
    I bet that figure is far too low.
    Everyone uses virtualization now.
    Half the servers are virtualized.

    Where I work some laptops are fitted with virtualized DOS/Win98 environments for very old software (to control old EPROM burners etc). Much easier to roll out a working VM environment and just copy it around than fiddling with constantly changing hardware.

    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:23AM (#19052137) Journal
      What I like about virtualization is that you can add a layer of security with it. Virus? Trojan? Spyware? No problem. Just don't save settings or blow away the infected virtual image. More people should surf the web from a virtual machine.....it isn't like you need the full blown performance of the host O/S to surf the web.

      You can mount directories from the host O/S to save certain pieces of information (bookmarks for example) so that they persist across VMs. Everything else, you aren't really worried about.

      Layne
      • The workstation version of vmware is great for all kinds of things. I use it when setting up my portable apps on my USB drive (I don't use windows, regularly, but want to have some tools with me when on somebody else's computer, so I set up VMWare with winxp).

        Take a snapshot, do an install. Tweak to make portable. Revert the snapshot to pre-install. See if the app works from the USB drive (which is actually mounted under linux, and shared to the vmware session).

        Good stuff.

        Each different VMWare product i
        • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @12:28PM (#19053125)
          The workstation version of vmware is great for all kinds of things. I use it when setting up my portable apps on my USB drive (I don't use windows, regularly, but want to have some tools with me when on somebody else's computer, so I set up VMWare with winxp).

          Take a snapshot, do an install. Tweak to make portable. Revert the snapshot to pre-install. See if the app works from the USB drive (which is actually mounted under linux, and shared to the vmware session).


          Thing is, it doesn't prevent phishing, stealing sensitive info or any of this. Even if you try and keep everything important out of the virtual machine, you still have to type out your e-banking login in there, to login to your e-banking.

          Bottom line, it makes reverting after a disaster easier. Which is easy enough on the real machine if you are doing full & regular incremental backups with a program like Acronis True Image.

          Virtual machine has its uses, but it's not a layer of security, just the good old "divide and conquer" principle, as if you had a dedicated web browsing machine.
      • by Val314 ( 219766 )
        > What I like about virtualization is that you can add a layer of security with it. Virus? Trojan? Spyware? No problem

        Dont be so sure about this!

        I've read an article (cant remember where) that said that some VM apps have security issues to, allowing malware in the client to infect the host.
        • by Bishop ( 4500 )
          The is a vulnerability in the shared folders [securiteam.com] feature. This is a feature of the VMware Tools which are installed on the guest. It is possible (probable) that there are other vulnerabilities with the VMware tools.
          • And even if not installed, some malware could just install it, no?
            • by Bishop ( 4500 )
              Yes, malware could install the tools. It would need system/administrator/root level privileges. The shared folders features would also need to be enabled in the host.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by charlesnw ( 843045 )
      I agree. Virtulization is penetrating every aspect of computing from servers to desktops. I wouldn't be surprised to see it in limited form on mobile devices. I would say 90% of companies are using virtulization (in production/dev/qa) and the remaining 10% are using it in dev/qa, or at the very least have a plan to implement it. The hardware/power/cooling cost savings and reduction in management overhead are to great to ignore by even the smallest shops.
      • Please. If it's so great why does vmware need a new update every few months. Everytime any given vendor updates something, vmware needs to update something. Pple who praise it so high have not actually studied all the flaws. It can't be healthy to be switching the base vm all the time.
  • by Mikachu ( 972457 ) <burke.jeremiahj@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:22AM (#19052123) Homepage
    ...but didn't Vista's TOS specifically ban using Vista under a virtual machine?
    • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:26AM (#19052185)
      Depends on the version - you need to buy the most expensive one in order to be allowed to virtualise. Big surprise, huh?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 )

        Depends on the version - you need to buy the most expensive one in order to be allowed to virtualise. Big surprise, huh?

        Can the OS even tell it's being virtualized?

        This seems about as enforceable as saying "you're not allowed to have a screen background with boobies in it".

        I can envision a lot of people saying fsck them and doing it anyway.

