Good times ahead for virtualization on Intel Macs

Oh boy, this is going to be fun. The recent release of VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 2 offers a big boost to the feature set of VMware Fusion (not to be confused with that other company's "Fusion" product). The Windows/Mac integration and 3D/2D graphics improvements aren't deeply appealing to me, since I'm mostly running Linux VMs, but there are a number of new features that really jump out as a big deal to me:

  • Multiple snapshots can be a blessing and a curse. The curse mostly comes into play when cleaning up snapshots on VMs that have large disks (such as E-Business Suite servers), but there are a lot of instances where I wish I had more than one "save point."
  • Lower resource utilization probably doesn't mean the ability to create 4GB of RAM from 2GB, but anything that frees up more resources for the host has to be a good thing, and based on my experience using ESX server, VMware knows resource management pretty well.
  • Linux Unity may seem like a fluffy thing to like, but it fits a need for me: the ability to run non-Mac-native Oracle client tools, such as oidadmin, without having to deal with either setting an X display (involves typing) or using a Windows OS (involves, um, Windows).
  • Scripting with vmrun may allow me to throw out my functional-but-clunky Perl script for cloning VMs, and stop worrying if a vmx file format change in future releases will break the script.
  • Running a VM "headless" would be pretty cool. That's not in the release notes, but it is in the VMware Fusion Power User's Guide, which, by the way, is a document well worth reading.

The current version of VMware Fusion is already a pretty solid product, but the 2.0 features are really bringing Fusion up to a level that more closely matches its Windows counterpart, VMware Workstation. Virtualization on the Mac is becoming a much richer experience. Now, if VMware could just release a Mac version of the Virtual Infrastructure Client, my VMware+Mac wish-list would be all but complete.

Of course, I've yet to take the beta for a test drive, so maybe I'm falling prey to marketing ("Ooo, look, shiny things"). Regrettably, it wouldn't be the first time. :) My initial plan was to hold off rocking the boat with my VMware machines and just wait until VMware Fusion 2.0 was fully released, but some of these features are making me rethink my "betas in VMs, not VMs in betas" rule. If nothing else, I think I have to satisfy my "I wonder if that means what I think it means" curiosity. After all, it's not like I have a production environment to worry about these days...


Apologies for the two-post drift into Mac-land. It is a bit of a risk when reading here...I try not to be a drooling fanboy, but I really like my MBP. :-) I'll be getting back to Oracle stuff, Oracle Apps specifically, with my next few posts.

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