The ability to share virtual machines is worth the upgrade to VMware Workstation
8 alone and there’s a lot more besides including a re-vamped user interface,
making it a must-have for app developers, system testers and other IT workers.
Streamlined user interface; up to 64GB memory per VM; remote VM sharing; drag-
and-drop migration to vSphere
A long-time favourite of application developers, system testers and other IT
professionals, the eighth generation of VMware Workstation comes with over 50
improvements on top of the usual VM upgrades, including a revamped user
interface, the ability to share virtual machines and drag-and-drop vSphere
We checked it out on Windows 7, although Workstation 8 is available for both
Windows and Linux platforms. Either way the package now requires a 64-bit
processor (AMD or Intel) and is a lot more particular when it comes to processor
specifics, which means that it may not work on older machines. Fortunately we had
no such problems but, if in doubt, you can find the exact requirements, and a
tool to check for compatibility, on the VMware web site .
As with previous releases, Workstation 8 is very resource hungry and we’d
recommend a high-spec PC to get the best out of the product. Multi-core and/or
multi-threaded processors are a must, and if you have more than one physical
processor then all the better with enhanced SMP support just one of those 50-plus
The official line on memory is that you can get away with just a couple of
gigabytes, but here too it’s best to configure as much as you can afford. We had
4GB to play with on our test PCs, which seemed reasonable, but led to performance
issues even with just two VMs running.
In terms of support for guest operating systems, not much changes. Unsurprising
really, given that VMware Workstation can already host just about anything you
care to throw at it, from old versions of Windows to the latest Linux distros and
64-bit Windows Server releases. There’s little change too when it comes to how
VMs are created and deployed, with much the same wizards and tools to convert
physical to virtual machines and vice versa; take snapshots; create clones and so
The resources each VM can be assigned, however, have been tweaked with support
now for up to 64GB of memory per VM. This adds to the support for up to eight
virtual processors/cores plus 2TB of virtual disk space.
The software is very easy to install and existing users don’t have to start over.