It’s Thursday, that means it’s time to listen to my Tech Ramblings.  This week I focus on the hosted hypervisor (Type 2) offerings from VMware, Fusion (for Mac) and Workstation (for Windows).  Most of you have already heard of these products from VMware and some of you are new to them.  Good news, if you want to build VMs on your laptop or desktop then you are in luck as these options are the best in the industry for hosted hypervisors.  Better yet, VMware just released the newest version of each, even complete with a Pro version which I’ll cover the details of here.

Fusion 8 Pro

Mac users of the world rejoice!!  This is the latest update of the Fusion software from VMware that allows you to create VMs on your laptop.  You can create Linux and Windows VMs easily on your laptop or iMac and have your own home lab up and running in a matter of minutes.  Most virtualization aficionados that have Macs already have Fusion installed on their machines and have been using the software for a couple of years now, this is by far the best update to the Fusion software that I’ve seen yet.  Included with Fusion 8 Pro are the many features you come to expect and along with some features that are new to Fusion 8 Pro:

  • El Capitan ready – You can even create a VM and install El Capitan in it and test the newest features before upgrading your Mac OS.
  • Connect to VMware vCloud Air – Fusion 8 Pro comes with improved integration with ESXi, vSphere and Workstation servers.  This gives you the option to extend your VMs to the cloud.
  • Build complex virtual networks – Improved IPv6 support and built with native support for IPv6-IPv4 Network Address Translation, and the addition of the virtual network editor which allows you to create and test virtual network configurations without interrupting your Mac’s network configuration.
  • Amazing graphics – Fusion 8 Pro is optimized for 4k, 5k and Retina displays to give you the best display experience when using your VM.

I love Fusion and have used it alot, there are so many great features and it’s very easy to use.  If you are a Mac lover and a virtualization lover, this is a match made in Heaven, see the video below for a quick overview of Fusion 8 Pro:


Workstation 12 Pro

Ok, so right off the bat there is a big disparity in version numbers, yes, Workstation has been around longer that Fusion.  Now that that’s out of the way, lets discuss the specifics of Workstation.  VMware Workstation was first introduced to the world in 1999 and it was choppy at best, but gave virtualization lovers the opportunity to run a different OS on top of their current system OS… you could even run MS-DOS.  With the release of Workstation 12 Pro, there are more advanced features that you can keep track of but here’s a short list of the ones I like the most.

  • Built for Windows 10 – Workstation 12 Pro is ready for Windows 10 out of the box.  Easily install Windows 10 on your Linux or Windows host OS with a few simple steps from either a disc or ISO image and test drive cool Windows 10 features like Cortana without changing anything on your host system.
  • Support for DirectX 10 and OpenGL 3.3 – You can have a more fluid and responsive experience when running 3D applications.  Easily run demanding 3D applications like AutoCAD or SOLIDWORKS  in a snappy virtual machine.
  • Amazing graphics – Workstation 12 Pro is optimized for 4k, 5k and Retina displays to give you the best display experience when using your VM.
  • Run beast-like VMs – You can create VMs with up to 16 vCPUs, 8 TB virtual disks, and 64 GB of memory to easily run demanding applications within your VM.
  • Connect to VMware vCloud Air – Workstation 12 Pro comes with improved integration with ESXi, vSphere and Workstation servers.  This gives you the option to extend your VMs to the cloud.

If you are using a Windows PC or laptop, VMware Workstation 12 Pro is a must have.  It gives you the flexibility to run different operating systems on top of your host OS without impacting the host functionality.  As a systems administrator you can create your own sandbox to play with newer OS releases or testing the functionality of different features without deploying them in production.  To get a good overview and history lesson on VMware Workstation, see the video below:


Is it free?

No, it’s not free, unfortunately VMware can’t just give this stuff away for free.  However, there is a free 30 day trial for either Workstation or Fusion and you can download it today.  You will have full functionality for 30 days, at which point you will need to either buy a licensed copy or get stuck with VMs that don’t power on… tough decision.  Fusion 8 Pro will cost you $199.99 and comes with a complimentary 18 months of email support.  Workstation 12 Pro will cost you $249.99 and comes with 30 days of complimentary installation support.  Not great support options for either software package but I don’t see the need for much support in the way of actual VMware support.  There is a large community of Workstation/Fusion users and most are willing to help at any time.  This is software you can have fun with, so get out there and have fun!

VMware Workstation 12 Pro FAQs

VMware Fusion 8 Pro FAQs

Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

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