VMware Workstation 6.5 features list

The next version of worldwide popular VMware Workstation is already expected for one feature that Apple customers can already enjoy with Fusion: the seamless window capability that VMware calls Unity.

But Workstation 6.5 has other big features to expose and virtualization.info is able to detail the complete list for beta 1 (build 74679):

  • Inclusion of ACE authoring capabilities
    VMware is integrating into Workstation the corporate desktop security capabilities once only available in the ACE product. But differently from 6.0 version where customers had to buy an additional serial number to have a Workstation ACE Edition, these features are now available as standard capabilities of the basic product.
    This means virtual disks encryption, quarantined access to unauthorized networks, access control to physical hardware devices, etc.
  • Introduction of analysis and debugging engine VProbe
    VProbe acts at hypervisor level and it’s able to provide informations about any aspect of the interaction between the virtual machine and the physical hardware.
    It goes well beyond traditional analysis tools that can be run at guest OS level, giving informations about virtual CPU registers, hardware virtualization state, guest OS page faults, interrupts use and much more.
    It comes with its own scripting language but not a GUI or any reporting capabilities, and it’s inspired to the DTrace tool created by Sun for its OS Solaris 10.
  • Introduction of checkpoints for Record/Replay feature
    Users can now mark with checkpoints a virtual machine recorded or replayed with Record/Replay feature.
  • Support for guest OS unattended installation
    Just like with the customization wizard offered by VirtualCenter, users can now predefine some values (administrator’s password, installation key, network settings, etc.) before installing a Windows guest OS for the first time.
  • Support for smart cards at guest OS level
    A smart card reader available at host level can be used inside a virtual machines.

The first two features are specially important.

The inclusion of ACE capabilities into the basic version of Workstation means several things: first of all that VMware isn’t able to successfully sell ACE as is today, secondarily that the future strategy will probably imply selling only the management component that VMware introduced with ACE 2.0.
Now that Microsoft acquired Kidaro VMware has one more reason to completely reposition this product on the hostile security market.

The introduction of VProbe in Workstation 6.5 is just the first step for the inclusion in ESX Server, where the technology will allow VMware to introduce a new class of performance analysis and troubleshooting products.
All the vendors that offer today reporting tools for the guest OS level should pay much attention to the development of this feature because it could easily drive them out of business.