VMware Workstation Player for all your OS sandboxing needs
April 08, 2019

VMware Workstation Player for all your OS sandboxing needs

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
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Verified User
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Overall Satisfaction with VMware Workstation Player (formerly VMware Player)

It is probably used more heavily in other groups (like for software testing and QA for example). In my case, I've used it mainly to run virtual machines that were built and shared. More specifically SAS University which is a free "light" version of SAS base. So I was using it as a form of software visualization tool where it allowed me to run a program that wasn't installed on my machine but rather "emulated". However, I know that this kind of tool and this one also, in particular, are very often used as sandboxes to test software installs and overall behavior.
You can install a piece of software on one of your virtual machines, do all sorts of testing and then if you must, restore the initial state at the click of a button.
  • Overall performance is great, the program feels light (and should be) when running a virtual machine.
  • The interface is really user friendly and you quickly get the hang of it.
  • Ability to go full screen is also really convenient but make sure to remember how to leave full screen!
  • Managing the VMs is not really handled (unless I used it wrong). If you have just a few VM available it's ok but keep in mind that you can't really regroup them. Using a naming convention is an easy way around the problem though.
  • I had occurrences where my VM was corrupted and the error message was mentioning the possibility of restoring the state but stating that it could corrupt the VM itself. I had to do it a couple of times over the last year and a half and never got any problems but this warning always scared the heck out of me. I wish VMware would be able to provide some more details on why this thing happens every once in a while and how to avoid it.
  • For me the benefit was really high as I could use a solution that had a free educational version with VMware player. Without it, I would've needed to buy the SAS software itself which would have cost a few thousand dollars.
  • Although I have no details about the ROI, I know that software testing teams that use the software are saving a lot of money buy using virtual machines. It is obviously a great saving both in physical machine count but also in workstation lab sizes.
I haven't used VirtualBox a lot but I didn't find it as intuitive as VMware workstation. The later was much more simple for me to use. The Oracle tool is free however so it is definitely something to take into consideration.
Also, VirtualBox needs you to get some additional packages depending on what you want to create/run as a VM. No big deal but you might be doing some tweaking before actually being ready to go as to with VMware, it's already part of it.
Finally, and I'd rather mention that my memory is a bit fuzzy about that but, VirtualBox seemed a little less optimal when it comes to running VMs. If true, it might have been my type of usage. I did not have an extended experience with VirtualBox so you should definitely try it for yourself.
Integration isn't really relevant here but I see this question more as an OS compatibility for the VM. They state that they support over 200 different OS versions. I honestly have never tried anything else other than Ubuntu and Windows myself but nonetheless, this is impressive. I have not hit any limitation in my use of this software in terms of limitation or conflicts with other software.
Great product. Its user-friendly GUI and overall performance are really the biggest strength of this tool. The reason why I don't give a higher note is because of the price. Although it's decent (starting at around $200 for a license), there is a good free alternative in VirtualBox. Not everyone values friendly GUI as something worth paying for. For people that are more tech-savvy, I would recommend looking into VirtualBox as they might actually like the model better (with downloadable add-ons and packages).
This is a standalone software so integration isn't really relevant. I only used it on Windows but never got any problem getting it installed and running. I expect that it is the same for the other supported OS.
VMware will work great for the following test scenarios:
  • Testing windows updates on a system
  • Testing a new software or a new software version
  • Creating a sandbox to test options/features of an OS
  • Creating different VM to test a software on different OS without the need to have physical machines for all of them
You can also use it as a "player" only where you have that static VM that you run from time to time as with my use for SAS University. Whenever you need to use the software, you simply start that VM.