Vector NTI is a very indispensable piece of software once you get used to it. It becomes even more a pain when you cannot use because you switched your computing platform. I’ve seen so many posts from fellow switchers in the academic community with cries of help as to how get their favorite molecular biology workbench app to the mac platform. As of now there aren’t too many solutions! Invitrogen does not seem to be interested in developing the app any longer for the macintosh platform, so the only way is to use the windows version which is under active development and coming out with a new version 11 which i’m curious to try. The workaround for running Vector NTI is pretty simple, run windows on the mac! Using a virtual machine software like the two most popular VMware Fusion and Parallels vector NTI cab run on windows simultaneously. This is very much different from the Bootcamp Windows installation which allows you to run only one operating system at a time. With the virtual machine you can run windows or any other supported Operating systmes virtually within the Mac OS. Although applications like Codeweavers Crossover Office allow you to run Windows applications in a simulated windows environment with WINE, this method did not work out for Vector NTI. My guess is the requirement of Database connectivity (ODBC/MS Jet) that seems to be still a problem in the WINE emulation.
Is this virtual machine work around really a practical workflow? Well i was quite doubtful when i started out, but i’ve been using this workflow for almost a year now and have had no problems. In fact now with the capability of Leopard’s Time machine to backup all files on the mac, my virtual machine and together my Vector NTI database is also backed up constantly. Any files that need to be accessed on the mac can be stored on the shared folder that the virtual machine applications provide that are accessible by both operating systems. Hope this post was helpful for some soul searching for a solution to their Vector NTI woes.