Review: VMware Fusion 10

I’ve been a long time user of Parallels Desktop for Mac as it has been very good to me in terms of being able to run virtual machines on my Mac. But a long time ago, I did try VMware Fusion. I hadn’t really given it another thought until I was approached by VMware to give VMware Fusion 10 a try. Frankly, I’m glad that I did.

First of all, the graphics capabilities in VMware Fusion 10 are outstanding. You can attribute that to the addition of Metal support. This gives the VMware Fusion 10 a serious performance boost, along with increasing the accuracy of rendering and improving power efficiency. I felt this when playing Team Fortress 2 in Windows 10 as it was so good I almost forgot I was playing the game in a virtual machine. It was truly that good. I would imagine that you would get the same experience if you were running something that is graphics heavy such as a 3D modelling application. I’m going to also highlight something else on the graphics front which is the support for retina displays. Parallels Desktop supports retina displays. But it was done in a way that made the virtual machine unusable because the type was so small. Thus I ended up turning that feature off. No so in the case of VMware Fusion 10 where they have fully leveraged the retina display to make the virtual machine more than usable.

There’s support for operating systems including macOS 10.13 High Sierra and the fall updates for Windows 10 and Server 2016. But one trick that VMware Fusion 10 has is the ability to import virtual machines from Parallels Desktop which I utilized to review the product. The process worked fine though I had two hiccups. One was that once the import was complete, VMware Fusion 10 was unable to boot the virtual machine until I chose the virtual hard disk. The second hiccup was I had trouble getting sound to work in the virtual machine once it booted. It was apparently due to the lack of drivers. But if you’re starting from scratch, you can easily create a virtual machine or clone a desktop computer to a virtual machine via easy to understand wizards that walk you through the process. And when I say the words “easy to understand” I truly mean that they are extremely easy to understand.

If you want to get really nerdy, VMware supports features such as NVMe devices, UEFI Secure Boot, UEFI boot, and TPM chips. Why should you care about this stuff? In my case I care because I use virtual machines to replicate customer environments so that I can understand why they are having an issue, and come up with a fix for it. For example, during the testing of VMware Fusion 10, I was asked by a customer to try and help them to replicate an issue that involved Microsoft’s Bitlocker encryption. To replicate this issue properly required me to use the TPM chip that is found in many corporate class PCs. This is something that I would not have been able to do with any other virtualization product, and had I not had been testing VMWare Fusion 10 at the time, I would have to borrow one of their computers and set it up at home to perform this testing. Thus for the first time, I can now replicate environments accurately from a virtual hardware perspective as VMware Fusion 10 supports technologies like these. The kicker is that I didn’t have to use the pro version to get support for technologies like these.

VMware Fusion 10 is now available from vmware.com $79 USD. The pro version which is more focused at enterprise users is $179. Fusion 8.5 users can upgrade to Fusion 10 Pro for only $119 and to Fusion 10 for $49 at the VMware online store. And those who purchase Fusion 8 or Fusion 8 Pro between August 22 and November 1 are eligible for an electronic upgrade to Fusion 10 or Fusion 10 Pro, respectively, at no additional cost. No action is required on your part, your licenses will automatically be upgraded in your MyVMware account manager. If you have the need to run virtual machines on your Mac, VMware Fusion 10 should be your first choice. In my case, I am giving serious thought to converting over because VMware is the new champ of virtual machine software on the Macintosh platform.

 

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