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.
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Michael Roy - PM/PMM: Fusion & Workstation
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15 Replies
wila
Leadership
Leadership

Thanks Mike!

--
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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lprent
Contributor
Contributor

I just downloaded the linux trial of workstation pro 16.1.0-17 and dropped on my kubuntu 20.04 test system. It come up on the 16.0 license that I briefly had on the day that I downgraded from 15.5 to 16.0 (I had to go back and downgrade my license .  Shows as a 16.1 installation.

It currently doesn't show a Manage / Shared option for the local test. I'm going to presume that I have to reboot this system to get sharing back (that will have to wait a while - there is a very long repo running).

Assuming that works, which after the wasted time with the last release reverting my windows laptop back to 15.5.x to get shared VMs back, how do I upgrade my downgraded license key from 15.5 to 16.x before I try this out on windows. 

Basically vmware appear to be useless at communicating crucial information about releases. On the 16.0 release it took me a while to burrow down to the short paragraph that said they're dropped shared VMs. On this 16.1 what they mean looks as deliberately deceitfully ambiguous as a US presidential press secretary. It certainly doesn't tell me what to expect to see after I trash a working development system downgrading to a later release.

I should really look at find time to get an alternate that doesn't waste my work time.

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wila
Leadership
Leadership

Hi,

I'm not vmware, but have a look at the other post from Mikero.

https://communities.vmware.com/t5/VMware-Workstation-Pro/Shared-VM-gone-in-workstation-16/m-p/281142...

That suggests that the feature is added back for Windows hosts only.

--
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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lprent
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks. Explains why it didn't appear after a reboot on linux. This time I'll fire up a test windows laptop when I'm next at work and test it before putting it on working hardware. As I pointed out - the level of comms incompetence is pretty awesome. That lack of detail is the kind of thing that can waste a day of my time.

Windows only I can live with. I usually run shared VMs from my windows company mandated laptop as it leaves the company code on the company hardware that has access to the vpn. I just access them using ssh, scp, nfs, samba or whatever else happens to be convenient at whatever linux desktop or laptop that I'm on.

Windows with vmware makes a pretty good portable NAS. Just RDP into it to do vmware maintenance and change passwords every 6 weeks and push code up to the server.

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wila
Leadership
Leadership

Hi,

No worries, I understand both the frustration and the need for this feature.
I am glad that VMware brought back the feature for this version as it was quite unexpected to see it disappear.

For a longer term solution I have worked on an alternative solution (vimarun - to be released next week), for the moment also windows only. Not exactly the same thing, but I think it will cover the need for most users. So far the feedback I got from my beta testers was positive.
So in the case that this feature really ends up getting axed forward then at least there's an alternative solution.

--
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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żarówka
Contributor
Contributor

Are they going to replace this with something or just remove it? I have not found any info on replacement but release notes only say that it will be removed in next releases. Then this will be quite expensive product for just VM running where there is builtin Hyper-V in windows. It's wired...

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JemAdler
Contributor
Contributor

@Mikero Could you or another Vmware staff explain why the Shared VM feature is being removed ?
Is it being misused ?
Is it because of vulnerabilities ?
Is there another reason ?

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Mikero
Community Manager
Community Manager

The feature is really expensive to maintain and there's a mountain of tech debt associated with it.

We essentially have a fork of the ESXi host manager ('hostd' for those following along at home), and keeping it in alignment with the upstream parent while ensuring it works for this use case is REALLY resource-intensive.

It made sense to implement things that way at the time, but things have diverged such that the bits our implementation uses are either being deprecated or dramatically changed in hostd itself (which itself only prioritizes vSphere).

If we don't remove it, it's going to break over time in unexpected ways, or it will take increasingly more resources to keep it 'just working' how it is today, which means a lot of other things can't get done.

That said, we do recognize the use case here and are hoping to put together this set of features without hostd.


It's never easy when you have competing priorities and limited eng. Stuff always falls below the line and we as PMs try to make the best decisions we can based on the data we have (which includes customer feedback). 

I will say tho... the outpouring of feedback on this issue has certainly raised our attention to the feature, so I'm hoping we can strike the right balance going forward.


 

 

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Michael Roy - PM/PMM: Fusion & Workstation
żarówka
Contributor
Contributor

Do you aim to get rid of VMware workstation PRO from your line? I guess this is major reason to use it over Hyper-V that is built-in within each and every windows that is also having powershell stuff within the OS. I'm not sure what could be these days use cases to maintain workstation PRO at all. You already have VMware player that can play VMs created from vSphere. I'm totally confused what is really direction for this product. To me removing key feature is something that will cause slow death of this producd and will force either to move to Hyper-V or those who are willing to pay for expensive vShpere. For most of desktop users i belive it means simply switch over to the Hyper-V, compaines using Workstation PRO it will mean that decision has to be taken, either vShpere or Hyper-V. So at least 50% of users will shift to non-VMware.

 

Any strategy for this product then? Any specific usecase?

ltorsini
Contributor
Contributor

Hi there Mikero,

Not good news, expensive or not this is one of the features I require in VMware.  Had I known it was going to be deprecated in this version and eventually removed I likely wouldn't have upgraded to 16.  I've noticed I can no longer share a VM, that option seems to be gone for me even though I can still access my shared VMs, how do I share a VM now?

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żarówka
Contributor
Contributor

Use either old version, switch to Hyper-V or pay milions for ESXi. I've switched to Hyper-V

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HenryK_09
Contributor
Contributor

Hello,

can you confirm that it works in the same way like in earlier versions? Are there any restrictions compared to V15.5.7?

During a short test on my colleagues PC we were not able to share a virtual machine, the corresponding command "Share ..." was not availabale in the contextmenu under "Manage" like in earlier version.

The reason why I ask is, I have already purchased a license for V16 (I was not aware that the feature was removed), and now I fear that I get some trouble with the version V16.x. Currently I use V12 on the system to be updated.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Henry

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żarówka
Contributor
Contributor

its makred as depricated and may disaapear in some minot release completely. I recommend to move to Hyper-V

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hwienck
Contributor
Contributor

if the "shared vm's" gone, the money for Workstation Pro-Licenses will also gone another way.
It was a good addition to our ESX-Farm for decentralized Virtualization on Laptop of our Process-Engineers.

But i will find another Solution for this 80 Guys.

It was a good time with vmware, but....

bye

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bjtimmy
Contributor
Contributor

With version 1.6.2 the feature has been omitted in the VM menu (not Share-Option).

That's a) not a break of the function, but a deliberate change b) a break of your promise to keep the function in Version 16.

The major function I need Shared VMs for is the delayed autostart and remote start and stop of VMs.
The remote access to the desktop is secondary.

So maybe you can implement this function at least in a fucture version on a proper base.

Without that, I can go and buy player licenses insted and use the API to start and stop VMs using windows tasks.

I use HyperV, too, but love VMware for it's easier handling of VMs.

If you don't think it's worth the effort, please understand that for <100 VMs in a development site this is a major  feature of a major product.

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