Monday, June 23, 2008

Virtualization Part 3: VMware Fusion

Welcome to Part 3 of our Virtualization mini-series. Today's feature is VMware Fusion. If you didn't read Part 1: Basics of Virtualization or Part 2: VMware Workstation, you can follow those links to the posts. This post will wrap up our discussion of virtualization and I hope that it wasn't a total bust. I hope it was interesting for y'all to read.

VMware Fusion is basically the same thing as VMware Workstation only made specially for Mac. Wait Windows users, before you stop reading, this is important for you to know because this is how you can run both Mac and Windows OS's without even a hiccup (when you buy a Mac). Fusion allows you to run any OS (Vista, XP, Linux, even Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, whatever!) just like Workstation. In Part 2, I explained how the virtualization software works on the surface. Basically, it sets up fake hard drives in normal file folders and uses those folders to install the OS. Fusion is the same as Workstation in that regard. Pretty much, although there are many differences, the two software suites are basically the same. The big difference (as far as I can tell) is a single feature: Unity Mode.

Unity Mode allows you to run an operating system (I will be using XP for my examples - its way better than Vista) as if the operating system wasn't actually running (just so you know, my computer is a Macbook with a 2.4GHz Intel 2 Duo and 4 GB of DDR2 RAM). So what does that mean? Well, basically it hides the actual Fusion window and makes it appear as if the OS weren't running. You can, however, load any Windows program as if it was part of the Mac. So, if you were considering getting a Mac (because they are sweet), but were afraid that you wouldn't be able to run those Windows programs you love so much, don't worry about it. You can run them without problem. Here, take a look at some of these screen shots from my own computer:

You can see here, XP running inside Mac. Look at the top title bar and notice that it says VMware Fusion.

This is Fusion running XP which is running Firefox

The Unity icon that switches to Unity mode (from this point on, the shots will be in Unity mode)

This is Unity Mode with the Windows Task Bar. You can see that the desktop is my Mac desktop and the Task Bar is XP's.

This one is Unity Mode without the task bar. You can open programs using the Fusion bar on top, selecting applications, etc. All the programs on that list are from XP.

Unity Mode running My Computer. Notice the bottom icon that says, shared folder on .host(z). That is the network connection between my virtual XP and my Mac.

Lastly, Mac Spaces demonstrating XP in fullscreen mode running its own, autonomous space from the rest of my Mac computer.

Whew, thats that. Well I hope you have enjoyed this mini-series on Virtualization. My hope is that you learned something and have a desire to either experiment or learn more about it. Make comments if you have questions and I will answer them. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Derek and Tara said...

Pretty awesome 3 part series. Very informative. Loved it.