VMware Workstation 6.0 record/replay

May 9, 2007

VMware Workstation 6.0 is now availabe, see the press release for a list of new features.

One of the highlights for me is the experimental record/replay set of features. Read more about that in Steve Harrod’s The Amazing VM Record/Replay Feature in VMware Workstation 6 and for some details see this entry from Vyacheslav (Slava) Malyugin: Workstation 6.0 and the death of irreproducible bugs.

As far as I can tell this does not let you step in reverse or set breakpoints in the “past.” That has been done before, this Workstation news has me revisiting the cool paper from the University of Michigan: Debugging operating systems with time-traveling virtual machines.

Anyhow, with Workstation 6, the ability to replay a hard-to-reproduce bug over and over and step through instruction by instruction — and to have it wrapped in the nice Workstation interface — is going to be pretty useful for a lot of people (including myself).

They’ve included a number of things to make this more than a novelty like gdb integration, increasing the pace of time during replay, and the optional ability for the guest VM to itself decide when it is being recorded.