To provide Windows applications to users of Apple Macintosh systems, two basic approaches are available. They can either access cloud services that have been specifically designed to allow them to interact with Windows applications or they can run a local instance of Windows on their local Apple Macintosh system.
Depending on the frequency and unique attributes of the Windows application being used, running Windows on top of a virtual machine deployed on an Apple Macintosh is becoming a more popular option, especially as the underlying Intel processor capabilities of the Apple Macintosh system continue to get more robust.
In addition to being optimized for a new generation of Intel Haswell processors, new versions of the Fusion virtualization platform for Apple Macintosh systems that were released this week by VMware also include support for Windows 8.1, along with the ability to create as many as 16 virtual CPUs across 8TB of virtual disk space, and up to 64 GB of memory.
Perhaps just as importantly, the new versions of Fusion include a new user interface that promises to make managing virtualization on an Apple Macintosh simpler. The new UI gives users more granular control over how system resources are allocated. In addition, Fusion Professional 6 includes tools that allow IT organizations to restrict the number of virtual machines a user can create, limit the environment to one virtual machine, link virtual machine clones to limit disk space consumption, and even define when virtual machines should expire.
According to Nicolas Rochard, group product marketing manager at VMware, one of the biggest challenges with running Windows on Macintosh systems is that end users often allocate too much of the system’s resources to the Windows environment, which in turn winds up starving Macintosh applications of system resources. By giving both end users and IT organizations more granular control of the environment, Rochard says it becomes much simpler to ensure both a quality Windows and Macintosh experience.
Like it or not, Apple Macintosh systems are now all over the enterprise. In fact, they may be the only class of PC that is actually gaining in terms of overall systems shipped. That may create some unwelcome challenges in terms of having to manage both Windows and Macintosh systems. But the good news is that with each passing day, the tools for doing that get better. As the number of users needing to access both environments continues to create a market that vendors find lucrative enough to invest in, new products and services should make the life of the average IT administrator a little easier in a world where the IT environment has never been more diverse.