VMware upgrade adds virtualisation support for Vista

VMware is set to introduce a new version of its workstation virtualisation product this week that supports Windows Vista, dual monitors and other features.

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VMware is set to introduce a new version of its workstation virtualisation product this week that supports Windows Vista, dual monitors and other features.

VMware Workstation 6 is a hypervisor, a software tool that lets a workstation run multiple operating systems and software applications on the same physical machine.

Workstation 6 supports the new Vista OS from Microsoft as a guest or host OS. It also displays an image on multiple monitors, which is important for users in financial services, computer-aided design and other environments.

Workstation 6 also features the previously announced ACE Option Pack, which allows a user to store a virtual machine setup on a portable device, such as a USB drive, to transfer to another computer.

The aim in all the upgrades is to improve usability of a virtual workstation, said James Phillips, senior director of software lifecycle solutions at VMware.

"You want to make sure the virtual desktop experience is consistent with a non-virtual desktop experience," Phillips said.

Workstation 6 also features an experimental "record and play" function, which he said records the deployment of a virtual machine and allows a user to rewind to the start of the recording and replay the deployment to see where bugs might have occurred. This would be particularly beneficial in software development because a tester could see where problems developed, Phillips said.

The Workstation 6 for use in a Linux or Windows host OS can be downloaded for US$189 (£95), and the ACE Option Pack for $69 (£35).

VMware, a subsidiary of EMC, is the top-selling software for virtualising servers, workstations and desktop computers. EMC is in the process of spinning off 10 percent of VMware in an initial public offering of stock. VMware faces competition from less expensive open-source alternatives such as XenSource and Virtual Iron. Microsoft is Also developing a new Virtual Server product for release later this year.

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