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VMware Workstation vs. VirtualBox vs. Parallels

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the can't-you-be-content-with-the-actual-box? dept.

Operating Systems 289

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy takes an in-depth look at VMware Workstation 7, VirtualBox 3.1, and Parallels Desktop 4, three technologies at the heart of 'the biggest shake-up for desktop virtualization in years.' The shake-up, which sees Microsoft's once promising Virtual PC off in the Windows 7 XP Mode weeds, has put VirtualBox — among the best free open source software available for Windows — out front as a general-purpose VM, filling the void left by VMware's move to make Workstation more appealing to developers and admins. Meanwhile, Parallels finally offers a Desktop for Windows on par with its Mac product, as well as Workstation 4 Extreme, which delivers near native performance for graphics, disk, and network I/O. 'There's some genuine innovation going on, especially in the areas of hardware support and application compatibility,' Kennedy writes. 'All support 32- and 64-bit Windows and Linux hosts and guests, and all have added compelling new VM management capabilities, ranging from automated snapshots to live VM migration.'"

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frist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463544)

frist

Everyone forgets VMware server (5, Insightful)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463596)

If cost is an issue why do these reviews forget the free VMWare Server it does most everything most users would need at no cost vs workstation

DUH (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463656)

Because open-source beats closed-source, you propriefag.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (5, Interesting)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463670)

It does not do accelerated 3d. That is clearly one of the main features for 'normal' users trying to play games in their VM.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (5, Insightful)

dlanod (979538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463954)

"Normal" users play games in their VM?

Actually now that you raise that point, it's not as bizarre as it sounds. I was getting ready to ridicule it but giving Linux the ability to play Wine unsupported games and Windows 7 the ability to play WinXP-dependant games with decent performance may be one of the main consumer drivers of virtual machines. Though I'm not holding my breath on it being widespread just yet.

3D Games in Parallels (1)

MobileMrX (855797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464046)

Just as an FYI: 3D acceleration is supported to a degree in Parallels, I play Counter-Strike 1.6 in in 1920x1080 using OpenGL mode on my Mac. It isn't perfect for all games, but it does work!

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30464098)

Just one word ... Starforce.

These DRM schemes have a good track record of hosing down your install. Near native on many games would make VM'ing the thing a no brainer.

Each game on a branch off the main OS install.

I have 1 game that flat out refuses to run on a dual proc machine. VM it...

It solves a multitude of issues. That makes PC gaming suck.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30464372)

dopey all videos flash and basic Desktop guis all use 3d acceleration to make them run smoothly.
OpenGL, Direct3d or directx run like sh t in software acceleration

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463986)

Bah! Just emulate the GPU, everything is done in software these days.
I hear Pong is playable at 0.7fps

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464002)

It does not do accelerated 3d. That is clearly one of the main features for 'normal' users trying to play games in their VM.

The only games I play on a VM are the ones too old to work on XP, designed for DOS and pre 95 windows.

And believe me, they do not need accelerated 3d.

Anyone who is able to launch a VM of whatever OS they want to play whatever game they want is probably better off just installing it on a seperate partition, because there's no sense in playing a game while running 2 operating systems at once.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464070)

Unfortunately, a certain company [gametap.com] offers some free games, but their DRM system doesn't work on Windows x64.

This line-up includes 3D accelerated games.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464328)

But why eat up twice the memory to run 2 Operating systems to run a graphicly intensive game instead of partitioning it and having a dual boot option?

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (2, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464126)

If partitions can offer the same kind of flexibility as VMs then sure.

With some VM systems, it is possible to have forks off a central VM. i could have MAIN, MAIN + GAME1, MAIN + GAME2.... If some super hard core LAN gamer wanted to do that they could end up with a dozens partitions... or one VM with several snapshots.

Are there partitioning systems, or tricks with partitioning that might do something like that?

