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Parallels Desktop 6 - Fusion's future

With Parallels Desktop 6 coming September 14th, I was wondering what's in store for Fusion. Is a new version coming out to compete with Parallels Desktop 6?

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Champion
Champion

This question comes up every time a new version of Parallels comes out. VMWare, as a division of a publically traded company, has a policy of not commenting about future releases or versions. It causes all sorts of accounting/legal issues. We'll know that 4's coming when the public beta begins.

And for the other questions that are sure to follow. Each vendors leapfrogs the other, then the first does the same. Both products are pretty good (I'd argue Fusion is excellent), but are based on fundamentally different architecture, and have slightly different targeted users.

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I'd be interested to know what you see the different targeted users to be. I was a long-time Fusion user, since the early days, until I switched over to Parallels because of the performance issues of Fusion. This was many months ago, and I don't see that VMWare has fixed those problems or really moved on much in terms of newer versions. I'm very happy with Parallels - it is just as stable as Fusion, in my experience, while being significantly faster and smoother, with better and more intuitive and more customizable integration into the host OS. In fact, I cannot see a single disadvantage of not using Fusion any more, and a plethora of advantages to Parallels - and I have not yet tried the latest version of Parallels yet (6). (My opinion might change if that version sucks, of course.)

It seems to me that Fusion is falling behind Parallels in terms of development. This is understandable - VMWare is a much bigger company with lots more areas of interest, and Fusion is a relatively minor sideline. For the developers of Parallels, also called Parallels, Parallels is their biggest and most important (and I'd guess lucrative) area of development.

I'd also be interested to know which application most users new to the idea of running Windows and Mac OS together have chosen over the last six months. The bottom line is that if Parallels is getting most of the new sales, then Fusion's future is under threat. I could see VMWare pulling the plug on it and moving all the developers to other projects if it's not making money and game-changing would cost too much in terms of new development. Fusion has always been a bit of an ugly duckling for VMware, hasn't it?

It would be a shame - I want both to succeed, if only because that keeps everyone competitive.

All this is idle speculation, I realize.

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Champion
Champion

For me, parallels is focused more on consumers, and VMWare more on professional use. Tight integration with the host (e.g. unity) is a bigger deal for the former than the latter, so is gaming. Stability and sandboxing are more important for the latter. Performance is an issue for both.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I have used both and I find I like Fusion better. Not due to speed or anything else other than the philosophy of its integration and stability. Parallels does a great job at making the windows program look like it is a MAC; that is nice but I found that I really missed the feel of Fusion. If you recall at the end of the 2.x/3.0 life cycle, there was a period of time last year that Fusion just become too unstable to use but once the program was updated, I came back and do not regret it.

In my use, I use windows for a very specific purpose and once I am done, the VM is shut down and I go on with the mac world. I do beleive that everyone looking at each of these two products should try both and choose the one that meets their expectations for how a virtual environment works for me. I know that I have no desire to try Parallels 6 unless Fusion becomes so unstable that it is unusable.

JAT

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The OPs question is a good one for an additional reason: the upgrade price of $9.99 makes the 12 month subscription more feasible. But is the subscription worth it? I have Parallels 5 and Fusion 2, and wonder if now is a good time to get the subscription in the hope that VMWare will respond with a new version to compete with Parallels 6. Does anyone have any insight into VMWare's development cycle for Fusion?

EDIT: I found a thread that discusses updates from Fusion 1 through 3.0. When was 3.1 released?

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Champion
Champion

I suspect, and this is based on no inside information, that we might be able to read something into the discount timeline. It ends at the end of the year. I strongly doubt we'll see Fusion 4 before then. Best guess is Q1 next year.

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Fusion 3.1 was released 25 May, 2010. Version 3.1.1 was released 13 August, 2010. Hope this helps.

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Try wiki vmware fusion for insight into release cycles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VMware_Fusion

I went ahead and cross-graded with one year subscription and paid for one technical support phone call which was long and disappointing and did not result in a useful answer in the slightest.

In the end, I had to give up on tech support and finally 36 hours after my first call I figured out how to install Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard and a Guest OS in VMware Fusion .... the solution is ironic and easy and it apparent to me to be the only way to do this is to start with a Parallels VM of Snow Leopard Server - Copy to the VMware environment ( A different machine than Parallels ). Then import the VM. It went thru seamlessly for me - very ironic in my opinion and VMware tech support couldn't give me any method even after an hour on my machine .... Parallel Snow LeopardServer VM to VMware Fusion Snow Leopard Server VM.

I am now testing for stability and resource use.

It is my opinion that both Parallels, Inc. and VMware, Inc. need to find a way to provide and sell "expert" level support for those like me who know what we are doing most of the time but get stuck with issues in real business situations that require solutions in a matter of a couple hours - not days or weeks.

My reason for testing VMWare Fusion is not because I dislike Parallels Desktop 5 ..... I use it everyday 24/365 .... but because tech support on the Parallels side is useless at Tier 1 ( I am always teaching them ) and slow at Tier 2 ( Often many days to any useful information). And this is when I am paying for phone support. Now don't get me wrong, the phone support is actually priced cheap..... but it is also very slow at best 90% of the time for my issues.

