Mac users gain a free ‘player’ version of VMware Fusion for personal use, while both products gain support for Kubernetes clusters, allowing users to run multiple app containers at once in specialised 'nodes'. Support for Windows DirectX 11 apps and games has also been added to virtual machines.
Both products also gain the ability to run, build, push or pull OCI containers using VMware’s command-line vctl tool alongside the added support for Kubernetes.
Both Workstation and Fusion virtual machines are also now capable of supporting up to 32 virtual CPUs, 128GB RAM and 8GB VRAM. They also come with the usual tweaks to improve performance (particularly in the fields of VM operations and file transfers), plus added support for virtual USB 3.1 devices.
VM Workstation can now co-exist happily with Hyper-V mode in the latest (2004) build of Windows 10. Linux hosts gain support for the Vulkan Rendering Engine on PCs running integrated Intel GPUs.
Workstation users also gain a new Dark Mode feature that seamlessly integrates with the host’s dark mode settings in Windows 10. Guests also gain support for the latest Windows 10 and major Linux OS updates.
The chief highlight for home Mac users is clearly the addition of VM Fusion Player, a free entry-level version of Fusion for personal use that supports the creation and deployment of VMs, containers, and Kubernetes clusters.
Fusion Player and Pro both now support eGPUs, allowing Mac users with external graphics to offload graphics rendering to these devices as opposed to their Mac’s built-in graphics solution. They also now support APFS support for installing Mac guests via the recovery partition, and will support macOS 11.0 Big Sur on its release.
VM Fusion Player 12.0 and VM Workstation Player 16.0 are available now as free-for-personal-use downloads for Mac and Windows/Linux respectively. Registration is required before downloading, and commercial licenses cost $149 ($79 upgrade) for the Player version, or $199 ($99 upgrade) for a more fully featured Pro license, which can also be used across three machines.