        Cheers
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Bearhouse ( 1034238 )
          There's nothing in the software that stops you virtualising, (see http://tinyurl.com/2g2zh5 [tinyurl.com]), and if you get Vista 'Home' via MSDN you are even legally allowed to do it, but only for 'testing' purposes.

          The main point is to stop big organisations from using cheap versions of Vista instead of expensive ones. They are (a) the people most likely to be using virtualisation and (b) the least likely to use sw outside of the EULA.
      • you need to buy the most expensive one in order to be allowed to virtualise.
        Incorrect. You just can't virtualize with either Home flavor. Business and Enterprise allow you to do it as well as Ultimate.
        • Thanks - I was in a hurry with earlier post, just did some research then fixed in my reply above. Confusing anyhows - for ex. you can even virtualise 'home' if you get via MSDN...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
        Depends on the version - you need to buy the most expensive one in order to be allowed to virtualise. Big surprise, huh?

        Right, windows sucks, and so on! What about OSX, which version do I buy to virtualize that?
      • Big surprise, huh?

        Yes, considering that's not true.

        The truth is that you can't use the two LEAST expensive versions for virtualization (not counting the stupid N versions). Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate all have virtualization clauses in their EULA.
    • First, I think it's only specific versions of vista. Seconds, I think that it is only a restriction from installing the same license as both the host and virtualized OS. If you use Linux as the host OS, you should be able to use any version of Vista as the virtualized OS. The more expensive versions of vista allow you to run the same license for both the host and some number (4) of virtual computers. At least that's my understanding.
    • I'd like to see the first case of trying to enforce this. If you buy the product, you should be able to use it on any type of 'computer' it will run on, including a virtual one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by julesh ( 229690 )
      No. In fact, some versions of Vista explicitly allow you to run them under both a virtual and non-virtual machine at the same time (i.e., they're not restricted to only one copy in memory at once). This unrestriction wasn't applied to all versions, which led some people reading the EULA to believe that MS were preventing you running those versions of vista under a virtual machine, but if you read the T&C the right way (which is how a court would read it -- standard terms like this are supposed to be re
  • Looks like 64 bit support is getting better, although Feisty Fawn isn't supported as a host OS yet. From the release notes:

    New Support for 32-Bit and 64-Bit Operating Systems
    This release provides experimental support for the following operating systems:
    * 32-bit and 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.5 (Beta, formerly called 4.0 Update 5) as host and guest operating systems
    * 32-bit and 64-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 SP4 (Beta) as host and guest operating systems
    * 32-bit and 64-bit
  • by anoopjohn ( 992771 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:24AM (#19052147) Homepage
    First it was dumb terminals and super-duper-server and then it was good pcs and now we are going back to super duper virtual machines and just dumb terminals

    Multiple monitor display: Users can configure one virtual machine to span multiple monitors or multiple virtual machines to each display on separate monitors with this industry-first capability, enhancing desktop productivity.
    Only thing left is for it to support multiple keyboards and mice to take us back to that.
    • Only thing left is for it to support multiple keyboards and mice to take us back to that.

      Citrix [citrix.com] or vanilla Terminal Server [microsoft.com] springs to mind if you want to do this sort of thing. Granted it's not sharing a machine locally, but that isn't as useful as sharing across a network using cheap end client systems.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I don't think many people are seriously considering VMWare as a replacement for the traditional desktop. Virtualization is typically used to replace multiple physical servers with one larger server.

      This is very useful for organizations with hundreds of servers, many of which may be only running a single resource-friendly application. The department that I work in, for example, is moving the contents of several web application servers onto one new, larger server running VMWare.
    • Multiple monitor display: Users can configure one virtual machine to span multiple monitors or multiple virtual machines to each display on separate monitors with this industry-first capability, enhancing desktop productivity.
      Having guests that can use all your monitors is a huge improvement for VMware. This is something that has been missing for years.
  • Pfft. Easy. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <shadow.wroughtNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:24AM (#19052157) Homepage Journal
    All you need to do to emulate the Vista experience is a sharp stick and your own eye.
  • I *heart* VMware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheLazySci-FiAuthor ( 1089561 ) <thelazyscifiauthor@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:24AM (#19052159) Homepage Journal
    This is welcome news. Let me tell you, virtualization has saved my ass many times, and growing (especially when it's windows).

