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New features in VMware Fusion 8 incentivize Mac users

From specialized Fusion Pro features to compatibility with Windows 10, there are a number of reasons Mac users should consider updating to VMware Fusion 8.

VMware releases updated versions of VMware Fusion, the company's Mac OS X virtualization product, on a regular basis, but many Mac users neglect to update to newer versions after initial installation and subsequently miss out on some great features.

In this article, we'll be looking at some of the features offered in VMware Fusion 8 -- the latest release -- and hopefully give some Mac users the incentive to update their virtualization software.

When VMware released Fusion 7, the company offered two versions of the product: a regular version and an advanced version. The regular version targets the typical desktop user who needs to use VMs occasionally, while the advanced version, VMware Fusion Pro, was designed for professional system administrators and developers. VMware Fusion provides all of the tools needed to work with VMs, and VMware Fusion Pro offers some nice advanced features that allow administrators to integrate Fusion with other VMware products, such as vSphere, ESXi, vCloud Air and Workstation.

VMware Fusion 8 Pro features

With VMware Fusion 8 Pro, users can access VMs regardless of which VMware environment they're running in. When integrated with vCloud Air, for example, you can see complete lists of all available vCloud Air and Fusion Pro VMs. Fusion Pro also works well in environments that require a strict separation between VM testing and VM deployment. VMs can be created in Fusion Pro, and then can be uploaded to either vCloud Air or vSphere ESXi.

In addition to allowing users to upload VMs, Fusion Pro also offers an option to work with remote VMs. You can create remote VMs in multiple platforms and display their health summaries as well. These features, however useful, are not robust enough to replace either the vSphere client or vSphere Web client, but they can give administrators a quick overview of the current state of VMs on a Mac.

One interesting and exclusive new Fusion Pro feature is IPv6 Network Address Translation (NAT) networking. IPv6 NAT stands out because it isn't directly related to integration with other VMware data center offerings, in large part due to the fact that it is intended for professional use only.

New features for all versions of Fusion 8

The driving force behind the release of VMware Fusion 8 is the release of Windows 10. The new features found in both versions of Fusion are oriented toward offering support for this important new client operating system. Windows 10 is now also supported in Boot Camp. Fusion 8 offers a P2V migration to Windows 10 as well as autodetect and easy install. Fusion also supports the latest version of Mac OS X, as is the case for the most significant Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Even more interesting is that VMware Project Photon is now supported as a VM, which allows Fusion users to test-drive the VMware platform for working with containers.

The rest of the new features in VMware Fusion 8 were designed in the interest of creating a better user experience, with particular attention to better use of different graphics. Fusion 8 includes DirectX 10 and OpenGL 3.3, which allow it to work with the same standards as the virtualized OSes. The latest update also improves upon the resolution settings of previous versions, allowing users to set a global preference for resolution change, as well as preferences for individual VMs.

Fusion vs. Oracle VirtualBox

Even with all of these new features, is it worth purchasing VMware Fusion when alternatives such as Oracle VirtualBox are available for free? In all honesty, for amateur users, it probably isn't worth shelling out the cash to buy Fusion when VirtualBox allows you to perform many of the same functions without the cost. However, Fusion Pro offers exclusive features, including many integrations options for working with VMware data center projects, which justify its purchase to professional users and developers.

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