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Ask Slashdot: Which Virtual Machine Software For a Beginner?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the not-the-holodeck dept.

Virtualization 361

An anonymous reader writes "I am getting ready to start learning the use of virtual machines. What VM software would you recommend? This is for personal use. It would be good to run both Windows VMs and Linux VMs. Early use would be maintaining multiple Windows installs using only one desktop computer with plenty of cores and memory. I would be starting with a Windows host, but probably later switching to a Linux host after I learn more about it. Free is good, but reliability and ease of use are better. What is your preferred choice for a VM beginner? VMware? Xen? VirtualBox? Something else?" It may also be helpful if you can recommend particular VM software for particular uses, or provide some insight on different hosting options.

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What the fuck (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937249)

It's software. Look at the menu options and read the manual if you need a reference.

Can you not think?

Re:What the fuck (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937361)


  Really? A discussion is not required for this

Re:What the fuck (1, Flamebait)

Zapotek (1032314) | about 2 years ago | (#41937373)

Why is parent modded at -1? Seriously, just look around and play with them wtf?

Re:What the fuck (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937509)

You fucking piece of shit!

Thanks to YOUR comment, I shot a gigantic fart out of my very own asshole! That's right, due to none other than your pathetic little comment, a fart was expelled from MY ASSHOLE!

Turn to dust and die now!

Re:What the fuck (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#41938077)

Why is parent modded at -1? Seriously, just look around and play with them wtf?

Acting helpless is the new(er) status symbol. Handholding you didn't need makes a statement. It says you deserve to be served - you have people for that. Of course intellectual laziness is also a popular development, which oddly seems to get worse and worse as information becomes more and more instantly available.

The vitriol that comes out of some people when you dare to suggest that they can handle something independently is amazing. "Hey, you're bright enough and resourceful enough to do this all by yourself" is a compliment. Not reinforcing someone's codependency is a good thing. The anger and vitriol, then, requires an explanation. The anger comes from not paying tribute, not agreeing with the sense of entitlement.

Not encouraging such a character weakness makes you a bad person, somehow. You'll be told how smug and elitist you are, etc. All of the negative feedback is designed to make you cave and pay tribute anyway. After all, you didn't go along with their self-importance so you must be punished. As though someone who says "I am capable of this, and so are you" is being elitist! It's actually an egalitarian position.

This paragraph is for the small-minded who invent things to rail against that were not said. Obviously, if someone makes a sincere effort and gets stumped that's different. That happens to everyone sometimes. But this does not require any complex skill or specialized knowledge. Basic literacy and a few minutes are the only resources this person would need in order to answer his own question. He demonstrated both just by asking the question, so we know he has them. Wanting help for that is a highly indirect (thus deniable) way of saying his time is more valuable than yours or mine.

Once you know yourself well enough to see (and thus, stop) these petty ego mechanisms within your own psychology, you will start to see them everywhere in others as well. The horrifying part is how universally accepted and unquestioned it is. It doesn't take very much introspection or contemplation to understand these things. What it does take is some kind of inner life to balance out the constant hectic worry about externals like work, bills, the economy, politics, and this-and-that. Otherwise there is no basis for comparison.

The annoying part is that everything I said above is straightforward ... and someone's self-importance will be offended by it. Perhaps they will twist what I said to insult me in some manner, or act like I've done something horriby evil by pointing this out. That would be most boring and unsurprising.

Really. (5, Funny)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41937489)

How dare someone ask a software preference question on /. Doesn't he know this is a politics/religion website?

Re:Really. (2)

ae1294 (1547521) | about 2 years ago | (#41937835)

I suggest DESQview...

Re:What the fuck (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937511)

Seriously, wtf is up with Slashdot these days? This is truly scraping the bottom now.

Re:What the fuck (5, Insightful)

anotheregomaniac (1439993) | about 2 years ago | (#41937791)

It has to compete with Reddit.

Re:What the fuck (5, Funny)

Tim12s (209786) | about 2 years ago | (#41937517)

Apparently the attention span of the average geek has dropped below 130 to approx 95. Instead of showing us a machine running VMWare inside Xen inside Virtualbox on Linux inside HTML5 Linux emulator.... we are now succumbed to trivial what-if scenarios. What type of dog food should I feed my dog? blah blah blah ... Feed you dog cat flavoured dogfood, c'mon think!

