VMware Fusion 6 Professional vs. VMware Fusion 6

Which one is right for you?

VMware has been overshadowed in the past by Parallels for running Windows virtual machines on the Mac OS, a mainly consumer market, consisting of home users. However VMware gained notoriety in the enterprise market for the past 15 years by providing professional level desktop and server virtualization software.  VMware’s focus is on providing virtualization tools for enterprise users. There is less emphasis on the interface aesthetics such as in Parallels Desktop and VMware does not promote running 3D games using Windows.

Instead, Fusion is focused on customizing and managing virtual machines within your organization’s IT infrastructure.   VMware allows the network admin to choose a number of different operating systems for your virtual machines, including several versions of Linux, Netware, Solaris and even MS-DOS. VMware claims to support more than 200 different operating systems, validating their efforts to allow for easy virtualization in any network configuration.

VMware recently started merging its enterprise friendly features with its consumer virtualization tools in a professional version of Fusion.  VMware Fusion 6 is making Mac virtualization more IT-friendly than ever before.  Fusion is the version of VMware used for running Windows and other operating systems on Mac OS X.

VMware Fusion implementations in enterprise level IT environments are increasing to support the growing number of Mac users in the corporate world.  The pro version includes all the same capabilities as the base version of the Fusion virtualization platform, along with additional tools for IT administrators to securely implement virtual machines to employees and contractors.

VMware recently released new versions, VMware Fusion 6 and VMware Fusion 6 Professional, boasting that “50 new features” have been added to the robust list of features on the previous version.  VMware now claims that Fusion 6 and Fusion 6 Professional provide the “Ultimate Windows on a Mac experience”.

Key new features of VMware 6 include:                 

•    OS X Mavericks 10.9 host support
•    Windows 8.1 guest support
•    Near native OS performance
•    Optimized for Intel’s current Haswell processors

•    Supports 16 virtual CPUs, 8TB virtual disks and 64GB of virtual memory
•    Enhanced UI
•    Optimized for Apple’s new retina displays
•    Supports Thunderbolt, HDMI, USB 3.0 and SDXC inside of the virtual machines

Additional features specific to Fusion 6 Professional include:

Fusion 6 Professional is different than Fusion 6 in that it caters specifically to the professional IT admin or enterprise user, it is $129.99, or $69.99 to upgrade from VMware Fusion 4 or 5.

  • Enhanced restricted VM deployment
  • Virtual machines that can be configured to expire
  • Limit Fusion 6 to just one VM
  • Create linked clones
  • “BYOPC” capabilities with VMware Player 6 Plus

Fusion 6 Professional provides IT and network admins a new, enhanced, restricted virtual machine feature, enabling administrators to set more customizable restrictions over the VMs they deploy to corporate Mac users.  One example of a restriction is blocking USB drives; this is a typical security requirement in more regulated network environments.

Expiring virtual machines        

One new feature in Fusion 6 Professional is that a virtual machine can be set to expire on a specific date and time.  The concept of the expiring virtual machine is conducive for accommodating the mixed workforce requirements of today’s corporate employees. For example, a project team might be made up of employees, contractors, freelancers, and partners, requiring new dimensions of desktop security.

Additionally, the expiring virtual machine feature can be useful for providing virtual machines to contractors or for using virtual machines to show demos of software to people outside the company and that can be set to expire on a preset date.

Also, a new “single virtual machine mode” can be enabled to restrict users from creating new virtual machines without authorization or prevent unauthorized users from accessing administrator features.

Cloning VMs

A key feature of Fusion 6 Professional is the ability to clone a VM, creating identical copies of a particular configuration, which can be used as the standard virtual ‘desktop’ template throughout an organization.  Linked clones also allow users to create multiple copies of a virtual machine without duplicating the entire contents of the original disk, saving disk space on the host Mac.  It is possible to create a ‘linked clone’, which shares its disk space with the original ‘parent’ virtual machine.

This feature can be useful to developers for testing applications on various configurations of an operating system without using as much storage as they might otherwise. One caveat to this feature is, the need to remain linked to the parent virtual machine means the linked clones are suitable for specific, short-lived tasks, such as bug fixing or viewing a specific file.

BYOPC – Fusion 6

Professional includes a license for the VMware Player Plus, which allows users of Fusion for Mac to transfer and run their virtual machines on a Windows or Linux PC.

VMWare Fusion 6

VMware Fusion 6 is recommended for home users who are looking for an easy, fast and reliable way to run Windows applications on a Mac.

Fusion 6 Professional is recommended for enterprises that have a heterogeneous IT environment with both Macs and PCs, Fusion 6 Professional makes deploying corporate desktops efficient for enterprise functionality. The enhanced restrictions and virtual machine expiration features provide IT admins with tools to work efficiently with BYOPC trends while ensuring corporate compliance.