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464192)

The only games I play on a VM are the ones too old to work on XP, designed for DOS and pre 95 windows.

because there's no sense in playing a game while running 2 operating systems at once

If the games you are playing in a VM are DOS / W95, the whole VM should take minimal CPU, memory, and graphics resources. On a modern multi-core multi-ghz PC with 2-4 gigs of RAM, I'd say that makes plenty of sense. One a quad-core x86, you should be able to run 10 old games in parallel W95 vms and still run each better than on an old sub-333mhz pentium the game was originally intended for.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464114)

Or watching videos. I have a Windows XP VM on my Linux machine and Netflix movies play great on it.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (5, Informative)

jasonwc (939262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464506)

I just wanted to say that I have some experience with Virtualbox 3.1 and I disagree with the "ease-of-use" assessment of 7/10. I've played around with VMWare 7, Virtualbox, and VirtualPC, and Virtualbox is about as easy as a virtualization program can get. It has a simple GUI interface to setup your VM, provides sane settings by default, and allows lots of optimizations (like increasing # of cores used and 3D accel) easily.

I'm currently running Ubuntu 9.10 x86 in Windows 7 Professional x64, sharing 4 CPUs and allocating 512 MB of RAM to the VM. The VM runs very well and starts up incredibly fast. I'm very happy with it. It was also dead easy to install. Virtualbox also has a huge array of support for OS's - pretty much every Linux flavor, all Windows verisons from DOS/Win 3.x to Win 7/2008 R2, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, BeOS, Haiku etc. See http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Guest_OSes [virtualbox.org] for a full list.

In addition, it has VT-x and AMD-V support, but it isn't required. But, the best part is that it is open source (there is a closed version with a few more features) and FREE.

I didn't find Vmware as easy to use (rated 9/10). It was fine, just not easier than Virtualbox.

Re:2D and 3D accel. on VirtualBox (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464530)

Just to point out that VirtualBox has support for 2D and 3D acceleration. I used to play "armadillo" there and (by also using AMD-V virtualization extension) it works great.

I also saw some friends using it to develop flash games using Adobe Flash CS3 and it was really smooth.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (0)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463686)

Agreed. We run a test automation farm of about 60 virtual machines using VMWare server. It rocks. I'm thinking of setting it up on a machine at home and running multiple Window's machines on it. Very, very cool technology.

When it works

Which it often doesn't. There are bugs in the Linux underpinning the application, bugs in the application, bugs in Windows, bugs in our application and bugs in the automated testing system used to test our application. Not just bugs, but daemons, and they're *not* well behaved.

Every day is a new adventure! :)

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30464122)

A "daemon" is an application that responds to requests...

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464358)

It's a *joke*

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463688)

I wish I could forget VMware Server!

One of their more recent releases went to a fucking horrible Web-based UI. I mean, they installed Java and Tomcat just so this terrible UI could be run. This major fuck-up on their part drove me to VirtualBox, and I haven't looked back.

I've seen a lot of stupid web-based UIs in my time, but what they produced was beyond shitty. It often locked up for no reason, and when it worked, it wasn't even enjoyable to use.

I sincerely hope that whoever came up with that idea got fired. They went from sleek, functional desktop application UI to an extraordinarily shitty web-based UI using AJAX. I still can't comprehend how that could have happened.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463900)

I had the same experience, but then I found out I can use the VMWare Infrastructure Client to connect to the machine running VMWare Server 2.0 (https://hostname:8333). Now it connects/manages/works nicely. It would be best if it was the VMWare-supported way of doing things, considering their terrible Web UI. My only problem with it is that you can't configure machines with the Infrastructure Client (which only supports v4 hardware) after you've modified them with the web client (which supports v7).

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (2)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464066)

Now thats a good trick. I did not know that and yes it appears to work great. Thanks

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (2, Informative)

csartanis (863147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464044)

Use VMWare server 1.x You can get it through their website and they still patch it when security flaws are found.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (5, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463760)

VMWare Server 1.x was great. For 2.x, they decided to ditch the native client in favour of an awful web interface that barely worked. That's one of the reasons why you don't hear many people singing its praises any more. It went from being useful to being absolutely horrible to use. VirtualBox is also free to use, it understands VMWare images, and it doesn't have that awful web interface.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (2, Informative)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463948)

This was true of the preview release of 2.0. It was horrible. However, the final version of the UI is fairly decent.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (2, Informative)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464288)

No it isn't. Its the same dog-awful crap that they use in the Virtual Infrastructure Client and Virtual Center used with the ESX deployments. Sloooow, cumbersome, crashing, useless crap. Orders of magnitude more pain than the old 1.x interface. One of the main reasons (in addition to exorbitant costs, total mess with license management, constant wholesale re-branding of every component with every major release - Virtual "Sphere" anyone? - and the Virtual Center Linux non-support, etc, etc) why we are in the process of ditching VmWare at most of my clients.

