With the recent layoffs at VMware, one of the biggest surprises was the loss of almost the whole Workstation/Fusion team. For many, this is the end of an era. Not only was Workstation one of VMware’s first products, but it was the one that gave numerous people the opportunity to play with new tech and ultimately show off the systems to and get buy-in from management. It let Devs test different builds quickly and easily, and it let server teams test updates and changes quickly and, importantly, safely.
A community built up around Workstation and Fusion that was fueled by the VMTN (VMware Technical Network) subscription and forums. I still have my VMTN T-shirt. The subscription and forums offered easy ways to share ideas and provided a cheap “in” to VMware’s software, which created a huge pool of evangelists who still promote the tech today. The combination of long-lasting trial versions, easily available and readable documentation (VMware’s docs have always been some of the best in the business), and a well-moderated community lowered the barrier to entry for VMware products in a way that no other company has achieved.