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Mikero
Community Manager
Community Manager

Shared VMs are back in Workstation 16.1

In case folks missed it in the release notes:

(it could have been worded better... we brought the UI back for this feature and have not removed the binaries for hostd.exe, that's the 'present form' which will remain for the rest of v16's life)

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Workstation-Pro/16.1.0/rn/VMware-Workstation-1610-Pro-Release-Note... 

Product Support Notices

  • Deprecation of the Shared virtual machine feature
    The Shared virtual machine feature (VMware Workstation as server) is being deprecated. It will remain in its present form for the remainder of the VMware Workstation 16 product life. This feature will be not available in a future release.
-
Michael Roy - Product Marketing Engineer: Fusion & Workstation
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bjtimmy
Contributor
Contributor

Hi Tomas,

I don't know if it still works, but some years ago we used the Powershell-Module of VMware and the windows built in task management tools to start up VMs automatically.

If it still works, you'll easily find them using Dr. Google. As far as I remember you even can start up specific snapshots.in case you want to automate a test lab, as we did then.

Nevertheless it's a shame to drop such a useful feature. But maintenance has its price, and VMware thought the revenue was to low for that. The alternative would be to pay for features. What would you (and I) pay?

Greetings

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wila
Immortal
Immortal

Hi Tomas,

Sadly I can not provide vimarun for free.

However I can give you tips if you want to script autostart yourself.
Easiest way to do so from the task scheduler is to use vmrun (which is part of VIX which nowadays comes preinstalled with Workstation 16.x)

Add that to your tasks/schedule along with the .vmx of the VM you want to auto start.
Note however that if you start the VM before logging in that it will come up with a black screen after login. That you can "fix" by suspending the VM and then resuming it again.

Vimarun takes care of all that, including also handling to suspend your VM's when the host computer shuts down/reboots.

For autoconnect USB devices.. that hasn't worked with shared VM's in a long time as shared VM's did not have access to USB devices, see http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2005585

The limitations of the knowledge base article are not vimarun's limitations 😉

You can configure autoconnect USB devices in the workstation GUI.

Configure USB Device Connection Behavior and Delete the Connection Rule for a Specific USB Device

hope this helps,
--
Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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scott_toe
Contributor
Contributor

Just to throw in my 2 cents.  I've stayed on Workstation 15 seeing all the commotion around the shared VM feature.  I've used Workstation since probably v 2 or 3 and its always had features that made paying for it worth the money.  VM Workstation still has features others don't have but the removal of the shared VM functions has me looking at alternatives in a serious way (for the first time).  Win 10 Hyper-V so far seems to work pretty well and has the automatic start/stop feature built in.  I don't necessarily need the remote console part for my use cases.  I'll likely just keep Workstation 15 going for as long as it is viable and then move to Hyper-V.  I don't see a reason to pay the cost for Workstation Pro that has had features removed (without a corresponding reduction in price) then buy a tool for extra money to add the start/stop automation (or write it myself) when I can just turn on Hyper-V and get all of that for free.

Seems like a major self-inflicted wound for VMware to give this use case to Microsoft but maybe they just don't care about Workstation anymore.  That has some implications for what will happen with it in the future (aka what else will be removed from it) so I may as well go with a product from a vendor that is still interested in that product.

djdave238
Contributor
Contributor

This was a suicidal move by VMWare.

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Mikero
Community Manager
Community Manager

Sometimes we don't have much choice, ya know?

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Michael Roy - Product Marketing Engineer: Fusion & Workstation
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SBCactus
Contributor
Contributor

Yup, totally understand, I think there was a communication breakdown on this one or misunderstanding of the user community but that does happen; thanks for letting us know as much as possible.

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xSilverTom
Contributor
Contributor

Strange. I thought that Product Management are the people who makes such choices. Might be worse corpo inability then I thought.

Thankfully we, as users, DO have choice nowadays.
VMWare is not the only hypervisor on the market, and besides paid versions there are even open-source solutions.

Think twice next time. As ripping of features from products might not be to your benefit.

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SBCactus
Contributor
Contributor

In case anyone is checking this still, it looks like this is back in v17! Thanks VMware team!

SBCactus_0-1670951316216.png

 

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ajames_swoop
Contributor
Contributor

Looks like thats only auto start, cannot find shared access anywhere 😞 

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PTOpEnEu
Contributor
Contributor

With the capability of auto start being brought back to v17 - is it on any roadmap to bring back shared VMs to workstation as well? My team has been holding onto 16.1.2 with the function for as long as possible for the 50+ workstations that need it, but if there is no possibility of this function returning, should we find another product to fill the need? Our need consists of utilizing the remote connection abilities from shared VMs to communicate with headless workstations. Our VMs do not have great support for other hypervisors but only work well with the VMware tools set.

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wila
Immortal
Immortal

Hi,

Your question is more one for VMware and I really doubt you're going to get an answer from them on this.

Two things to consider here.
1. Use VMware vSphere / ESXi. It has all the feature you want from Workstation. Well almost as it doesn't run on top of Windows / Linux.

2. The VMware VNC connection. There is a way to connect remotely to VM's using VNC. See https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Workstation-Pro/17/com.vmware.ws.using.doc/GUID-C387CBCE-71B4-48AA... I know it is a far cry from the old native support for shared VM's, but it does give you the possibility to remotely access ANY VM without having to install software in it.

Hope this helps,

--
Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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