Archive for the 'Virtualization' CategoryOctober 16, 2010
Late last month, Ars Technica reviewed the latest release on the virtualization front, Parallels Desktop 6. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you will have noticed that I have a wandering eye when it comes to software. We started out using Parallels, but switched to VMWare because Parallels wasn’t very resource-friendly. Other than a short detour with one computer trying out Parallels, we have been pretty solidly in VMWare’s corner. But Parallels isn’t staying put. They’ve added a lot of features and performance in recent releases. What’s amazing is the level of integration that has become possible between Mac OS X and Windows. Seamless integration seems to be rapidly approaching on the horizon.
Read all about Parallels Desktop 6 over at Ars Technica.
A few weeks ago I was reading a comparison between VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop. The results were interesting. I was an early adopter of Parallels Desktop. I switched after trying out VMWare Fusion because Parallels was really laggy at times. That was a long time ago, and several versions of Parallels Desktop ago. I considered trying Parallels again as my main environment because file sharing between the Windows and Mac side seems easier in Parallels. I’d rather not mirror everything because I am afraid that if something happens (virus, etc.) to Windows, it could take out my Mac data as well. It may not be likely – the nefarious types seem more interested today in turning your PC into a zombie than in destroying anything – but it’s always a good idea to be cautious with Windows.
The problem is that we frequently have to transfer documents between the Windows and Mac side. I had set up a shared folder, but it’s slow in Windows and it means several extra steps. About a week ago I was moving some documents and I said, “wouldn’t it be nice if I could just drag this off the Windows desktop and onto my Mac desktop?” As I said this, I started dragging the file to the edge of the window. If you’re a VMWare Fusion guru, you know what happened next, but it surprised the heck out of me. The icon changed to a Mac icon as I got close to the edge of the window, and I was able to drop it on the Mac desktop. I then saw a message that VMWare Fusion was copying the file.
How did I not know about this before? After discovering this feature, I checked the VMWare documentation and didn’t see any mention of it. I wonder how many other VMWare Tools features I’m missing out on. At least now using Windows has become much more pleasant (and I am no longer tempted to migrate my Windows install).
VMWare has apparently put the finishing touches on Fusion 2.0, releasing it yesterday on their website. I have been using the beta since soon after it was released and have been quite pleased with both the new features and its performance. VMWare Fusion continues to outperform Parallels Desktop on my wife’s MacBook Pro. Parallels still has some features that I cannot find in Fusion. Chief among those is the ability to mount my Windows hard disk as an external disk in Mac OS X. I think Fusion might be able to do this, but I haven’t figured it out yet (if you know how, please let me know in a comment). I am not a big fan of integrating Mac and Windows (I don’t use Coherence, I just run it in a window). But this is one thing I miss from Parallels.
If you already use VMWare Fusion, you probably don’t need to be sold. Version 2.0 is a free upgrade for everyone. If you’re not already using VMWare Fusion, you can try it free for 30 days.
Macworld put up a nice article today about installing and using Windows on Mac OS X via VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop. I use Fusion primarily because it was the first of the two to become sufficiently stable. But they’re both very good (my wife uses Parallels). If you’re currently using either program, jump ahead to the second page for a few tips on tweaking the settings to improve your Mac and Windows experience.
Has anyone downloaded the Fusion 2.0 beta? If so, please post a comment and share your experiences. I have been reluctant to download it since I use Fusion for work, but some of the features are intriguing.