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September 15, 2011
If you’re a Mac-toting IT admin, VAR or MSP, it’s very likely you can’t get away from needing to run Windows or Windows applications. That’s okay, because VMware Fusion 4 is here, and it’s been specifically designed to run on Mac OS X Lion, with a nice list of other new enhancements. Read on for the update and whether it’s worth your coin …
VMware is boasting more than 90 added features in VMware Fusion 4, all of which are fully optimized to take advantage of OS X Lion and the second-generation multi-core Intel Core CPUs found in Macs. Nice little tweaks such as adding your Windows applications to OS X Lion’s Launchpad and Mission Control enable power users to use all the multitasking productivity features without compromise. Running Windows applications outside of the VM box — a.k.a. “Unity mode” — has also been improved.
Alongside application tweaks also come optimizations for hardware, including updated support for utilizing Mac graphics cards inside virtualized Windows applications. Fusion 4 boasts a 2.5 times boost over the previous version. If virtualizing Windows isn’t your thing, you can virtualize Linux and, thanks to Apple’s more relaxed virtualization stance, even virtualize your existing copy of OS X Lion and Snow Leopard inside VMware Fusion 4.
The price tag until 2012 is $49.99, which is a nice value, considering that the typical price is $79.99. But, if you bought VMware Fusion 3 on July 20, 2011, — or anytime thereafter — you can upgrade to Fusion 4 for free. For VARs and resellers working with VMware, you’ll be happy to know that just like with Fusion 3, volume pricing, corporate licensing and more are available to you.
Right now, VMware’s biggest competitor in this space is Parallels Desktop for Mac, which is currently at Version 7 and at a very firm $79.99. VMware’s price drop might represent an effort to combat its rival, especially since Parallels Desktop for Mac came a bit earlier in 2011 than VMware’s latest offering. I’ve used both products and it’s hard to recommend one over the other, since they often play cat and mouse with speed benchmarks and feature sets. The best plan for a user on the fence would be to download each trial and find out which program virtualizes your needs better. But as long as there’s a $49.99 price tag, VMware Fusion 4 is definitely a good deal while you can get it.
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