    Example: A system fails to come back up after update and gives me my favorite hal.dll error. Since the hardware abstraction layer is different for nearly every machine, simply grabbing the hal.dll from another machine is not possible.

    Now there are several strategies to tackle this problem, for this instance however, because this was a virtual machine living with several other guest OSes which are all running on identical virtual hardware I simply ran a compare between the system32 drives of the borked windows and a working one - found several HUNDRED missing files (how did that happen, who knows), mounted the borked vmdk as the g: drive and copied the good files over to it.

    unmounted and rebooted to fully operational status.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mistah Blue ( 519779 )
      You could have also done a snapshot prior to the update. Then it barfs. No problem, revert the snapshot.
    • Example: A system fails to come back up after update and gives me my favorite hal.dll error. Since the hardware abstraction layer is different for nearly every machine, simply grabbing the hal.dll from another machine is not possible.

      That's odd, because I have been able to simply expand the appropriate hal.dll from only about seven choices on the Windows CD-ROM. I wouldn't try pulling one from another machine; regardless, most of them use ACPI Multiprocessor. Unless you are running Datacenter with some

  • by giafly ( 926567 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:25AM (#19052171)

    With the release of Vista, Microsoft has reworded its End User Licence Agreement (EULA) to forbid the use of Vista Home Basic and Home Premium Editions with virtualisation products like Parallels and VMware. Macworld has confirmed the information with a Microsoft spokesperson. - Reseller News [reseller.co.nz]

    the EULA restricts virtualisation deployments to the Business and Ultimate edition of Vista - PC Pro [pcpro.co.uk]
    • The EULA, is that that long document that I see that if I select "I don't accept" I can't install the program that I just bought, so I'm conditioned to basically accept any EULA that is presented to me? Wow, I wonder if anyone ever reads any of those EULA's (except Reseller News and PC Pro, and, perhaps, Eric Raymond... :)
  • I thought all that was preventing you from running Vista under VMWare was Microsoft's licensing, i.e. you had to buy the uber-expensive ultra-mega-pro-corp-enterprise-unlimited version, and not the crappy home version dell gives you.

    I know Vista Home can run VMWare Server as a host (tried it) and Parallels on the Mac can run the MSDN version as a guest (seen it).

    So what's the news? Is it really just that Workstation 6 has come out of beta?
  • Yeah, I'm working on a network in a box at the moment, Xen based though. Should be able to scale it from a single user on a single physical machine to thousands of users on tens of machines with almost zero downtime. Very nifty technology.

     
    • Re:Network in a box (Score:5, Interesting)

      by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:56AM (#19052673) Homepage Journal
      I am just posting to try and get the general /. attitude towards Xen... Xen seems to be the fastest virtualisation option by quite a margin, and has excellent features (pci device forwarding anyone?), but will never be in the official linux kernel by the developer's own admission.

      Xen has a number of unfriendly (minor) glitches. It is locked in to specific kernel versions unless you really want to have a lack of stability. On the Xen mailing list developers have stated it is not suitable for enterprise use yet.

      I was wondering if people are feeling positive about the future of Xen in general? There is still an active developer community (perhaps equivalent in size to mythtv a year or two ago), but will Xen be beaten back by the rapid advance of other technologies, or are the benefits from Xen enough to keep it rolling forwards regardless of alternative virtualisation products?

      FWIW, I have 9 Xen virtual systems running on one core 2 duo server (3GB ram) now, and will be pushing that up to about 12 systems as a 'network-in-a-box' solution to a lot of my coding and home network requirements too and I am generally a big fan. I prefer vmware by a long margin for ease of use, but in terms of raw power Xen seems to have vmware beaten by quite a margin (and the PCI passthrough is very very useful for a print server and for playing with network cards). I think Xen will obviously continue to grow but I cant help but wonder if it will fall too far behind a few years from now.
      • by Bishop ( 4500 )
        I would not worry about the future of XEN. It has some decent commercial backing from Xensource, Red Hat, and Novell. Performance wise Xen's paravirtualization is faster then full virtualization.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm my opinion KVM will flush Xen away... But it will take some time.

