VMware has sort of announced a hypervisor for Arm processors, or at least one of them: Apple’s M1 system-on-a-chip.
Michael Roy, who oversees VMware’s Fusion and Workstation desktop hypervisors, took to Twitter to announce that Fusion for M1 is now a closed technology preview.
We’re not taking _everyone_ at this time, but you can submit a membership request here: https://t.co/udQsATVuFA
The full public TP drops in about 2 weeks!
– Michael Roy (@mikeroySoft) September 8, 2021
Later tweets from Roy suggest that a public technical preview will follow in a few weeks. If VMware stays true to form, the product will be real by the end of the year – maybe even early October at the VMworld gabfest, where new versions of VMware’s desktop hypervisors have often been released.
Roy answered a few questions about Fusion’s functionality for M1 and revealed:
- Windows 10 will work, but Fusion will ship without drivers and VMware Tools, and will not be supported because Microsoft does not currently sell Windows 10 Arm licenses for virtual machines.
- It won’t run macOS 12 virtual machines. “We have to use a completely different set of APIs, and that breaks ESXi compatibility,” Roy wrote.
- Support for GPU-equipped virtual machines is on the development roadmap. For now, Ubuntu virtual machines can only do 3D with graphics on CPU.
- Connections to VMs on other VMware hypervisors on other architectures will be possible.
Whenever Fusion for M1 arrives, it has competition in the form of Parallels Desktop which, as we wrote last month, does a pretty good job running Windows 10 on Apple silicon.
VMware has two other efforts to bring its flagship ESXi hypervisor to Silicon Arm. One is the “fling” that works on devices, including the Raspberry Pi. The other is Project Monterey – an effort to make ESXi work on accelerator boards.
Virtzilla believes this latest effort has the potential to create a new standard for data center architecture in which processor cores are relieved of the need to do maintenance work like running network traffic. Intel agrees and has made shifting these tasks to accelerator boards a feature of its upcoming Sapphire Rapids Xeon server processor.
Figuring out how to make it all work is now the job of Kit Colbert, who was promoted today to VMware’s CTO.
Colbert was previously CTO of VMware Cloud and also held positions spanning Cloud Native Application Development, End User Computing and was the Technical Lead for the vMotion Workload Teleportation Technology. business. He replaces Greg Lavender, who took over from former VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Intel. ®