Because VMWare *sucks* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463812)

VMWare assumes the *entire* point of your system is to run VMWare. Therefore, *everything* must take a back seat to it.

Try looking at the RPM. It's *hideous*... just a wrapper around the VMWare installer script - which means you end up with a crapload of files that RPM doesn't recognize as belonging to the VMWare package (or *any* package, for that matter.)

Then you have the VMWare installer for "other" operating systems... it asks you where it should install itself.. so I say "/usr/local/vmware" - but it decides that it *also* needs to install stuff in /usr/share and doesn't tell you about it.

Contrast with VirtualBox, which assumes that you system is, you know, your system.. and that you *might* want to use it to run other software, so it should play nicely and not try to take everything over.

VMWare is just a huge stinking pile of crap.

Re:Because VMWare *sucks* (1)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463838)

I guess it depends on how you use it. For my purposes it is the entire point of my system. Im usually trying to cram a minimum of 16 VMs on each one and it does just fine for what I need it to do.

Because your evaluation *sucks* (3, Informative)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463884)

"VMWare assumes the *entire* point of your system is to run VMWare"

Damned straight! Why else would I buy a machine with 8 cores and 32 Gb RAM?

"Try looking at the RPM"

What RPM? VMware Workstation 7 does not ship as an RPM any more. You are behind on the times.

"Contrast with VirtualBox"

Yes I did. They BOTH install lots of strange stuff on your machine. I did not see much difference.

The big difference I found is that VMware has sufficient quality for me to do my work. VirtualBox is so buggy that I cannot do my job with it. Believe me, I tried.

Re:Because your evaluation *sucks* (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463960)

No you didn't, quit lying. douchebag.

Re:Because your evaluation *sucks* (-1, Offtopic)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464060)

Show your face if you want to engage in name calling. Otherwise shut up.

Re:Because your evaluation *sucks* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30464312)

Damned straight! Why else would I buy a machine with 8 cores and 32 Gb RAM?

To do run graphics apps? Other processor/RAM intensive items?

I'm glad that you've sold your soul, but for everyone else, it's not so clear-cut.

What RPM? VMware Workstation 7 does not ship as an RPM any more.

Thank God for small favours. Although it doesn't fix the next one (regardless of your apologism)

They BOTH install lots of strange stuff on your machine. I did not see much difference.

Maybe you didn't see a difference because you're a fucking tool who can't read.

I'll repeat myself:

VMWare installs a bunch of crap in places I tell it not to. WITHOUT telling me.

VirtualBox installs exactly where I tell it to, and does not write to other parts of my filesystem.

Now, if you still don't see a difference, read it again, and don't reply until you understand what I said.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463818)

In the summary I read, they were comparing Desktop virtualization, not server.

I know, how dare I RTFS.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463998)

yes but just because it has server in the name doesnt mean it doesnt work just fine on a desktop machine.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464140)

There's no 3-D support. On a modern machine that is not "just fine".

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (1)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464322)

I understand where your coming from but I figure thats probably less than a quarter of users of these products or doing it to run game. I just run a second windows partition for that so I get the full performance.

Re:Everyone forgets VMware server (4, Insightful)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464208)

If cost is an issue why do these reviews forget the free VMWare Server it does most everything most users would need at no cost vs workstation

VMware Player is also free, and as of version 3.0 includes the capability to create and edit virtual machines. It also has support for 3D, Unity (seamless mode), and Aero in Vista/7.

VirtualBox lost... (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463638)

but crawled onto second place for being free. I think cost should be kept out of reviews, instead tell what you think of the product - as it is - then the reader can decide for himself if the price is worth the extras.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463682)

Free has nothing to do with cost. It's free as in freedom, which is an important feature to many.

The original point still stands (2)

mbessey (304651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463772)

Whether it meets some arbitrary definition of "freedom" shouldn't affect its score. If "freedom" is a desirable feature for certain users, they can certainly weigh that appropriately themselves.

Re:The original point still stands (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464164)

If "freedom" is a desirable feature for certain users, they can certainly weigh that appropriately themselves.

