VMware users make their wish lists

What features would warm the cockles of VMware users' hearts? VMware's VMTN Features Request board lays it out for anyone to see.

VMware users have hopes and dreams, listed in convenient fashion over at VMware's VMTN Feature Requests board from the VMware Technology Network. With Christmas less than a week away, this intrepid reporter wandered over to find out what they'd really like to see out of forthcoming product releases.

What follows are a just a few feature requests, but ones that have garnered significant interest, in the form of reads and responses.

Local SATA disk drive support for ESX

VMware ESX servers currently require "enterprise-class" SCSI drives, but several users would like to be able to use Serial ATA drives, especially for testing and evaluation purposes. Other virtualization platforms, including Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, XenSource XenEnterprise and VMware's own VMware Server and VMware Workstation, all support SATA, but so far, the company has remained mum on when it will drop its opposition to SATA for ESX.

According to users on the forum, some SATA RAID controllers based on LSI chipsets do work with ESX, but they are not supported by VMware.

Also on a storage note, VMware users would also like ESX support for virtual IDE disks. Virtual IDE support would enable compatibility between VMware Server and ESX, would simplify the physical-to-virtual (P2V) process, would enable VDI (virtual desktops) and could be useful when virtualizing legacy applications, users argue.

Linux VirtualCenter and Virtual Infrastructure Client

It may seem silly that a virtualization product that supports Linux guests can't be managed from Linux, but as of ESX 3.x and Virtual Infrastructure 3, that is the case. Whereas ESX 2.x users could manage VMs from an entirely Windows-free world, VirtualCenter 2.0 and Virtual Infrastructure Client were written in .NET and only run on Windows. VMware users have stated loud and clear that they'd like VMware to right this wrong and bring back the Linux management client.

Linux-only shops could theoretically use VI3's Web client, but the product suffers from some serious shortcomings. It is adequate for managing VMs, users say, but it can't be used to create them. Adding insult to injury, the Web console plug-in doesn't load on Linux users' preferred browser, Firefox, one user gripes.

Cross-platform drag-and-drop

Wouldn't it be great if you could cut and paste between Windows and Linux virtual machines? VMware users seem to think so. And lucky for them, it looks almost certain that VMware will grant their wish. The ability to drag/drop, cut/paste, etc. between different guest OSes is reportedly a feature in VMware Workstation 6 beta.

Expanded host and guest support

VMware Server and VMware Workstation currently run on either Linux or Windows, but VMware users want more -- notably Sun Solaris to go along with VMware-blessed SunFire X4600-style boxes and FreeBSD. Host support for Mac OS X is still in beta, in the form of VMware Fusion, a fancy name for VMware Workstation for Mac OS.

On the guest side, again, VMware aficionados would love to see FreeBSD support. Support for Solaris guests appears to have been delivered – or will be shortly. For Mac OS X guest support, talk to Apple.

Let us know what you think of this story; email Alex Barrett, News Director.

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