VMware Workstation 8 makes the home lab better.

VMware Workstation 8 was recently released and I have finally updated my home lab that previously ran Workstation 7.x on Windows and Fedora. If your like me you have a few workstations setup at home for testing different “Stuff”. No, that’s not a technical term but I wanted to keep it general. To keep from having to reinstall physical hardware when I need a particular operating system I use VMware Workstation. This of course also cuts down of the number of physical workstation heating up my home lab. It installs on Windows and Linux and I use on both, mainly Linux. VMware Workstation 8 adds some really nice features for that geek who may not have the money to spend on physical hardware that’s compatible with vSphere4 or 5.

Main reasons to upgrade to VMware Workstation 8 in my opinion.

  • You can now enable Virtual VT-X/EPT or AMD-V/RVI in the processor settings interface. This means that VM guests can take advantage of these and you can run 64 bit VM guests in a virtual machine running vSphere 4 or 5.
  • You can now connect directly to a vCenter Server from VMware Workstation. You don’t get the full range of functionality found in vCenter when using the vSphere client but it’s good enough for the purposes it’s intended for.

There are other enhancements and new features but for me these two stand out more. You can check out whats new in Workstation 8 here. The first bullet point allows me to virtualize ESX, KVM, Xen, and probably HyperV though I haven’t tried it yet. I love VMware but it’s not the only thing out there used to virtualize server, desktops, or the cloud. And I understand I’m not going to run production loads here but that’s why it’s called a lab. The second point allows me to see, manage and move things to a vSphere environment more easily.

The new user interface is nice too and is consistent on Windows and Linux. There is a new virtual hardware version (version 8) as well. I was pretty happy with Workstation 7 but VMware just loves to take it to another level with each upgrade. I guess you have to when your charging your customers for something they can get for the most part free elsewhere.

Check out the short video overview as well.

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