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VMware Fusion 6 updates for new OS's, enterprise features

VMware has release VMware 6 ($60) and VMware 6 Pro ($130), new versions of its virtualization software for OS X Macs. VMware 6 adds support for Windows 8.1 and OS X 10.9 Mavericks, both as the host OS and in a virtual machine. It also streamlines the installation of Windows. The Pro version enables IT administrators to place restrictions on virtual machines, and adds other features useful in an enterprise setting. However, both versions of Fusion no longer run on Snow Leopard.

VMware 6 adds 50 new features, according to the company. A redesigned virtual machine assistant simplifies creating a Windows virtual machine from an installer disc or a migrating PC. (The new Parallels Desktop 9 can also install OS's from a USB flash drive and from disk images.) You can now install OS X Lion and Mountain Lion in a virtual machine from the Mac's recovery partition.

Windows 8.1 Metro applications will appear in the OS X Launchpad and the Applications folder, and you can put Metro Apps in the Dock while in Unity mode. There is now support for dictation in Windows applications.

The company said that virtual machine settings are now more "granular," and more information and guidance is provided in the configuration windows. You can now also create a clone of a virtual machine from the virtual machine library window.

It increases the hardware support of virtual machines to 16 virtual CPUs (on a Mac Pro), 8 TB virtual disks, and up to 64 GB of memory for a virtual machine. The company also says the new version is faster than version 5, though they don't say how much faster. VMware Fusion 6 uses less battery power, supports USB 3 and SATA, and is optimized for Macs with retina display. [Continued below.]

Mavericks as both host and guest OS's

VMware Pro for enterprise

The Pro version is designed for organizations that distribute Windows virtual machines to Mac users. For instance, administrators can create control policies that restrict access to resources or peripherals.

VMware Fusion 6 Pro comes with administration tools that enable deployment of VMware Fusion using Apple tools or JAMF's Casper Suite management software.

VMware Fusion Pro 6 includes the features of the standard version, plus new enterprise features. Administrators can create "restricted" virtual machines that expire at a set date and time. There's a new preference to allow virtual machines to enter promiscuous mode without a user interface prompt. VMware says that this is useful when running VMware ESX or VMware vSphere in a virtual machine.

Another new Pro features is the ability to run one or more virtual machines in the background, without any visible windows. (Preferences > General > Confirm before closing, then select Run in background when closing a virtual machine window.)

VMware 6 standard and Pro require a Mac running OS X 10.7.5 or later. See the VMware Fusion 6 release notes for more on both versions.

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