        The free and open Xen is super-slow for anything I/O related when running hardware-virtualized systems (eg Windows or unmodified Linux). Super-slow as in network and disk I/O is basically unusable for anything but single-user desktop use. It's actually so slow that VMWare's VMplayer under Linux that is *not* using hardware-virt is faster than Xen's hardware-virtualization, on the same hardware (pathetic, but true... I've tested it with
    • But if the machine hosting the VM fails, how do you fail over all the virtual machines? Assuming you're working with some kind of distributed app, anyway. Kind of hard to send a "retry" message to a machine that just evaporated. Hmmm, makes me wonder if we'll see some kind of duplex hardware designed just for this kind of environment (Tandem used to make that sort of stuff, I wonder if HP will roll some out).

      Interesting idea, though. Your intra-machine bandwidth would be (theoretically) limited only by
      • by Dan Ost ( 415913 )
        If you have warning that the box is failing, you can simply migrate the virtual machines to another box. The virtual machines won't even notice. Xen can do this. Presumably other virtualization technologies can do this to.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bishop ( 4500 )
        You don't fail over the virtual machines. You fail over the hardware and migrate the virtual machines. Of course it is not "that easy" and there are lots of things that need to be in place for it to work. Any level of service guarantee that you are able to achieve with services on physical machines you can achieve with virtual machines. Virtualization does have the advantage that you can use your hot spare for other things.

        Consider the simple case of a webserver with a database backend. For various reasons
  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:41AM (#19052401)
    Certainly looks like it. And as for the managerial problems - well, I RTFA, and I couldn't make out any specific problems (apart from possible licensing issues, which is always a good one because you can say that about almost any technology you like). Read like a typical Gartner puff piece designed to spend a couple of hundred words not saying anything in particular, but generate a few soundbites for a mindless PHB.
  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by HeavensBlade23 ( 946140 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:41AM (#19052407)
    ...now Vista can virtually suck, too.
  • I am one of the unintelligent few who installed a copy of vista business on my laptop at the beginning of the year. I have been using vmware workstation to run linux under windows for about a year now and as such was very interested in VmWare's progress on supporting vista as a host operating system. VmWare 5.5 would run under vista, but only after a lot of tweaking and even then the performance was less than stellar. I enrolled in the 6.0 beta testing program as soon as it was available and I have not b
  • Have they implemented 3D harware acceleration virtualization? I don't see a lot of point in virtualizing Vista if you can't have the 3D desktop stuff.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jellybob ( 597204 )
      Yes... up to DirectX 8 at least, apparently they'll be working on newer versions of DirectX later.
      • Re:3D Desktop? (Score:4, Informative)

        by SEMW ( 967629 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:25PM (#19054121)

        Have they implemented 3D harware acceleration virtualization? I don't see a lot of point in virtualizing Vista if you can't have the 3D desktop stuff.
        Yes... up to DirectX 8 at least, apparently they'll be working on newer versions of DirectX later.
        ..So that would be a no, then. Vista's eye-candy requires DirectX 9 -- specifically, I believe it uses Shader Model 2.0 to do all the fancy blurry frosted glass effects, which was bought in with DX9.
  • 3d acceleration (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ender77 ( 551980 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @12:04PM (#19052793)
    I Like virtual machines but I wish they would allow true 3d acceleration. I have an xp machine(for gaming) with a virtual ubuntu installed. However I cannot install beryl because of the limitations of the system. If there is a way and I missed it, let me know.
  • Parallels (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Necrotica ( 241109 ) <cspencer@lanlor d . ca> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @12:14PM (#19052927)
    After using Parallels for Mac, VMware has a lot of catching up to do. Coherence mode, the ability to run virtualized applications seamlessly on the Mac desktop, is a beautiful feature.

    If the Linux version of VMware offers something similar, I'd be very interested.
    • And yet VMWare Fusion has DX8.1 support, which is a huge step in the right direction. Also, beta 3 is WAY faster than older versions.

