and now both ship x86 processors with 64-bit extensions, a feature that makes it possible to easily accommodate more than 4GB of memory. Versions of Linux from Red Hat and Novell support the feature, Microsoft Windows is on the brink, and now is following suit.
The software, announced Monday, supports 64-bit versions of Red Hat'sand Novell's , including the latest versions of those products. The new VMware Workstation also has experimental support for 64-bit versions of and .
Additionally, VMware Workstation 5 includes experimental support for Sun Microsystems' Solaris 10 operating system.
The 64-bit support isn't complete, though. It works so far only for the operating system that hosts the virtual machines. In addition, Solaris is supported only as a virtual machine, VMware said.
Supporting more memory is useful for VMware users because running multiple virtual machines quickly consumes the perpetually scarce resource. Workstation 5, however, also introduces a memory-efficiency feature that letsin some situations.
XenSource, has an approach that's being extended ., a subsidiary of EMC, has had the market to itself for years but now faces competition from Microsoft's Virtual PC and Virtual Server products. And an open-source project called , backed by start-up
For servers, this virtual machine software is useful when running multiple tasks simultaneously. VMware Workstation, on the other hand, is useful for programming, technical support and training. For example, a programmer can use a single computer to develop software that in the real world will run on a combination of interacting computers.
The new version of VMware includes a feature called "Teams" that lets developers simulate slow or unreliable network connections among virtual computers.
It also adds the ability to take multiple "snapshots" of the virtual machine, letting a user revert back to any of previous states where a snapshot was taken. In addition, a template virtual machine can be stored and shared with other VMware users.
The software costs $189 to download and $199 for a boxed version.