Review: VMware Fusion 11

VMware has released VMware Fusion 11 which is the latest version of their virtualization product for macOS in the last couple of weeks. Last year’s VMware Fusion 10 impressed me so much that I switched to it from Parallels Desktop as my personal choice for virtualization on my Mac. Thus I was very interested to see what VMware brought to the table in version 11.

Let me get straight to the point. If you’re looking for a bunch of new and cool features, you’re not going to see that here. And that’s not a bad thing as from what I can tell, VMware Fusion 11 is meant to enhance what was already a solid platform and bring it in line with other VMware virtualization offerings. And that’s not a bad thing as one strength that VMware Fusion has is that it can pull from their other virtualization offerings to make itself better for Mac users. Plus you can integrate VMware Fusion into a larger VMware environment with ease as it fully supports that use case with ease. Having said that it does have a bunch of improvements which include the following:

  • macOS Mojave compatibility
  • Support for the iMac Pro and MacBook Pro models. Including TouchBar support.
  • Support for Windows 10 1803, Ubuntu 18.04, macOS 10.14, Fedora 28, RHEL 7.5, CentOS 7.5, Debian 9.5, OpenSuse Leap 15.0, FreeBSD 11.2, ESXi 6.7
  • Support for Apple Metal and Microsoft Direct X 10.1
  • Security fixes and architectural changes have been made to mitigate threats like Spectre and Meltdown.
  • Support for virtual NVMe drives on Macs that have those drives.

The last item is particularly interesting as NVMe drives offer performance advantages over regular SATA drives. Thus if your Mac has an NVMe drive in it, this will make your VMs run significantly faster. The second last item was a chief motivator for me to move to VMware Fusion last year as my previous virtualization product didn’t offer those fixes.  Support for Metal is great because that is another way that VMware has increased the performance of the product. And while I welcome support for Direct X 10.1, support for Direct X 11 or 12 would be most welcome for the game players out there. Other than that,   I did notice some improvements from a disk and graphics perspective after I upgraded and started testing my VMs.

One really cool feature is that VMware Fusion 11 includes an Applications Menu which sits in the Mac’s main Menu Bar at the top of the screen for easy access. This menu allows you to quickly browse and select your VMs and also to control individual VMs even when they’re not running. The menu can be used to start, shut down or pause a VM, or to switch viewing modes on the Mac desktop. It’s really handy.

Here’s the bottom line. This is an evolutionary upgrade that will appeal to a variety of users. Whether you are a home user or an enterprise that runs other VMware products, there’s value in upgrading to VMware Fusion 11. It is available starting at $79.99 USD for new customers and $49.99 USD as an upgrade. And don’t forget there is a Pro version which is $159.99 USD for new customers and $119 USD as an upgrade.

 

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