VMware Fusion is a software hypervisor developed by VMware for computers running OS X with Intel processors. Fusion allows Intel-based Macs to run operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, NetWare, or Solaris on virtual machines, along with their Mac OS X operating system using a combination ofparavirtualization, hardware virtualization and dynamic recompilation.
Fusion, made possible by the Apple–Intel transition, marked VMware's first entry into Macintosh-based x86-virtualization. Fusion uses Intel VT present in the Intel Core microarchitecture platform. Much of the underlying technology in Fusion is inherited from other VMware products, such as VMware Workstation, allowing Fusion to offer features such as 64-bit and SMP support from the first beta version onward.
Fusion 1.0 was released on August 6, 2007, exactly one year after being announced.
- Any x64 capable Intel® Mac® (Compatible with Core 2 Duo, Xeon, i3, i5, i7 processors or better)
- 4 GB of RAM (Minimum)
- 750 MB free disk space
- 5 GB free disk space for each virtual machine (10 GB or more recommended)
- Mac OS X 10.8.0 or later
- Operating system installation media for virtual machines
- Optional: nVidia GeForce 8600M, ATI Radeon HD 2600 or better graphics for Windows Aero support
Unity view creates a seamless desktop environment between Microsoft Windows and OS X applications. It optionally hides Windows' start menu and taskbar and runs the Windows applications directly from the dockin OS X. Further, users can drag and drop files between Windows and the Mac, and use familiar Mac keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste between Windows and Mac applications. It is (almost) fully compatible withExposé. Fusion windows that are covered by other Fusion windows don't redraw when switching to Exposé, causing visual anomalies. This feature is later made available in VMware Workstation 6.5 Beta, which is designed to be run on Windows/Linux platforms.
DirectX 9.0 is supported through dynamic recompilation to OpenGL instructions in Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 virtual machines. Hence, users can play supported games through Fusion or run applications which require 3D graphics. VMware Fusion 3 has DirectX 9 Shader Model 3 and OpenGL support.
32-bit and 64-bit guest operating systems are supported by VMWare Fusion. Over 60 operating systems are supported, including Windows Vista, Windows XP, Linux, and Solaris. Additionally, VMWare Fusion 2.0 adds support for Mac OS X Server version 10.5 (Leopard) as a guest on a Mac OS X host. Additionally, Fusion 2.0.1 added experimental support for un-released developer builds of Mac OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard) – presumably for software developers with Apple-granted access to pre-release builds of Snow Leopard. There is also support for Windows XP Service Pack 2 Boot Camp partitions: a user can use his Windows Boot Camp partition, eliminating the need for two separate Windows installations. In addition, VMWare Fusion offers support of up to 8 GB of memory on guest 64-bit operating systems, and up to 16GB of RAM on Mac Pros and Xserves.
Snapshots enable users to save a stable state of the guest operating system to disk, allowing users to quickly return to their virtual machine without the need of rebooting.
Shared Folders allow the mounting of folders from the host operating system to the guest operating system.
Extensive hardware support is built into VMWare Fusion. For networking, there is support for wired and wireless networks, in NAT or bridged mode (albeit, erratic availability with wireless interfaces). There is access to physical devices from the virtual machine (i.e. read and write CDs and DVDs) as well as access to USB 2.0 devices such as video cameras, iPods, printers, and disks at full speed. Firewire support is still missing in the latest version, although a workaround exists by mounting the device as a shared folder.
Support for multiple CPUs (SMP) or multicore CPUs is built into VMWare Fusion. Fusion also allows the user to assign up to eight CPUs to one virtual machine to gain additional performance for CPU-intensive workloads.
Portability. Virtual machines created with VMware Fusion can be used with other VMware products and vice versa, and are compatible with other VMware virtual appliances.
VMware Fusion 7.0 was released as a paid upgrade on September 3, 2014. Some new features in this release include:
- Designed for OS X Yosemite
- Advanced Haswell processor features, including AVX2 inside a virtual machine
- A new virtual webcam, making it easier than ever to use your webcam with Windows applications
- An updated, virtual USB controller with support for XHCI 1.0
- A new approach to video memory that enables the VRAM limit to be specified per virtual machine. The amount of VRAM configured is not limited by the VRAM available to the host.
- The ability to specify a preference for the integrated or discrete GPU On recent Mac Book Pros that contain both GPUs, this can result in increased battery life for lightly used virtual machines.