You could say the same about any feature. Which is just another way of saying that these aggregate scores are pretty much meaningless. Which is true, but not really a useful observation.

Re:The original point still stands (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464396)

Whether it meets some arbitrary definition of "freedom" shouldn't affect its score. If "freedom" is a desirable feature for certain users, they can certainly weigh that appropriately themselves.

VirtualBox is free as in Open Source. Which is very important to some folks, and unimportant to others. But that doesn't mean whether a product is Open Source or not shouldn't factor into these reviews...

Some of these products offer better speed, or better administration, or better 3D support... All of which will matter to some people, but not everyone. Are we going to toss out all of those as well?

If we toss out every single difference between products that some random person out there may not care about, what are we going to base our reviews on?

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464158)

Free has nothing to do with cost.

When I wrote free I referred to the price, not that it is open source. I suspect most folks look at the price separately regardless of what a product scores, which is why I don't think the price should be baked into the score of a product.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464264)

I suggest RTFA. In this case the GP was referring to the "Value" score, which is directly correlated to the price.

In fact, it seems to be there solely to push VirtualBox up higher on the chart, as the other two both got 7/10 on it (whereas VirtualBox got 10/10).

The scores with it, as shown in the article:

VMWare Workstation: 8.6
Parallels: 8.2
VirtualBox: 8.4

The scores without it, assuming the 10% score is divided evenly into the two 20% scores (to make them 25%):

VMWare Workstation: 8.8
Parallels: 8.3
VirtualBox: 8.3

Note that .5s are rounded up in both calculations.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463742)

Right, 2nd place because of cost alone:

With support for up to 32 virtual CPUs per VM, VirtualBox is now the class leader in terms of raw virtualization muscle. The introduction of branched snapshots is a major usability upgrade from version 3.0, while the new Teleportation feature (live VM migration) means that VirtualBox is now poised to challenge VMware and Microsoft in the datacenter.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (2, Informative)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463758)

I agree and that was my point. IF cost is an issue it should be included. If your just looking for the best product it shouldnt even be mentioned. We use the free VMware server in our patch test environment as its a free and it performs pretty well. I have some complaints about the UI as the guy does above but its functional 95% of the time with limited headache. Production side we use ESX but the costs of that just didnt make sense for a test environment for workstation patches.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463848)

What about VMware ESXi on a cheap 1U server? I've got one running ESXi 4.0 and the best part was it was free...

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463902)

as im sure you know ESXi has very strict hardware requirements and I could be wrong but I believe you still need the VMware infrastructure server for it to work correctly right?

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

pacman on prozac (448607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464092)

I believe you only need the infrastructure server if you want Virtual Center (to manage a load of ESX boxes from a central point), you can manage standalone ESXi boxes individually via their web interfaces.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464152)

Cool Thanks I will have to look into that on the VM server Im getting ready to build.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (3, Informative)

Vendetta (85883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464182)

Not right. I've gotten ESXi 4 to run on every whitebox system I have tried it on. And you use the Virtual Infrastructure client to connect to it (which comes with it) but you do not need to use VirtualCenter, or vCenter as it is now called.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

drinking12many (987173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464274)

I havent tried it since 3. I will be looking at it when I build a new server here in a couple weeks. Thanks

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463846)

Being free is a relevant "feature" for many people. If it should be removed because it means nothing to you, then heck, remove any 3D acceleration support from it too because I don't need it.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

dlanod (979538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464016)

The arbitrary "placing" of products is one of the more annoying features of these reviews. The better ones just outline the competitive differences and deficiencies of the products and let a knowledgeable user determine which fits their needs (value for money potentially being one of those needs), and then follow it up with corresponding information on how to determine which fits their needs for those less knowledgeable.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464432)

The arbitrary "placing" of products is one of the more annoying features of these reviews.

Its often the case that one product is head and shoulders above the others. There's no reason that shouldn't be recognized, even if one of the lesser products has a niche it excels in.

