VMware Workstation Review

It allows the recreation of an entire network including multiple subnets, but the addition of a built-in virtual router would be good.

Valuable Features

Network virtualisation allows the recreation of an entire network including multiple subnets, this is required to correctly recreate live deployment scenarios. It can interact with vSphere/Esxi to allow VMs to be moved directly into vSphere, or copied out and stood-up in Workstation; full support to import/export from OVF templates is also supported. This functionality has proved extremely beneficial in pre-staging supporting servers for DR recovery tests as well as testing system upgrades.

Improvements to My Organization

It has given us the flexibility to recreate live server scenarios including the supporting networks and AD domain controllers; these are then used to test upgrades or migrations with no impact on the live servers or network. These actions can then be repeated on the live servers, or the upgraded test VM can simply replace the original server (depending on the service requirements and server role). This can be completed by transferring the test VM directly from Workstation to the ESXI host or vSphere environment. If the transfer is the preferred method, the original VM remains available as a failback.

Room for Improvement

The addition of a built-in virtual router would be a good addition. Currently, I run my own virtual router in order to provide conectivity between virtual subnets.

Use of Solution

I've been using it for several years; VMware Workstation since v6 (released in 2008). Initially, it was just for building test servers for training purposes, and versions 7, 8 and now 9 for creating test implementations of live server deployment scenarios, to assist in resolving live issues or to test change controls.

Deployment Issues

There were no issues.

Stability Issues

In v6, it was a 32bit environment with a maximum memory of 4Gb RAM. Therefore, this required a high level of swap out of RAM to disk in order to provide sufficient memory space to run VMs, this occasionally caused system crashes. Since v8 this has not been an issue.

Scalability Issues

None, Workstation scales to 32Gb of RAM.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

No VMware support is provided with Workstation.

Technical Support:

No VMware technical support is available with VMware Workstation.

Initial Setup

The initial set-up is straight forward, however, you need to ensure that virtualisation is switched on in the BIOS.


Workstation is a one off licence payment.

Other Advice

Make sure you have at least four cores available on an Intel i5 (i7 with eight cores recommended) a minimum of 8Gb RAM (32Gb recommended) and lots of internal storage (SSD preferable). Having a virtual SCSI SAN is also recommended if you wish to evaluate vSphere or Hyper-V deployments including shared storage for VM failover.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Add a Comment

author avatarit_user266652 (docente at a university)

Estoy experimentando escenarios como esos.

author avatarit_user266652 (docente at a university)

cómo implementó su propio router virtual?

author avatarChris Childerhose
ExpertTop 5Real User

If you are interested in testing Windows 10 be sure to update to Workstation 12 Pro which is out now and has even more enhancements. There are many enhancements - http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/workstation/12pro/workstation-12-release-notes.html

author avatarit_user246474 (Systems Engineer at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees)

I prefer virtual box myself. Workstation is not free, corporate environments technically are supposed to BUY a license. Recently I installed Workstation, it has a memory leak. After a few hours running 1 VM, my OS started thrashing and I saw the pagefile was growing, caused by increase demand in the VM, but the VM is static to 1GB, so how can it grow? I also see RAM free is around 10% while VM is running.. Workstation console crashes, but still continues to run in the background a new instance is created, have to close the other manual (force close in task manager)

When I discovered the memory leak I removed Workstation, installed Virtual box it's 100% certfied and supported even in Corporate environments, its FREE. I can use EXISTING vhdx and vmdk files along with native Virtual Box format vdi, the SAME VM has over 40% free (on SAME host, no change to OS or hardware), VM does not cause host to thrash and has same capability as unity mode in Virtual box as well..

As a result I am not using Workstation anymore, Virtual box is Linux compatible as well as Windows so I don't see a need to use VM Workstation .. I am a VMware Engineer, so I am still fond of VMware but not for desktop, only ESX.

I cannot condone Workstation at all

author avatarreviewer139530 (Systems and Security Administrator at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees)
Top 20Real User

I believe Richard Parker's statement about Virtual Box is a great post with the exception of his last line. I use virtual box at home as well as VMware Workstation 12 (my director at work is very leery of freeware on our work network.) Virtual box is free and it does what most people need - I love it too! However, one of the strengths/paybacks for VMware workstation is when you use it alongside a VMware vSphere environment in your network. Workstation can connect to vCenter server or to an ESXi host and you can create virtual machines or manage powered off machines settings. You can attach ISO images, a USB key, etc. You can clone servers to your workstation and then test/tweak them yand subsequently upload your finished product to an ESXi host or to a vCenter environment. You can build a server, place specialized software on it, test it, even share it so that a test group can hit it while it is on your workstation and when it is ready for prime time, move/upload it to your vSphere environment. We have had a few instances where we were able to leverage workstation to resolve issues on virtual machines without impacting users. I am a fan of virtual box as well. At home I choose to use both because I had screen size issues on some of the machines I use for legacy gaming - virtual box worked better for some but for others it couldn't cut he mustard and the reverse was true for other platforms. But if you have forked over the cash to purchase VMWare workstation - put it in the trenches and make it pay for itself - because it will! BTW - I have not experienced the memory leak on my VMware 12 software - I will be looking for this though.