VMware Workstation Review

I like the ability to drag a VM to an additional monitor and utilize VMs on separate windows.


Valuable Features

The ability to drag a VM to an additional monitor and utilize VMs on separate windows, drag and drop. I like the newer network editor. Using a wireless guest network to keep my network separate from activities like downloading software and the like, this keeps the bandwidth for my users at an optimum level while allowing me to download an ISO image from MS or some other large file. I used to have to wait until after hours to perform bandwidth hogging work. But now, I can leverage our wireless guest network to accomplish these tasks and minimize late hours.

Improvements to My Organization

The ability to run Virtual machines in different networks and with different security levels. I can sandbox my windows machine when I need to use a non domain admin account for daily tasks but have another sandboxed machine to handle system admin tasks. I also have a wireless sand boxed Ubuntu machine that is in no way connected to our internal network for testing our websites, outside email etc. This has saved me a great deal of time and effort.

Room for Improvement

Performance is a needed improvement. I would like to see a faster response on my VMs. Linux support is so-so - many of the VM Tools you need are different packages downloadable from the distro you are using. Ubuntu 15.x seems to have improved the ability that plagued the product - getting the host share folder to be accessible from a Linux VM.

Pricing. When you purchase VMware workstation you get a great product but there is a cost. It is more expensive than Fusion or Player.

Use of Solution

I have used VMware workstation 10 and now 12 - I skipped 11. It is an expensive upgrade too. With the versions listed above, I have been running this for several years.

Deployment Issues

Deploying using a LINUX OS - (especially CENTOS 7) seems to strip some functionality and is fraught with difficulties. Save yourself some headaches - deploy it in a Windows environment and then use Linux as a VM.

Stability Issues

I have had a few issues prior to update1 - but I am unsure if this is due to my platform or if it is a VMware related issue. I also noticed that it uses a lot of RAM when running multiple instances of Windows VMs. Update - I have 32GB RAM now and it works flawlessly. I have been working in this newer environment for several months and I couldn't be more pleased.

Scalability Issues

On Windows 7 - I can run 2 VMs (I have a beefy Workstation with 2 quad core Xeon procs and two NVIDIA Quadro Cards as well as 16 GB RAM) It does not play well when there are more than 2 windows VMs running on top of a Windows host environment. Update - I have a new machine with an i7 6700 processor - it is more than adequate to run the base Windows 8.1 OS, another Windows 8.1 OS a Windows 7 OS, and an Ubuntu 16.04 OS simultaneously. I do this on a daily basis at work and the performance is great. I use a SSD for the base Windows OS and the other OS's live on a larger 3 TB drive that I use for virtual machine/server work.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

I think support is an issue for VMware - they only offer support for this product once you purchase more than 10 licenses. This is a show-stopper for smaller organizations like us. We would like to pay for support the same way we do for the Vsphere licenses and have the ability to upgrade the product under support without an additional charge. This is really a big deal for us.

Technical Support:

Not much there for technical support.

Previous Solutions

I have used Virtual box and Hyper-V. VMware workstation is more powerful than either of these. You can create virtual networks to test things on, you can emulate an entire network with outside, inside, DMZ, servers, clients, (use GNS3 to create a virtual firewall) then test things prior to rollouts. You can also connect to Vcenter or to esxi hosts. You can upload servers and change settings, you can even add HDD's from your SAN to a VM from VMworkstation when that VM is powered off

Initial Setup

Pretty simple - the network editor is the one you have to pay attention to if you are trying to setup multiple networks. The defaults really do not unleash the power of the platform.

Implementation Team

In house

ROI

It paid for itself multiple times. Especially when we had to pull in older Windows 2003 servers for disk manipulation. I also use this when vCenter is unavailable to manipulate machine settings.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Spendy - be prepared to buy multiple Windows OS's and to spend a couple hundred or more on the Workstation software. Look for a VMware sale if possible. I also use this at home to run my Ubuntu within Windows.

Other Solutions Considered

Yes, virtual box and Hyper-v (comes with Windows 8 and 10 professional for free so you really don't need to buy Hyper-V) VMware is far more powerful than either of the free ones. No Network editor, the ability to copy and paste on the fly etc. is limited on the freebies. See my comments below about network editor.

Other Advice

Use this to secure your Domain admin accounts - don't setup email, surf the web, or do anything outside of your internal network using your DA account. This product can help you immensely. Using the virtual network editor can also be a benefit to you in this regard you can setup a virtual machine using wireless on a totally different network, use the vm (I use Ubuntu) to perform web tasks like testing your web site externally or to download and scan for malware prior to letting it on your production network.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
1 visitor found this review helpful
3 Comments
Systems and Security Administrator at a government with 1,001-5,000 employeesReal UserTOP 5LEADERBOARD

Update - I have since upgraded my physical machine - I have a Core i7 6700 proc with 32 GB RAM. I can now run two Windows VMs and a Linux VM with no performance issues. Huge difference for my daily tasks!

16 May 16
Chris ChilderhoseReal UserTOP REVIEWERELITE SQUAD

Good to hear that performance has increased but don't forget that this is a Type 2 hypervisor and will never see the same performance as a Type 1 hypervisor like ESXi. Workstation is great though for travel and demos.

16 May 16
Systems and Security Administrator at a government with 1,001-5,000 employeesReal UserTOP 5LEADERBOARD

I use ESXi for virtualization in the server farm but it is nice to have the workstation product on my windows box. I have discovered that some applications (like my soft phone) work better on a physical box - also noticed that Wake On Lan works better when launched from a physical machine.
So, while using ESXi would be an option, I prefer the workstation on my machine and to use ESXi on my hosts.

23 August 16
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