VMware gives its desktop hypervisors the power to spawn local K8s clusters

Fusion and Workstation just got rather more useful for containerised CI/CD pipelines - and also rather cheaper

VMware has announced new versions of its desktop hypervisors Workstation and Fusion.

The big addition is support for Kind, a project that runs local Kubernetes clusters using Docker container “nodes”. Doing so means it becomes possible to push containers into a local cluster for testing, then deploy elsewhere. VMware hopes this makes its desktop hypervisors more useful for developers working in CI/CD pipelines.

Support for vSphere 7 is no surprise but linking the desktop products to VMware’s flagship data centre suite means it will be possible to work with production VMs tended by Virtzilla’s latest and greatest effort.

Among other new features are support for DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1, USB 3.1 virtual devices and external GPUs. The next macOS release, Big Sur, is supported as a host and guest.

VMware has also harmonised the way it sells the two products. Fusion, which runs on macOS, previously offered a “Standard” and “Pro” edition, while Workstation offered a “Player” and “Pro” version. Fusion now matches the latter arrangement, with its Standard edition now a Player.

Workstation Player has been free for personal use for ages and Fusion Player will be too. Take that, VirtualBox and Hyper-V!

VMware’s also tweaked licensing so that a Pro licence for either product allows users to run it on three devices. The new licence even means a single key will work for Workstation or Fusion, within the three-device limit.

News of the desktop hypervisor updates is also a reminder of pre-COVID times, as VMware has for years updated Fusion and Workstation a week or two before its VMworld conference. VMworld 2020 was scheduled for August 30th, so updating the two products now maintains that tradition. But VMworld has been moved online and back a month to September 29th.

The Register expects further news of VMware’s march to Kubernetes to emerge at this year’s event, probably including further work to integrate the container-wrangler with vanilla vSphere instead of always requiring the more expansive Cloud Foundation suite. ®

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