For a little over a year, VMware has been producing experimental yet free and interesting tools for its virtualization platform over at VMware Labs, where VMware engineers seem to be empowered by the company to get creative by developing cool tools that are not yet part of any official product offering and sharing those tools with VMware's enthusiastic community of users.
These VMware experimental projects are called "flings" and are defined in the lab as "a brief casual relationship" intended to be "a short-term thing." In addition to being free of charge, they are also offered under Technical Preview or relevant open source licensing. The company said these tools are intended to be played with and explored, but be warned -- they do not come with VMware support and therefore shouldn't be used in your production environment.
[ Also on InfoWorld: VMware's virtualization of Android smartphones makes two-phones-in-one possible | Read about the winning hardware, software, and development tools in our slideshow: InfoWorld's 2011 Technology of the Year Award winners. ]
But don't let the official "You've been warned" message take the air out of your sails. The tools are after all totally free and can prove to be a lot of fun and highly valuable. And unlike with so many other free tools on the market today, you don't even have to fill out any forms before downloading them. Score!
Some of the more interesting tools are highlighted as "featured flings," which receive top honors within the VMware Labs environment. Featured flings include such tools as VMware Guest Console (VGC), an application used to manage the Guest Operating Systems installed on a VM with features such as a task manager, file system explorer, and snapshot manager; VMware vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA), which allows the user to monitor and manage a VMware Infrastructure from a mobile phone device; Onyx, a stand-alone application that serves as a proxy between the vSphere Client and the vCenter Server, monitoring the network communication between them; and Virtual USB Analyzer, used for visualizing logs of USB packets, from hardware or software USB sniffer tools.