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First major VMware vSphere update expected shortly

A VMware vSphere 4 update is on the way, and users hope it will include full Windows 7 support, particularly for the vSphere Client.

VMware administrators about to upgrade to vSphere 4 might want to hold off a few weeks.

For more on VMware's VIC:
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VMware is set to release the first major update to vSphere 4 since it became generally available in May, according to admins who have been briefed by their VMware support engineers. Several VMware users said their engineers have recently told them to expect updates to vSphere 4 and vCenter by the end of October or possibly November.

"They admitted that there were some problems with the first release that would be fixed with the first update and that we should hold off until then," said an IT engineer at a large southwestern university.

As a rule, VMware does not preannounce updates.

"There won't be a press release," said Rick Vanover, an IT infrastructure manager at Alliance Data in Columbus, Ohio. "You'll just look at Update Manager, and it will be there."

But when it comes to update cycles, the company is predictable and tends to issue patches at the end of each month, Vanover said.

As it stands, you need to tweak the environment to get the vSphere Client to run on Windows 7.
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"It's kind of like with Windows: Every Tuesday you know to go look," he added. "Except they're not that defined yet."

This month was an exception, however, with VMware issuing a minor update earlier in the month. That could clear the way for a major update, Vanover speculated.

VMware declined to comment about the timing of the next vSphere 4 update.

Wanted: Full Windows 7 support
Exactly which features vSphere Update 1 will contain when it ships is unknown, but IT managers hope that full support for the newly released Windows 7 operating system will be one of them.

Administrators would like to be able to run Windows 7 as a guest and use Windows 7 as the underlying OS for the vSphere Client, the management interface (formerly known as the VIC) in which VMware admins spend much of their days.

As it stands, you need to tweak the environment to get the vSphere Client to run on Windows 7. And even though Windows 7 has been generally available only since last week, VMware administrators have been playing around with it since it was a release candidate. That's caused some grief among forward-thinking users that want to use Windows 7 as their desktop OS.

"Tech geeks are early adopters by nature," wrote Ben Vierck, the chief technology officer at Devfarm Software, a developer of utilities for VMware environments in St. Louis. "IT staff are tech geeks. VIC users are IT staff A = B = C = D, A = D QED last," Vierck explained syllogistically to relay IT staff concern about support for the vSphere Client on Windows.

Workstation 7 makes debut
As of today, VMware has full Windows 7 support in two of its products: VMware Workstation 7 and VMware Fusion 3, which are both now generally available. In Workstation 7, users can use Windows 7 as either the host or guest OS. With Fusion 3, which runs on Apple Mac OS, Windows 7 is a supported guest OS.

VMware Workstation 7 beta testers have used it to test Windows 7 desktop and applications, configure Windows 7 images and train employees on new Windows 7 features, said Mike Paiko, a VMware senior product marketing manager.

Other features in VMware Workstation 7 include support for virtual machines with up to four virtual CPUs and 32 GB of RAM, expanded three-dimensional graphics support, driverless printing, snapshot scheduling, and deeper Eclipse and SpringSource integrated development environments.

Both Workstation 7 and Fusion 3 are available for download from the VMware website.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Alex Barrett, News Director.

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