Re:What the fuck (2)

Tim12s (209786) | about 2 years ago | (#41937529)

Running on a Chrome-book of course...

LMAO (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41937545)

That was awesome

Re:What the fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937599)

I think he meant to post this on Lifehacker or something.

Re:What the fuck (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937611)

Reminds me of all the Indians on software dev forums asking for questions that could be determined with 5 minutes of work, or worse, Googling. This thread will feature no consensus and probably will do more harm to an opinion than good.

Re:What the fuck (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937621)

Can you not think?

Ya, that's what I tell anyone that asks me anything. There was a time when you could count on experts helping out to save you some time or to get you started on a complicated area that you weren't familar with. In fact, there use to be computer clubs where information was shared. I guess that time is gone.

Re:What the fuck (5, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 2 years ago | (#41938071)

I'm sick of advanced users ganging up to disdain anyone who asks a question they could learn the answer to if they would only read a 500 page manual or three, It's an ugly canker on the face of geek culture.

Before learning something NEW asking ?s is sma (5, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#41937737)

If the OP knew a lot about circulation, he could look at different hypervisors and interfaces and make an informed choice. Since he's not real familiar with topic, he would only be judging which has the best sales pitch. He's trying to decide which one to learn on. Since he doesn't understand rhe field well enough to make informed judgement, asking those who DO is smart. It's a very good question. I bet you're the arrogant fool exec who chose IIS as the proxy server based on "feature lists" rather than asking the geeks who actually know about such things.

Re:Before learning something NEW asking ?s is sma (0)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 2 years ago | (#41938015)

This is the type of response I would spend mod points on if I had them. On the Internet, you can either be helpful or a troll (or a lurker) and people who choose to be a troll are really annoying.

As always, Betteridge has the answer. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937807)

Which Virtual Machine Software For a Beginner?


Re:What the fuck (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41937833)

It's software. Look at the menu options and read the manual if you need a reference.

Can you not think?

I don't know if you'd bother to read the question, but he wasn't asking how to use the software, he was asking what software was recommended. It's not like he said "Hey, I just installed VMware on my computer and I don't know how to use it. Help!"

I fail to see how your post was modded insightful - you didn't even answer the question that was asked.

VMware is very easy (5, Informative)

blandcramration (2636571) | about 2 years ago | (#41937253)

I honestly just used VMware for the first time today but it was very easy to use and booted up in seconds. You can add virtual drives with a click and if you are anywhere familiar with the operating system you are attempting to emulate, I'd say it's a safe bet. Maybe the community can offer a few free options for you to try out as well.

Re:VMware is very easy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937357)

I second vmware if it is anything windows/linux related. Oracle's stuff is too unstable and MS just integrates well with windows. For everything else, kvm is more than enough and the best value.

Re:VMware is very easy (-1, Flamebait)

CaptainJeff (731782) | about 2 years ago | (#41937449)

Really? You just used VMware? The predecessor for all of these? Well...OK then but please do not pretend to offer an informed opinion on VM software.

VMware and VBox seem slow. (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41937527)

I've got so much bare metal laying around, these days I've been installing onto a box and accessing it remotely - native performance is much nicer.

Re:VMware is very easy (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#41937581)

Isn't it also very expensive?

I really know little aobut this area, and was only reading the thread hoping to learn something. Instead if seems to have been hacked since it is full of much more abuse than is typical for slashdot.

VMware player (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41937605)

Its free

Re:VMware is very easy but (4, Informative)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 2 years ago | (#41937863)

VMware tends to be fussy about the hardware. I had a non-descript Athlon dual core that ran VMware just fine but lacked horsepower and wa maxed out on RAM at 4GB. I decided to buy a 6 core Athlon, new motherboard and 16 GB of RAM. VMware installed just fine but the clock drifted all over the place (several seconds per minute). Finally gave up on VMware and went Xen. Xen worked just fine but lacked all of the nice management tools and virtual networking stuff that VMware had. SIGH.

Also, it will only install if you have a supported network card in your target box. Check the hardware requirements.

