Workstation 7 supports virtual machines and takes advantage of enhanced 3D graphics and other features of Microsoft's latest OS.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

October 27, 2009

2 Min Read

VMware is refreshing the product that launched a billion-dollar company 10 years ago.

VMware Workstation 7, which allows an end user to run multiple operating systems on a laptop or PC now supports Microsoft Windows 7.

Workstation 7 can both run on a Windows 7 machine and support virtual machines using either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 as their operating system.

The new version can take advantage of the enhanced 3D graphics in Windows 7. It can use the Flip 3D feature, which gives Windows users a display of all the windows they have open as a 3-dimensional image. When Workstation 7 is running VMs, Flip 3D shows what the virtual machines are running, said Michael Paiko, senior product manager, in an interview.

Likewise, the new Windows support means use of Aero Peek with virtual machines as well. Aero Peek is a Windows 7 button on the right hand side of the task bar. When the mouse slides over the button, the active screen turns transparent, along with any other application screens that are open, so that the user's desktop icons are visible.

On Workstation 7, the Aero Peek button "shows what's running in the virtual machine," said Paiko. It also supports Microsoft's DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3, an API set for graphics, and the OpenGL 2.1, a 3D graphics library used in many games and applications.

Workstation 7 can launch and support larger virtual machines. Instead of a VM that can use only two virtual CPUs, Workstation 7 supports VMs using four virtual CPUs. Instead of being restricted to 8 GB of memory, each virtual machine may use up to 32 GBs, Paiko said.

Workstation started out 10 years ago as a way for skilled programmers and hobbyists to experiment with virtual machines. Today it's widely used by programming teams, software testers and quality assurance experts to create different operating system environments in which to do their work, Paiko said.

The new version includes integration of its IDE with SpringSource Tools Suite and Eclipse IDE for Java and C/C++, allowing the import of newly developed code into Workstation from those sources. Workstation 7 also includes Record Replay Debugging, which can capture a problem area of code and run it by itself to help identify the nature of the problem.

Workstation 7 is available for download and priced at $189 a copy. Upgrades from prior versions are priced at $99. It can run x86 instruction set operating systems, including earlier versions of Windows, Linux, and Solaris for x86.

InformationWeek Analytics has published a guide to the business realities of virtualization. Download the report here (registration required).

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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