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Jolt Awards: The Best Programming Utilities

, July 29, 2013 The top utilities that solve annoying development problems.
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Jolt Award: VMware Workstation 9.0

VMware has become such a powerhouse vendor in IT — and the commercial parent of the the virtualization revolution that has brought us the cloud — that it's hard to remember that it started out, years ago, as a developer utility vendor. The early versions of VMware Workstation were sold to programming teams to use as porting verification tools that could be run on the developer workstation. Only later did the IT implications of hosting virtual machines become apparent, and then the juggernaut was born.

The recent releases of VMware Workstation show convincingly that the company has not forgotten its developer roots. For a while, the product has had the ability to capture and log all events in the VM, then play them back. This is a really useful feature when trying to track down hard-to-duplicate bugs or unexpected anomalies. VMware Workstation 9.0 enables you to more easily save VMs and share them with other teams. They can be sent as encrypted and locked VMs, or they can stay hosted and you can simply use the browser to access them remotely via a Web interface (even if the VM is not running a Web app). This newest version adds enhanced support for hardware and new OSs such as Windows 8. It also now offers OpenGL support on Linux.

Finally, Workstation has deeper integration with cloud deployment. As shown in the image, it's easy to set up entire configurations of VMs including clients, servers, and all the supporting infrastructure on a single machine and transition those VMs to production using Cloud Foundry containers. Integration with Visual Studio and Eclipse makes this strategy of local test and deploy easier to accomplish than at any previous time.

VMware Workstation has won Jolt Awards in the past, and it's clear from this latest release, that VMware still understands developer needs well and is committed to serving them.

— Andrew Binstock

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