If you want to try VMware, there is a free version: []

Oh yeah, one other downside of VMware is the management console only runs on Windoze (at least when I was using it about a year or so ago). You will still need a separate, standalone Windows box


Yes (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937275)

Try them all. Dedicate a day or so to each one with the goal of having a fully working linux vm and a fully working windows vm at the end of the day. Then you'll be able to write a slashvertisement about what you've learned and we'll all be better off. Take lots of pictures.

Virtualbox (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937279)


Any of these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937281)

Any of these work well for home uses. Unless you plan on having high availability and seemless server migration or something, you cannot go wrong with any of these options.

VirtualBox (5, Insightful)

Nexion (1064) | about 2 years ago | (#41937301)

I prefer VirtualBox myself, but also use VMware at work. I also recommend that you try them all. It's not a question of what is best for us, but rather what is best for you.

VirtualBox (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937305)

VirtualBox is the best for a beginner. User-friendly GUI, sane defaults, it Just Works.

VirtualBox Certainly (5, Informative)

mqhiller (688190) | about 2 years ago | (#41937307)

Easy to set up (I walked my brother through it over the phone) easy to use (ditto) and fairly full featured.

Virtualbox (5, Informative)

BuypolarBear (2713397) | about 2 years ago | (#41937315)

Virtualbox is pretty reliable and includes acceleration on 64 bit systems along with an extremely simple to use GUI and easy to install guest additions that allow your display to easily scale. It's the one thing from Oracle that I actually use and recommend to others. For your requirements, it's licensed under the GPL v2 and works on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Beginner? (3, Informative)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41937319)

VMWare is probably the best beginner VM package due to its documentation, support, and polish. But as others have said, they are all pretty good.

Try VirtualBox...Simple and easy to use wizards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937321)

I'd recommend virtualbox. It's very easy as are all of the others and free of course.

VMware or VirtualBox (4, Insightful)

bsharitt (580506) | about 2 years ago | (#41937329)

Since you may be going cross platform at the host, either VMware or VirtualBox are good options. I've personally been using VirtualBox for a while and find it quite easy to use and being free is a nice perk too. Though I understand VMware Player(the free version of VMware) has grown in a a decent general purpose VM solution for simple desktop virtualization like it sounds like you'll be doing.

Re:VMware or VirtualBox (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41937983)

QEMU would also be cross platform, even more so than those 2 you suggest.

OpenVZ (2)

certain death (947081) | about 2 years ago | (#41937331)

I use OpenVZ because it can do containers as well as KVM. It keeps you from having to have different hypervisors for each. It also is fairly easy to setup and has a nice web interface for managing your virtual machines.

Re:OpenVZ (1)

corychristison (951993) | about 2 years ago | (#41937401)

He's using a Windows host machine. Also plans to use multiple Windows Guest VM's... OpenVZ doesn't work for either situation.

KVM is as bare metal you can get, but setup isn't always easy and requires a Linux Host. KVM is my personal preference but VirtualBox is probably best for his use case. VMware Workstation is great too but not free (last I checked - may have changed).

Re:OpenVZ (2)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 2 years ago | (#41937655)

OpenVZ is just a glorified chroot. It doesn't have a hypervisor.

We had one of these at my old work, running webservers for developers.

I discovered one day that some Debian scripts use killall to terminate their processes, can't recall if it was during uninstall or '/etc/init.d/script shutdown' but anyhow, what I found was that the process id's for all the processes running on the 'guests' are accessible on the host. I had to restart this process on all of the guests.

You can kill running processes in guests from the host; 'killall processname' on the host kills all instances of that process on all guests.
This is pretty hilarious for a 'virtualisation' system, compared to the likes of Xen, Vmware, Virtualbox or Hyperv.

Like it says in the wikipedia article:
"OpenVZ is not true virtualization but really containerization like FreeBSD Jails"


VirtualBox (1)

osprey413 (2247450) | about 2 years ago | (#41937337)

My first experience was setting up a BackTrack5 machine in VirtualBox. Extremely easy, and lots of information online if you have a question.

The ultimate virtual machine is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937343) plays my old games....OK, maybe you mean a more modern VM....geesh, I wish you had said that! LOL!

Virtualbox (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937345)

To start, virtualbox.
Its free, supports linux and windows and freebsd. (And Solaris!! Oh boy!!!) It's also easy to use and works well. For desktop use I'd choose it over whatever desktop product vmware is selling, even if I got it for free.