I don't mind paying for tech support but I cannot weather a day or week of uncertainty over what is often a bug in the virtualization framework....

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Immortal
Immortal

It is my opinion that both Parallels, Inc. and VMware, Inc. need to find a way to provide and sell "expert" level support for those like me who know what we are doing most of the time but get stuck with issues in real business situations that require solutions in a matter of a couple hours - not days or weeks.

As a developer, I can tell you this is a problem in the software industry in general, especially with the mind-numbing experience of having to get through script-based L1/L2 support teams. Usually the volunteer experts here can cut through that noise. For other issues that require inside knowledge or paid-professional services/consulting for argueably a consumer product, that shows the gaps in the current market offerings. I just made an argument for ESX on Apple hardware Smiley Happy

My reason for testing VMWare Fusion is not because I dislike Parallels Desktop 5 ..... I use it everyday 24/365 .... but because tech support on the Parallels side is useless at Tier 1 ( I am always teaching them ) and slow at Tier 2 ( Often many days to any useful information). And this is when I am paying for phone support. Now don't get me wrong, the phone support is actually priced cheap..... but it is also very slow at best 90% of the time for my issues.

I don't mind paying for tech support but I cannot weather a day or week of uncertainty over what is often a bug in the virtualization framework....

And you did too!

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You are right, of course..... There a need to ESX "light" for those that don't have $50,000 for virtualization but are moving that way.....

There is a vast gap between Parallels Desk/VMware FUsion and ESX..... at least that's what I think is the problem....

I'm willing to live in the gap if I can get reasonable tech support....

Terry

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My issue with Parallels was stability. They appear to use their paying customers as beta testers, and each new release of Parallels I've tried had numerous and annoying bugs that would lock up my entire Mac. In addition, their performance for disk I/O on Linux virtual machines was atrocious, and since I develop for Linux that was a show-stopper. I ended up buying Fusion in order to do the Linux stuff without crashing my Mac all the time, and doing Windows on Fusion is "good enough" for my purposes (which is to run Microsoft Office for Office docs that OpenOffice won't open correctly, and running IE for the occasional web site that simply won't work on anything else). It is true that Parallels has better Windows performance, especially on 3D graphics. But for gaming performance, there's always Boot Camp, so... (shrug). Now that I'm developing Linux VM's for ESXi, Fusion is even more appropriate for my use, since now I can do the complete VM install, development, and testing on my Mac and then deploy using VMware Converter to the test ESXi server.

In other words, for professional workloads, VMware is the professional choice. If I was a consumer who just wanted to run Windows, I'd buy Parallels again in a heartbeat. But I'm not.

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I hear a lot on these forums about stability with Parallels, and the poor tech support over at Parallels. I switched to Parallels nearly a year ago, and before that, I was a long time user of Fusion. The truth is, I have never had stability issues with either Parallels or Fusion. But when I used Fusion, I had to come on these forums quite a lot to get technical help with problems. Once I switched to Parallels, I simply have never had to go to Parallels for tech help on their forums or via a ticket. Not once. And I'd consider myself a power user. I have a second NTFS partition on my system that is mounted as a RAW partition in Parallels (had this on Fusion too) and all my data is there, about 150GB. So all my apps on the Mac side access my data by going through the share with parallels (or Fusion when I was using it) to get to the NTFS partition. I have this setup because I still use many Windows apps and I sync my data with other Windows machines in a cloud (yes using a Windows app on the Mac). Had many issues setting this up with Fusion. None whatsoever setting it up with Parallels. To be sure, part of this was due to having more experience when I came to set it up with Parallels, but still, it was a lot easier and I never had issues.

I haven't tried Parallels 6 yet.

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-- removed because my question was answered --

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Here is my first 36 hours with VMware fusion...... this round....

http://communities.vmware.com/message/1611886#1611886

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Champion
Champion

I'll just say, Ditto Smiley Happy

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Community Manager
Community Manager

tjsoftworks, please check your Private Messages for something one of my colleagues sent you regarding your issue.

Also, to get you the best help, it's preferred that you start your own, new thread as opposed to posting on other threads which are unrelated to the problem you're actually having.

Thanks 😃

- Michael Roy - Product Line Manager: Fusion & Workstation
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Hi Mikero,

Sorry for going "astray" on the thread.... Because we were doing a comparision with Parallels and because I am in my first couple days of VMware fusion and I know Parallels well..... in most ways I was just continuing the thread in my mind.....

In particular since that only way I could install a Mac OS X Server on VMWare Fusion was with an import Parallels VM.

Sorry if it feels I went astray though.....

Terry

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

If I'm not mistaken then version 3 was released October/November 2009. All the other ones were dot releases and just to improve certain items, consider them releases to add items that had to be dropped from the version 3 release due to time constraints. Going from that point, a version 4 release should be coming around the corner.

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Champion
Champion

I'd argue that 3.1 could have been called 4.0, given the amount of internal replumbing. Best guess is that we won't see 4 until Q1 next year, after the discounted purchase program expires.

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