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VMware's Workstation 5 Moves Into Beta

VMware on Thursday rolled out a public beta of its Workstation 5, the newest edition of its desktop virtualization software.

VMware, which has announced several server virtualization products this year, also sells Workstation, which lets users run multiple operating systems, and their applications, simultaneously on a single PC. VMware pitches the product to software developers and testers, as well as IT types who want to run, say, Windows and Linux on the same machine without resorting to disk partitioning.

Among the improvements VMware's testing in the beta are expanded OS support for both host PCs and guest virtual machines (primarily various Linux distributions, but also Windows Server 2003 SP1 on the host end), new cloning features for copying virtual machines to share with others, and improved performance. VMware's touting substantial memory requirement reductions, for instance, for virtual machines, which should let users create more VMs on a single host PC.

Workstation 5 also supports the buffer overflow-prevention NX bit in supported software and processors, sports a redesigned interface for Linux, and includes what's called "VM Teams," a feature that makes it easier to create and manage multiple, connected virtual machines.

As part of the package, VMware's including V2V Assistant, a utility that converts virtual machines on rival Microsoft's Virtual PC or Virtual Server into a VMware Workstation 5 virtual machine.

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