Microsoft has a free desktop visualization product too but it's documentation is sparse, and it has wierd limitations. It also pretty much only runs windows.

Vmware ESX is a damn nice piece of software, but it required dedicated hardware (hypervisor only! Local console is config and diagnostics only. Can't see your VM's on the local monitor) They have a free version and I use it for everything from my router software to windows instances to a minecraft server.. All on one phisical machine.

There's a free version of hyper-v (The microsoft coutnerpart to esx) but it's setup is downright difficult if you're not in a domain environment.

Virtualbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937349)

Virtualbox is what you want as a begginer or desktop for fooling around.
If you want to host a large infrastructure you would go VMware and for VPS hosting you would go XEN.
If you are into embedded systems, exotic architectures, reverse engineering and such you would rather use Qemu/KVM under linux.

They all have fundamentally the same features, you can still run any linux flavour and hook up a debugger on serial port or whatever funny thing you like to do witch each of them.
Virtualbox works out of the box and is the most convenient for running multiple windows/linux/*nix on your usual operating system though.

VMware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937353)

VMware is easy to use, widely documented and will run almost anything out in the market place. The system you install it becomes a VMware server and you can only install guest. If you want to run a base os like windows or linux, Mac then VirtualBox is good and free.

Good for personal use, not for business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937363)

VMWare and VirtualBox are indeed very easy to use. I haven't used Virtualbox for a while, but I used to have some issues running Linux on it. If you are looking to learn Virtualization in a professional sense, I would look into learning somethign useful like vSphere though.

VMware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937369)

Hands down.

Get wrokstation for Linux, or Fusion.

Even better yet, use ESXi, and use workstation to toss your machines around.

Always thick provision though.

Virtual Box is _OK_, but the guest add-ons suck.

Xen is a mess when compared to VMware.
Xen is not elegant, it is annoying.

Unless you get Citrix Xen or a fork of Xen that is improved. But that means money.

I personally use VMware workstation on Linux, Fusion on OSX and ESXi for production.

VirtualBox or VM Workstation (5, Informative)

PraiseBob (1923958) | about 2 years ago | (#41937397)

VirtualBox is the easiest free option to get started.
It can run inside a host OS, so you don't need a bare metal install, and don't need a web interface to use it.
It has easy to install and operate clients in Windows and Linux (can't speak for Mac).
It can build VM's easily. (VMWare free options cannot create VM's)

If you are willing to spend a little money, the VMWare Workstation is more powerful and offers similar features to those above, but better resource management in general.

Re:VirtualBox or VM Workstation (5, Informative)

SilentChasm (998689) | about 2 years ago | (#41937567)

Your knowledge of VMware is a bit out of date.

VMware player can create virtual machines (and has for some time) and it is still free. It works well on Windows and Linux hosts.

Virtualbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937407)

VirtualBox hands down.

Hyper-v in Windows 8 (4, Informative)

sofakingon (610999) | about 2 years ago | (#41937427)

I've been working with VMware since ESX 3.5. It's still my virtualization platform of choice, but on my desktop, I now run Hyper-v. It's included as a role in Windows 8, and is painless to install and configure.

Re:Hyper-v in Windows 8 (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41937463)

Can Hyper-V support virtual networks that are host only? One of the cool things about VMWare is I can setup a virtual network to test out Windows 2012 server and Windows XP/7 clients and Exchange installations by making them all host-only and interacting with each other ala a virtual network.

Can you do this under Windows 8 or is it just one copy or multiple copies of win 7 that can't communicate?

Re:Hyper-v in Windows 8 (1)

thoth (7907) | about 2 years ago | (#41937483)

I use Hyper-V at work since I need to have a bunch of Windows VMs around. It's pretty nice. But I tried installing linux, either Fedora or Ubuntu, and it bombed out. Plus it ties you to Windows.

Since the poster mentioned possibly moving to a linux host in the future, and also mentioned wanting to run linux VMs, I'd rule Hyper-V right out of consideration.

I'd go with VirtualBox just on cost alone. If that doesn't suit your (poster's) needs, then you can shell out some money for VMWare.
Xen is not the way to go for beginners. For that I'd buy the "Art of Xen" book and come back to it later.

