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VMware Workstation Adds Cores and Fedora 12

The beta testing has begun for version 7.1 of VMware's Workstation hypervisor for the desktop.  Workstation 7.1 increases the size of virtual machine guests to span more virtual processors.  There is also greater virtual disk capacity and support for Fedora 12 and OpenGL 2.1.

The 7.x series of Workstation began in October 2009 with support for 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems, allowing up to four virtual processors and 32GB of memory per guest.  It is a type 2 (hosted) hypervisor that runs on Windows or Linux.  Workstation 7 is also the first virtualized environment to support Windows Aero 3D graphics in Windows 7 and Vista.

Workstation 7.1 comes with greater scalability.  The size of virtual machine guests has been increased enough for them to span eight virtual processors.  The memory per guest hasn't changed, but code changes have allowed virtual disks in Workstation 7.1 to be scaled up to 2TB for each VM.

Fedora 12 Linux has been added to the list of over 200 operating systems that Workstation 7.1 already supports.  Workstation 7.1 also adds support for OpenGL 2.1 in the WDDM driver for Windows 7 and Windows Vista.  The updated VMware WDDM driver along with the OpenGL 2.1 support have given graphics applications up to an 80% performance boost in some cases, says the company.  In the broader picture, virtual graphics have had difficulty keeping up with native performance standards.  

OVF (Open Virtualization Format) 1.0 is supported in Workstation 7.1 thanks to a tool that can import and export guest VMs that comply with the format.  They are the same VMs that were made to run on ESX Server 4.0.  In addition, Workstation 7.1 has a direct launch feature that enables applications running in a VM to be launched from the task bar or start menu of the host OS.  

Upgrading Workstation to the newest version has become very easy in 7.1, which now supports automatic online updates.  Check out the beta here.  The price of Workstation 7 is $189 per PC, so 7.1 will probably be in that range as well when it releases in GA.  Upgrades from previous versions cost $99.

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