I agree the rankings are often arbitrary, and based on author biases, and so on, but they are often relevant. When I'm looking at 10 consumer laser printers... having them identify clearly which they felt were the best gives me a starting point. Their number 1 may not be the best unit for me, maybe number 2 or 3 is the right one for me... but their number 10 is probably not really worth looking at. At least if its a competent reviewer.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464142)

That is one way to look at it.
I have used Virtual Box and I find that it getting bumped down for ease of use is a bit silly. It isn't hard to use at all. It maybe slightly more difficult to install but once installed it is trivial to use.
So lets drop ease of use and "value" from the matrix.
If you do that they tie at 8.6 for the top spot.
Before you dismiss Virtual Box out of hand take a good look at the matrix.
The only area outside of ease of use that VirtualBox got less than a 9 on was VM management where it got an 8.
Also take a look at the weights of each column. Ease of use is 25% while cost is only 10%.
I think the cost and the Ease of use are both interesting metrics. With a cost of Free I can see no reason not to try VirtualBox first. If you find the ease of use and VM management good enough for your task then you have a huge win. The other may have demo systems you can try for a limited amount of time but they will still cost you money so VirtualBox really should be the first system on anybody's list to try.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

tirnacopu (732831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464228)

Cost had better be included in the review. It was not an issue for me when I bought Parallels ver.3 - there simply was no alternative for the Mac, but: I was a happy user until it OS X upgrades broke it, and now I had to choose ver.5 (the current one, and the one this review should have targeted).
  First there was a $80 bill, now (ver3 does not qualify for upgrade price), another $80 and I evaluated quite carefully whether I do want to pay $160, $240 and so on for this type of software, one that I would never upgrade unless forced by other factors.
  I spent a couple weeks with the trial version installed, and decided that yes, it has improved enough to claim the money. This is very important, and there are dozens of applications on my system that have failed this evaluation (WinRar 2, Office 2003, Windows XP, a lot of games).
  Should I ever install VMWare or VirtualBox, they better be as good as Parallels +/- the price difference, and they should promise continuous improvement.

Re:VirtualBox lost... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464578)

No, a review is a comparison by one person of several choices...
The price is just another comparison point, how important that point is to the review is up to him.

Personally i consider free (as in freedom) a positive point, as is availability of source code..

As to free (as in monetary price), that is also a beneficial point.. In order for me to consider using something i have to pay for it needs to not only be superior to the free option, but sufficiently superior to justify its price tag, a minor improvement won't do it has to be clearly superior.

Poor reasoning in the review (0, Troll)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463724)

They call VMware Workstation at $189 "expensive".

It's a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the hardware needed to run any of these products well.

They say a max of 4 virtual CPU in the review but they FAIL to mention that each of these CPU can have 4 cores, so really it supports 16 virtual processors.

These two inaccuracies also just happen to be the only two "Cons" that they assign to VMware.

If you actually bother to boot up and try VirtualBox you will find it very buggy compared to VMware, to the point of being not very usable. I spent several days trying to get VirtualBox to work for me but there were just too many problems.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (0, Offtopic)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463740)

It's Randall Kennedy. Poor reasoning has never stopped him before.

I was wrong (2, Informative)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463814)

Oops I was wrong about the max number of processors, it really is 4, I just tried it.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (5, Informative)

bflong (107195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463822)

If you actually bother to boot up and try VirtualBox you will find it very buggy compared to VMware...

Sorry, I have to disagree. I have many, many instances of VirtualBox running and I love it. I *have* had some issues, but only with some really far out edge cases. I find it to be very easy to use, and reliable. As a sysadmin, VBoxManage is awesome for scripting.

Did you compare? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464026)

VirtualBox is fine for what it is, but I don't have the time to struggle with it.

"some really far out edge cases" - welcome to my life.

But VMware is BETTER. And $189 approaches zero compared to the cost of the time I spend with it.

Struggle? What struggle? (1)

itomato (91092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464214)

And better, how?

Just BETTER?

There are cases where VMWare may be preferable, but unless you're running 16 systems, I don't see how it's "BETTER" for general use.

VirtualBox is at least $189 less than any other product. That makes it 189 times "BETTER" than anything else, especially when you start in with the feature comparisons.

- Virtual CPU count
- OpenGL
- Manageability/portability
- Live migration/teleportation
- Scriptable backend
- Dead Simple Interface

BTW, what could you possibly be struggling with?

I was just going to read and mod.. Oh well. It's worth it.

come on! (2, Interesting)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464344)

You are saying it yourself:

"There are cases where VMWare may be preferable"

My system is one of those cases.

