VMware Fusion 7 Pro brings a lot of new stuff to the table. For me, the most important new features are:

New virtual hardware

New virtual hardware version, with support for the advanced Haswell processor features (AVX2) for better performance with multimedia, encryption and decryption tasks, a new virtual webcam, an updated virtual USB3.0 controller and the ability to assign up to 2GB of vRAM to the virtual graphics card.

Power Management

A lot of power management improvements, such as the ability to specify a preference for the integrated or discrete GPU on selected Macs, enhanced App Napp support, reducing the number of wake-ups for lightly used VMs by over 60%.

Connect to VMs remotely

But most importantly, Fusion can now connect to instances of VMware Workstation, vSphere and ESXi in order to access VMs running on those platforms. This features allows Mac users to interact with the console (screen, keyboard, mouse), attach ISO media files (including those on your Mac), power and network control and drag ‘n’ drop support for uploading VMs to and downloading VMs from those remote locations.

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Now, this is not officially a feature to work around accessing virtual hardware 10 VMs on vSphere without the Web Client, since vSphere 5.5 Update 2 includes an updated vSphere Client to do just that (go here and look for the text Unable to edit settings for virtual machines with hardware version 10 using the vSphere client).

It’s really because you don’t want, need or can run all of your VMs on you Mac at all times. This feature allows the user to leverage existing Workstation, vSphere or free ESXi to run VMs instead of locally on the Mac. Running VMs locally will impact battery life, and while the Fusion team made a major effort to minimize the impact on battery life, it’s still better to run the VM remotely to improve battery life.

I’ve been using this feature to connect to the console of my VM on Ze Klauwd, and it works beautifully, although I had to connect directly to the ESXi-host; connecting to the vCenter Appliance didn’t work with ‘security error connecting to server’.

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I’ve been able to change some settings of my VM, open the console, create snapshots, download a VM, and more. Check out the screenshots for reference:

Concluding

I think it’s brilliant that Fusion’s moving closer and closer into the Workstation arena with this release. As a former-but-still-occasional Windows user, I think the feature to connect to Workstation, vSphere and ESXi VMs is very usable. In fact, my monster laptop (Dell Precision M4600 with 32GB of RAM, decent processor and loads of SSD storage) is way to heavy to take with me every day. As a result, the beast is just sitting there in it’s docking station on my desk at home. Now, I can leave the monster and all of my VMs running and use my MacBook Air and Fusion to interact with my home lab!

There’s always room for improvement, though. One obvious improvement would be to allow Fusion to connect to vCenter, although I’m not certain this issue is vCenter itself, or the fact that I’m lazy and use self-signed certificates on this vCenter instance.

Update: it seems Fusion will actually connect to vCenter without issue, even when using self-signed certificates. My specific issues are caused because vCenter is in a different network, behind a firewall and VPN. I did have to add the self-signed certificates to my Mac OS Keychain, though.