      I have both Fusion and Parallels installed on my MBP. Both are nice in different ways. I'm looking forward to them both evolving and growning in the near future.
    • Ack, that feature sounds as stupid as Microsoft's new Seamless Terminal Services feature that does something similar with apps run across terminal services. It's just plain stupid, violates all kinds of good UI design rules, etc.. You don't know what machine an app might be changing files on, for instance.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by shadester ( 196414 )
        If you can't see the difference between OSX UI and a windows UI, then it might be a problem. Myself, I like the feature. For example to use Outlook Web Access on IE instead of safari or camino makes a big difference. Then I can have a windows IE among the other regular windows I usually have open. Really sweet.
  • by yamla ( 136560 ) <chris@@@hypocrite...org> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @12:18PM (#19052971)
    VMWare Workstation 5 had a problem when the host operating system changed the CPU frequency. This made the guest operating system clock go wacky and the guest itself almost unusable because letters I'd type would be repeated when the operating system thought I had held down a key for a second or two. The official workaround was to disable frequency scaling on the host operating system which is really not acceptable.

    Can anyone tell me if they fixed this issue in 6?
    • by antdude ( 79039 )
      I didn't have this problem in VMware v5.5.x on my old Athlon 64 3200+ 754 CPU with its Cool'n'Quiet feature and Kernel v2.6.18-4-K7 in Debian. I only used Windows 2000 SP4 (all updates) as a guest though. What's your hardware and configurations like?
      • by yamla ( 136560 )
        Ubuntu 6.06, VMWare v5.5.x, Athlon 64-3500 and Athlon X2-4800 (at different times). I've used a wide variety of guest operating systems. Are you sure your CPU scales back when idle? You can find out for sure by doing cat /proc/cpuinfo while idle and looking at the cpu Mhz.

        Note that this is a known bug in 5.5.x.
        • by antdude ( 79039 )
          Yes, my system does slow down when not heavily used. You can view my results [pastebin.ca].

          What's yours like? ALso, do you have the URL(s) of this known issue? I'd like to read about it.
          • Yours is a single core CPU. I'm surprised you haven't seen the guest clock rate go very fast/slow, but you only get the really wacky behaviour with dual-core. :-)

            Anyway, KVM/QEMU handles host clock changes fine and I'm already finding it a good replacement for VMware Workstation. In some ways it's even better (much easier to install, ALSA sound output). Just need a current CPU for it.
            • by antdude ( 79039 )
              Ahh, I did have problems with Cool'n'Quiet on my Athlon 64 4600+ [939] in Windows XP Pro. SP2 (host). I get blue screens randomly and once in a while. Once, my audio driver got corrupted and needed a reinstall. :(
  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @12:35PM (#19053247) Homepage Journal
    Oops - I didn't realize Vista wasn't supported yet and I've been running it for a few weeks in VMWare Fusion for OSX. It runs great (MBP C2D) and is much faster than the -XP line. I've only got 512MB allocated to it too.

    VMWare Fusion would be just about perfect if they added support for adding block devices from files like on linux. Hopefully in the next beta.

  •   For a low low price of $420, a Linux user can run Windows Vista on their Linux distribution.

    If I could an OS, I would build custom Linux OS that exclusively runs VMware. Kinda like Windows 98 and Dos. The computer would boot with Linux OS like older pcs booted DOS first, then go straight to Vmware so the entire computer is virtualized. And the Linux OS is designed to only allow vmware to access the internet.
  • by janap ( 451953 )
    "the analyst group Gartner predicts that three million virtual machines will be in use by 2009, up from today's 500,000"

    Our small company alone will have rolled out more than 5000 virtual machines by that time, which would account for 1/500 of the volume increase. Not very likely. We replace the hardware of old legacy client systems running OS/2, put the OS/2 system inside a Xen VM, and add another VM running Linux which is our migration target. Very sweet.

    There will be a lot more virtual machines by that t
  • Wouldn't it be broken easily if Vista is virtualized? Or are virtualized hardware untrusted, thus not able to play anything that requires PMP?

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!

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