For all of you out there who use virtualisation on their Windows and Mac laptops, VMware released their new versions today. Both products, VMware Fusion v4 (actually, v4.01) and VMware Workstation v8 are available for download and purchase starting today

The new versions of course offer a list of new features. Here’s what’s new per release, taken from the release notes:

VMware Fusion 4:

New Installation Experience

VMware Fusion is now installed by dragging and dropping to the Applications folder. Users of older versions can upgrade using the included utility. VMware Fusion can be uninstalled by quitting the application and dragging it to the trash.

New User Interface

VMware Fusion includes a new user interface designed to maximize screen space dedicated to running virtual machines. By keeping the interface minimal, we have improved user productivity for Windows applications. It is now more consistent with the overall Mac desktop experience than previous versions of VMware Fusion.

The new user interface includes the following key features.

  • The Single-window experience is optimized around each running virtual machine, keeping related options and settings together. A new collapsible toolbar provides quick access to common virtual machine actions including switching networks, connecting and disconnecting devices, and sharing options. The Control-Alt-Delete key combination is now available as a menu button.
  • The Virtual Machine Library Welcome screen has been refreshed to make it easier to get up and running quickly.
  • The Virtual Machine Library is updated with thumbnails of virtual machine desktops and shortcuts to common activities.
  • The Settings have been redesigned to make it easier to perform common tasks. New settings subsections for Compatibility, Default Applications and Startup Disk are included.
  • The Snapshot viewer provides powerful new features for working with snapshots using a timeline-based view, inspired by Time Machine.

Designed for Lion

VMware Fusion 4 is designed for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and includes support for using Mission Control to switch between Mac and Windows applications. Support for Spaces and Exposé has also been improved to make it easier to switch between applications.

Mac OS X Lion and Mac OS X Lion Server are now supported as guest operating systems. Mac OS X Lion can be installed by dragging the Lion installer icon to the virtual machine wizard.

Virtual Hardware Improvements

As always, VMware continues to improve our virtual hardware performance and capabilities. You must upgrade the hardware version of your existing VMs or create a new VM in order to get the best features and performance from your virtual machines. Upgrade the hardware version of your virtual machine from the new virtual machine settings page under Compatibility.

An HD Audio device is available for Windows Vista and Windows 7 guests. The new HD Audio device takes advantage of the latest sound drivers provided with Windows and produces high sound quality even under heavy load.

Bluetooth devices on the host can now be shared with Windows guests. Bluetooth devices, such as a Bluetooth phone, are paired to either the host system or to a Windows virtual machine. VMware does not recommend pairing Bluetooth audio devices, such as headphones, or Bluetooth input devices, such as keyboards and mice to a guest.

Link-state propagation enables applications to seamlessly communicate when using NAT-based networking even when moving between networks. For example, communication between applications will continue seamlessly when you move from a wired network to a wireless network.

Our graphics team continues to improve rendering correctness and to tune our graphics drivers. VMware Fusion 4 is up to 2.5 times faster than VMware Fusion 3 for some 3D operations. Improved support for AutoCAD, SolidWorks and Altium Designer on Windows XP and Windows 7 is also included.

Encrypted Virtual Machines

Fusion now enables security best practices by providing virtual disk encryption using industry-standard AES-128. Encryption can require a per-virtual-machine password whenever the virtual machine is powered on.

Pause State for Virtual Machines

The new Pause state suspends the virtual machine while retaining the in-memory state. This state can be useful when system resources will temporarily be taxed and the guest virtual machine is not immediately needed.

Remote CD and DVD Drives

Remote CD and DVD drives shared from another Windows PC or Mac are supported for installing operating systems on virtual machines.

Shrinking Disks with Snapshots

VMware Fusion now supports shrinking virtual disks without the need to remove the snapshots first. Shrinking virtual disks without removing snapshots allows users to maintain their virtual machines and reclaim disk space more easily than in previous releases of VMware Fusion. Look for the new virtual machine clean up capability under the General section of the virtual machine settings.

Mirrored Folders

Downloads and Movies folders are now mirrored from the Mac.

OVF Support

Support for creating OVF-format virtual machines is provided by the standalone OVF tool. This tool is available for download from:

Other Technical Changes

VMware Fusion 4 is now 64-bit throughout. In addition, services and kernel extensions are loaded and unloaded on-demand. The application can now be run from non-standard folder locations. The PC Migration Wizard has been updated to provide even faster migration.

VMware Workstation 8:

Installation Changes and Enhanced Keyboards

The hardware requirements to install this version of Workstation have changed. Workstation now requires a relatively modern 64-bit CPU. See Installation Requirements for details.