Re:Hyper-v in Windows 8 (1)

jt-socal (1190801) | about 2 years ago | (#41937771)

I was using Virtual Box and recently switched to Hyper-v. Hyper-V makes it easy to start machines automatically at boot. Also, my CentOS 6.3 vbox runs great, especially with these Linux Integration Components installed: [] . Hyper-V seems faster, but have not measured.

What's your goal? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937431)

"To learn the use of virtual machines?"

This doesn't really mean anything. What's your real goal?

If you want to be able to run multiple OS combinations in order to learn more about OS configurations, that's a goal.
If you want to learn how to program with management tools like Chef, that's a goal.
If you want to abstract some service (to make it independent from the hardware), that's a goal.

Virtualization provides two things:
1 - Isolation from the physical hardware.
2 - Management of the system independent from the hardware (i.e. you can move a VM from one physical host to another, you can copy/clone a VM, etc.)

What is it you're trying to do? It makes a difference in what recommendations make sense!

VirtualBox is free-ish, which is attractive if you want to play on your desktop, i.e. to just have multiple OS for you to "play" with.
VMWare ESXi is free-ish, but takes over the computer it's running on. Really great launchpad if you want to learn about management (it's the exact same as the full fledged vSphere, separated only by a license key), but really annoying if you want to use the computer to do something else (other than virtualization)
Xen is a great free alternative to ESX, but not quite as polished (IMO)
If you're on a Mac and just want to do some desktop stuff, then both parallels and vmware fusion work well (and on Windows or Linux, VMWare Workstation works well)

I'm sure there are other options as well, but it's hard to recommend one without understanding what you're actually trying to _do_......

Maybe the goal is the most simple one?? (0)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41937533)

its similar to the great answer of JFGI when given an answer maybe this person needs to do some ground work in VMs just so that he can ask questions in an intelligent manner before dropping money on %stuff%.

a challenge for the Slashmind

where can i find a Blender material set for download that includes Silk, Satin and Velvet?? (bonus points if you know where the blendermats collection can be downloaded NOT FROM ESNIPS.COM)

please note only actual live download links will work

Depends upon your actual goals. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937447)

VMware and VirtualBox are really the two most common and will be the most usable for beginners and the most likely to be used in a workplace environment. If this is for personal use only though, and you don't need the skills to later translate directly into a work environment then Xen or QEMU are really better options depending on the goal of the project. Arguably, neither is as simple to get into as VMware or VirtualBox but both offer more versatility, and QEMU in particular provides a more "under the hood" experience as well a suite of tools for translating virtual machines/disks from one format to another. None of which really matters though if all you want to do is get a "push here dummy" virtual machine up and running. In which case I'd go with VirtualBox, but if you want to learn (and at times pull out your hair) I'd opt for QEMU.

I really wish /. editors would stop pushing questions that don't provide the kind of details one needs to provide an informed answer, rather than the sort of popularity contest questions we keep seeing.

VirtualBox for platform agnosticy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937477)

VirtualBox gives you the best cross-platform experience: No matter what your host platform is, the UI will be (close to) the same. This might matter, if you want your host to be Windows (at work), Linux (at home) or Mac (Notebook) and carry your VMs around e.g. on an eSATA or USB3 drive.

Re:VirtualBox for platform agnosticy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937857)

the UI will be (close to) the same

And that only matters if you actually want to use the's entirely usable with no UI. The biggest selling point of VirtualBox, for me, is Vagrant. I like to script my VMs and Vagrant allows me to do that very easily and in a way that allows our team to collaborate on shared VM configurations without sharing the actual VMs.

I would recommend (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937479)

ANy of them you fucking idiot.

Just explained to my wife you don't ask questions like that on slashdot.

VirtualBox (2)

X3J11 (791922) | about 2 years ago | (#41937493)

I too recommend VirtualBox. I use it on my desktop Win 7 machine as well as my four year old notebook running Linux Mint. The fact that it's more-or-less free, and essentially identical on both platforms is a definite advantage. Thus far I've used it to play with various LInux distributions and FreeDOS/MS-DOS. I've even been messing with Windows 98 SE and OS/2 Warp lately, although they required a bit of head scratching to get running.