I just flat out could not get VirtualBox to work correctly. I require a very complex network setup and their networking is not as robust as VMware.

My VMs are pushed out hard, running automated tests. I got occasional lock-ups in VirtualBox while VMware runs for days and days without a single problem.

Screwy math (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464466)

"$189 less than any other product. That makes it 189 times "BETTER""

I think you have some pretty serious issues with your math skills.

And you have no clue about costs.

The more expensive software product often makes for the lowest-cost system when you factor in the necessary hardware.

For example a $10,000 enterprise database is cheaper than a free one if it can do the same work on a $20,000 server that would require a $50,000 server for the free one.

Yes I do work with systems like that.

Re:Struggle? What struggle? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464580)

VirtualBox is at least $189 less than any other product. That makes it 189 times "BETTER" than anything else, especially when you start in with the feature comparisons.

VMware Player and VMware Server are available for free. Also, if you are going to judge VirtualBox as being X times better than some other product because of cost, VirtualBox would then be infinitely better than VMware Workstation. But it's clearly not infinitely better. Only the open source edition of VirtualBox is free for everyone; the non-open source (precompiled) version is only free for personal use and evaluation. VMware Player, Server, and ESXi are free for everyone.

VMware has better USB passthrough support, as I've discovered by trying both VMware Player and VirtualBox (the device worked only in VMware Player). VirtualBox's USB support isn't even included in the open source edition.

VMware has automatic printing support for guests, without the need to manually share the printer or install a driver on a guest.

For desktop products, VMware has Easy Install, which automatically performs an installation of supported guest operating systems and automatically installs the tools.

- OpenGL

VMware has Aero support in Windows VIsta/7, which VirtualBox does not. VMware's Direct3D and OpenGL support is more advanced.

Manageability/portability

VMware VMs are portable between ESX, ESXi, Player, Fusion, Workstation, Server.
VMware Server is manageable via the web interface or the full VMware vSphere/Infrastructure client. VMware VMs can also be accessed via VNC, even with the free Player. (RDP support for VirtualBox is not in the open source version, either.)

Dead Simple Interface

VirtualBox's interface is rather confusing, especially compared to that of VMware Player or VMware Fusion.

Re:Did you compare? (1)

bflong (107195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464226)

My latest edge case was running some really, really old and crusty 16bit program in a Windows XP guest and having it bluescreen. I didn't try it in Vmware. Before switching to VirtualBox I used Vmware player on these workstations, but it couldn't keep up performance wise. I use Vmware server (v2) on our two main servers here, each running 6 VM's. I had used Vmware server (v1) before that. I also bought and used a copy of Vmware Workstation when is still cost $300. Sorry, I don't see how Vmware Workstation is better then VirtualBox. I don't struggle with it at all. If VirtualBox was $189 and I could only chose that or Workstaion, I would still use VirtualBox.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463850)

It is expensive... when compared to VMWare Player [vmware.com] , which is free (as in beer) and also supports up to 4 virtual CPUs.

Of course, you can't create VM images with VMWare Player...

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (3, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463896)

I was under the impression that VMs couldn't be created with Player either, so I built one in Workstation at the office, copied it to a flash drive, took it home where I installed the newest version of Player, and copied the VM to that machine.

But in the process of playing around with VMware Player, I did see an option for creating new virtual machines. Didn't explore any further, but it seems the new version does support not just playing, but building.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463926)

It was apparently added since the last version of VMWare Player that I used.

I noticed it in their FAQ after I posted.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463898)

Of course, you can't create VM images with VMWare Player...

Whoops, I lied. The latest version can create images now. I'm still not sure that it has 3D support, though.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464238)

Whoops, I lied. The latest version can create images now. I'm still not sure that it has 3D support, though.

It does have 3D support [vmware.com] .