The keyboard filter driver is no longer installed by default. When the driver is not installed, the enhanced keyboard functionality is unavailable and you must press Ctrl-Alt-Ins instead of Ctrl-Alt-Del to send a Ctrl-Alt-Del keystroke to the guest. To use the enhanced keyboard functionality, you must perform a custom installation and select the component. If you select the component, you must reboot whenever you install or uninstall Workstation.

Virtual Hardware Improvements

This version of Workstation includes many hardware improvements. To try new hardware features, you must upgrade the hardware version of your virtual machine or create a new virtual machine that uses the latest virtual hardware version.

  • The display technology has been changed to provide a better experience for Unity users and users who have multiple monitors. These changes also allow you to add a projector to your laptop without restarting your virtual machine.
  • Virtual machines can now support up to 64GB of memory. The host system should have more than 64GB of memory to use this feature.
  • An HD Audio device is available for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2008, and Windows 2008 R2 guests. The HD Audio device is compatible with the RealTek ALC888 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio Codec.
  • USB 3.0 support is available for Linux guests running kernel version 2.6.35 or later (Ubuntu 10.10) through a new virtual xHCI USB controller. To enable this feature, add the following line to the .vmx file: usb_xhci.present = “true”. Do not enable this feature for Windows guests. Because Windows does not currently have a generic xHCI driver, this feature will not work in Windows.
  • Bluetooth devices on the host can now be shared with Windows guests. With the latest hardware version, Bluetooth devices that are paired to the host system radio are available to Windows guests and can be paired from within the guest. You should not pair Bluetooth audio devices, such as headphones, or Bluetooth input devices, such as keyboards and mice, to a guest.
  • You can now enable Virtual VT-X/EPT or AMD-V/RVI in the processor settings interface. With this feature, applications running in a guest can take advantage of these virtualization technologies. You can also run 64-bit guest operating systems inside of vSphere running inside Workstation.

New User Interface

  • The Workstation user interface has been updated to include new menus, toolbars, and an improved preferences screen.
  • The favorites sidebar has been replaced with a virtual machine library. Instead of identifying every virtual machine created in Workstation as a favorite, the library is a comprehensive list of all of the virtual machines that Workstation users create, open, or access.
  • A new folder summary page helps you to better manage a group of related virtual machines. Live thumbnails make it easy to see what is happening in running virtual machines.
  • The full screen toolbar has been updated so that you can do more without having to leave full screen mode. Quick switch mode is no longer needed.

What Happened to Teams?

  • Although at first it might appear that the teams feature has been removed, you can add team attributes to any virtual machine in this version of Workstation.
  • The team structure has been converted to a simple folder of virtual machines.
  • A new advanced settings dialog box has been added for network adapters to let you throttle the bandwidth of incoming and outgoing transmissions and simulate packet loss.
  • You can perform power operations on several virtual machines at the same time by selecting virtual machines on the folder tab and pressing the power button on the toolbar. If all of the virtual machines in a folder are in the same power state, you can select the folder to perform a power operation on all of the virtual machines in the folder.
  • You use a global Workstation preference to configure the delay between powering on virtual machines.
  • To implement LAN segments, you can use traditional VMnets or put all of the virtual machines that you want to communicate on the same custom VMnet.

Shared Virtual Machines and AutoStart

You can share virtual machines with remote users in this version of Workstation. A shared virtual machine can be accessed remotely by other instances of Workstation. Workstation moves virtual machines to the shared virtual machines folder, where the VMware Host Agent service manages them. The VMware Host Agent service is used by other VMware products, including VMware Server and vSphere, and provides additional capabilities required by professional users. An extensive permissions interface lets you control the users who can access and use shared virtual machines.

You can use the new AutoStart feature to configure shared virtual machines to start with the host system. You can also configure AutoStart for shared virtual machines on remote hosts running Workstation and ESX 4.x and later.

Remote Connections

In this version of Workstation, you are no longer constrained to working only with virtual machines that your computer has enough power to run. You can use the new Connect to Server feature to connect to remote hosts running Workstation, ESX 4.x and later, and VMware vCenter Server. After connecting to a remote host, all of the virtual machines that you have permission to access are displayed in the virtual machine library.

Upload to ESX/ESXi and vCenter Server

VMware OVF Tool is now integrated with Workstation so that you can upload a virtual machine from Workstation to a remote server running ESX, ESXi, or vCenter Server. After connecting to a remote server, you drag the virtual machine from the local My Computer section of the virtual machine library to the remote server. A wizard walks you through the process.

So, check out the new versions today!