VMware puts a virtual machine in your pocket


Written on Thursday, March 08, 2007 by Gemini

Today, VMware has introduced a public beta test of a program called ACE 2 Enterprise Edition. The original ACE program was a version of VMware that allowed users to construct specific virtual machines and then distribute them in a managed form to a large number of users. The new ACE version adds many features, including the ability to distribute virtual machines on any portable USB drive.

This tool, dubbed VMware Pocket ACE, allows users to store any number of virtual machine images on USB drives then run the images directly from the drive simply by plugging it into a free port on any available computer. The virtual machine images include a free version of VMware Workstation 6.0, which is automatically installed and started when the machine image (which is distributed in the form of standard Windows installer files) is run.

The Windows version comes in at a hefty 273MB download. Preconfigured VMware ACE appliances for Windows 2003, Red Hat Linux, and SUSE Linux are also available to download, the latter two in .rpm binary formats. Also available is a 39MB download for the VMware ACE Management Server application. With this package, administrators can tightly control how the ACE virtual machine images are used. Images can be managed from central server, and configured to be available only to certain users, limit the use of virtual ports and devices, encrypt the entire image for security, and even specify expiry dates for the images.

As computers become more and more powerful and the amount of RAM available in typical machines increases, the practicality of virtual machines continues to increase. Many businesses already make use of VMs to test software on multiple platforms, or to run multiple server operating systems on a single machine. However, mainstream use of virtual machines on the desktop is still a few years off. Both Intel and Microsoft have been promoting virtual machine technology—the former with processor-level support for VMs, and the latter with free versions of Virtual PC. VMware is hoping that new VM deployment options, such as Pocket ACE, will help increase the popularity of virtual machines.

VMware begins Fusion beta for Macs

Remember back when the only option for running Windows on a Mac was the tortuously slow experience of VirtualPC from Microsoft, or strapping on the propeller hat and getting all *nixie with Wine? Then came the switch to Intel and BootCamp, and Microsoft mercy-killed VirtualPC, arguing the difficulty of a Universal Binary would be the equivalent of creating a version 1.0 product. Luckily, another company was still able to create a 1.0 product. Parallels was first to market with virtualization software to let Intel Mac users run Windows without rebooting, but at WWDC VMware let it be known they too could create 1.0 products.

“We are excited to bring our desktop platform product to Apple Macs. The demand for this has been unbelievable and it is clearly front and center for Mac users,” said Diane Greene, president of VMware.

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