By the way, the release notes were very easy to find on Google - it was the second result when searching for VMware Player 3.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463920)

These tests are big stupidity. VirtualBox is okay to play with some OSes in your desktop. It is indeed buggy and locks up for no reason, even when I compiled it from source in Linux. I had some email conversations with the developers and they agreed it had some rough edges. Maybe it will be solid in a few months or years but VMware is the product to beat and they will have moved somewhere else when VirtualBox works correctly. ESX is free at an entry level, and is a solid product for production. I would never install anything else on my servers unless I want to be embarrassed having to reboot twenty servers. Others may have to reboot a hundred. VirtualPC or VBox in production... you deserve to be unemployed.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464000)

I've had stuff I compiled from scratch also not work. Doesn't mean it's a bad product, could be you just forgot some esoteric parameter when you built it. VMWare is getting worse and worse.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (3, Informative)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464308)

If you actually bother to boot up and try VirtualBox you will find it very buggy compared to VMware, to the point of being not very usable. I spent several days trying to get VirtualBox to work for me but there were just too many problems.

No you will not. Recent Virtualbox is very stable, I haven't seen a crash on Vbox version > 3.0.1 I use it in complex networking high peak load setups without issue. Only time I can bring it down is running high load in a nested hypervisor environment.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464456)

Nonsense. Any decent boxed pre-loaded PC from a place like Best Buy or Costco is more than adequate for running this stuff.

Now there is the obvious problem of distinguishing between those of us that are trying to use VMs as a poor man's mainframe and those of us that aren't.

Since Parallels is in the comparison, this is obviously a review for desktop users.

OTOH: none of these products popped out of the ether just yesterday, so the idea
that you need a monster of a machine by modern standards just to run them decently
seems a little absurd really.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30464566)

They call VMware Workstation at $189 "expensive".

It's a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the hardware needed to run any of these products well.

Wrong.

At my company, we've decided to develop a whole new product line with embedded Linux, which of course means we need an actual Linux system to develop with. We've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with an embedded Linux vendor for them to make a port of Linux for a certain CPU we're using, and for licenses for their development tools, plus for all the custom development hardware.

However, since all our desktop computers are very old and run XP (and a few run 2000 because they're too old for XP), we decided to use one computer to run Linux, and we'd all VNC into it. Since we wanted to be able to try a couple different distros in case of compatibility problems with our vendors, we (the IT dept actually) decided to use one computer running a VM. So, they use VirtualBox (because it's free), on top of some recycled old desktop computer for our entire team to do development (i.e., lots of recompiling) on. Why not get a new server system with 2 or 4 Xeons? Because "there's no money in the budget for that".

So here, we can afford literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for software from certain vendors, but we can't afford $189 for VM software from a different vendor, nor can we afford $2000-5000 for a decent computer to do our development on with all this 6-figure licensed software. For anything that comes out of the IT department's budget, we're only allowed to make do with whatever we can download for free or old hardware we can reuse from elsewhere.

BTW, we've had all kinds of problems with VirtualBox on this set-up, causing many days' worth of lost time.

Re:Poor reasoning in the review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30464570)

those bugs were?

On the Atom processor netbook (3, Informative)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463752)

VirtualBox rules. XP on VMWare barely ran while the same Win XP install on VirtualBox is working well.

Re:On everything! (1)

pacman on prozac (448607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463894)

VirtualBox is also great for network labs as you can bind physical NICs to seperate virtual machines. You can't do that with any others until you start getting into ESX territory afaik.

As an example you can run Checkpoint or Olive on it and link it in with Dynamips, get an entire enterprise network running on your desktop. Maybe not everyones idea of fun but a comparable hardware lab setup would run to many thousands of pounds.

I'd second your comments about the Atom too, it runs XP blazingly fast.

Re:On everything! (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464326)

VirtualBox is also great for network labs as you can bind physical NICs to seperate virtual machines. You can't do that with any others until you start getting into ESX territory afaik.

This has been a feature of every VMware desktop release I've used, since before VirtualBox was around...

Re:On the Atom processor netbook (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464260)

I've used VirtualBox OSE for about a year now, and have found issues only when doing complex setups for network testing.

Virtualbox (4, Interesting)

dikdik (1696426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463856)

I use Virtual box on a pair of mac intel core duo 2 machines to run windows XP pro I'm very pleased with it. It essentially works perfectly. I don't care that it is only single processor since All I want is basic seemless windows functionality for those few cases where software is windows only.

it works well with USB devices. I use it to program Lego Mindostorms, and for Midi (to USB) keyboard input and some thumb drives.

it will mount any folder on my mac disk either permenantly or temporarily (these show us as X: or Y: or whatever). What's mildly annoying is that this is 2 step process: first you tell the VM to "add the drive" then you have to use a windows "run" command "net use x: " to tell windows about it. the second step seems strange to me, but you only do it one time.

I've had three things I could not figure out.

I never was able to get a windows media player to mount in media player mode so I could use windows DRM protected WMA files on it and manage it from within windows media player 11. Instead it only will mount as a thumb drive.

I was not able to get a virtual CD device to mount an iso image or burn an iso image (as a work around for getting the WMA files in a format I could play).

It will not burn a CD or DVD.

also I never figured out how to add my Samsung C310 printer to it or my HP multifunction printer to it. it does see them, it just never finds the drivers. However I'm pretty certain this is a windows driver problem and nothing to do with the VM.

I don't game so open GL means squat to me.

No mention of Citrix's XenDesktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463866)

No mention of Citrix's XenDesktop? XenApp is far superior to normal Terminal Services and the ICA protocol is pretty damn impressive. Add in their "HDX" technology and Provisioning Server and I am scratching my head as to why the author left them out.

Re:No mention of Citrix's XenDesktop? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464286)

XenDesktop is a thin client system that uses virtualization on the server, not on a desktop PC like the other products reviewed.

W00T 7p (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30463934)

That they sideline its readers and is 7he worst oof surprise to the

Parallels Desktop is at version 5, btw. (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464050)

Maybe he should've spent a second or two checking up on this before he did his test.

Re:Parallels Desktop is at version 5, btw. (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464080)

Yes. PD5 user here. Parallels Desktop 5 is much faster than 4 in my experience. The reviewer should have doubled checked that he's reviewing the newest releases.

Only For Mac (2, Informative)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464162)

Didn't RTFA, I see. It states that Parallels Desktop 5 is available, but only for Mac. I just checked out their website and I have to agree.

Re:Parallels Desktop is at version 5, btw. (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464368)

Please provide a link to Parallels Desktop 5 for Windows, then.

I only see a Mac release for Desktop 5 on Parallels products page, which was in fact mentioned in TFA, had you bothered to read it.

Parallels Workstation 4.0 EXTREEEEEMMMMEEEE!!!! (1)

gbrayut (715117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464178)

I use VirtualBox for building a test environment and it works very well. Also the graphics acceleration worked fine for the games that I tested with. Parallels Workstation 4.0 Extreme [parallels.com] looks interesting, but the only "Certified hardware platform" is a HP Z800 Workstation, which costs $2000 to $5000. Add in $400 for the Parallels license and that gets to be a bit steep. Plus the announcer on the video sounds [parallels.com] like he is trying to sell you a used car.

VirtualBox FTW (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464186)

It works, its free, it supports multiple CPUs. Done.

Re:VirtualBox FTW (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464380)

I second the motion.

James Joyce Would Be Scratching His Head (4, Insightful)

timkar (964479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464282)

Wow. I see that they've stopped teaching good sentence and paragraph construction in college. Is it possible that this "paragraph" was cobbled together from several tweets?

VirtualBox; mostly opensource and lots of host OSs (1)

rhavenn (97211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464420)

For me, VirtualBox wins purely out of the fact that it's mostly open source and supports the largest amount of host OSs and runs on a few more that aren't "supported" officially. Finally, a virtual machine that works with FreeBSD as a host.

However, from a performance standpoint I can't tell the difference between VMware and VirtualBox, except perhaps that VirtualBox doesn't seem to hammer the host OS quite as hard.

Virtual box is great, but doesn't scale. (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464424)

For smaller scope tasks, there's nothing wrong with Virtual Box, but when you start running 50+ machines, you just need something like ESXi server. I've never used the web interface and don't plan to. We always use the Windows client.

Don't forget Wine (0, Offtopic)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464496)

Don't forget to add Wine to the comparison - they up to v1.0.1 now.

And if you are using a Mac, that means you should consider Wine Bottler [kronenberg.org] . It's like CrossoverOver, but it's better and free.

VirtualBox works for me... (1)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464548)

For me VirtualBox wins because it works on Windows 7 home premium. VMWare Server requires Professional.

I also like the interface better than VMWare's free server product which I was using on my old xp pro installation.

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