Re:VirtualBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937649)

The addon in virtual box that makes a "seamless" desktop is awesome. Run windows apps alongside *nix apps in one desktop.

I use vbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937515)

Virtualbox has crappy 3d support and the virtualized usb works.... sometimes... mostly...
That said, the python/c++ api they made for it is insanely complete (even if it lacks good documentation). I can control the most minute aspect of a running VM.

It is also (mostly) open source...

If you don't care about this, install the oses you care about in vmware and vbox and see which runs better. Nothing beats first hand experience.

VMWare, simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937519)

VMWare is simple and easy for beginners and there is a lot of third part support for things like VM backups that are also free. []

I use VMWare at home on a HP DC7700 business desktop that I picked up that my work was giving away and I have it in our lab at work running on those same type of desktops. I have 6GB ram in them. My home ESXi has 3 network cards. I run my IPCOP router on one card, my "blue" network on another, and my "green" on the third. One cheap desktop running ESXi replaced my white box IPCOP router and allows me to run 4 additional general purpose virtual machines as well. I currently have Ubuntu, 2 Windows 7 machines, and 2 XP machines on it now but not all run at the same time. The internal SATA disk in it is kindof slow but I mount another VMFS via NFS from a second Linux machine. None of that is required though.

If ESX comes with support for all of your hardware, setting it up is literally, sticking in the CD, booting it, configuring a console IP and network settings and the password. Unplg the monitor and KB and you are done. The rest it through the client which you can download directly from the ESX server web interface. If you have hardware that is not built into the kernel, you may be able to find the drivers or you are out of luck.

I've been using ESX in very large production environments for over 7 years so my idea of easy to setup and use may be a little biased because I am used to it.

I also maintain HyperV clusters, it works but no where near the ease of setup.

VirtualBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937521)

Definitely VirtualBox. You can literially download an operating system's ISO,fire up VirtualBox, hit "Next" a couple of times and you're done. You don't have to know jack about virtual machines to use it and the menus are very user friendly. It's not something I'd use for serious work, but for learning the ropes it can't be beat.

NOT VirtualBox (4, Funny)

Dan East (318230) | about 2 years ago | (#41937531)

This negative comment was necessary to counterbalance the huge number of positive comments that are recommending VirtualBox. It's a yin-yang thing.

Re:NOT VirtualBox (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 2 years ago | (#41937579)

Seriously. Where are all the Microsoft Virtual PC fans? There has to be at least one out there.

Re:NOT VirtualBox (1)

mcl630 (1839996) | about 2 years ago | (#41937919)

I doubt it. Avoid VPC like the plague.

VirtualBox in Xen or Xen in VirtualBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937539)

Ive used most of the mentioned VM solutions - VirtualBox and VMWare are just install-and-go. VBox seems the best for hassle-free try-it - especially if layered on a supported platform (VMs on Linux are at the mercy of the kernel changing on every release).

I would echo the sentiment that try one -- any one; learn it foibles or limitations (you may be hard pressed to find them), and if unhappy, try another.

I recently tried to get virtualbox to run inside Xen. It wont. But Xen inside VirtualBox - was impressed it worked enough to debug a problem at the kernel level, and I use VMWare for some things (keep running out of disk with so many vms).

The only one I havent tried is OpenVZ - may have to try that one day

Hypervisor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937547)

If you have a spare machine that you can use uiu really can't beat ESXi. It is fast easy and no knowledge is required on most machines. It has great support for most hardware.

I would street clear of desktop virtualization, unless you have a heafty desktop. You will get so much better performance out of something that is bare metal and you can try all of them to see what is best for you.

The systems that I hear most in the enterprise are VMware, Hyper V, KVMand VirtulBox.

I wouldn't go down an unknown or non enterprise path if I were you so your knowledge from this is transferrable to your paycheck and your results are easily reproduced.

VirtualBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937561)

For beginners, hands down, VBox.

Virtualized gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937563)

What VM solutions would I be best served by if I wanted a virtual windows 7 machine to game on? I was recommended Xen initially. Is it possible to achieve nearly the same performance as a standalone system if I purchase the right hardware?

Re:Virtualized gaming? (1)

corychristison (951993) | about 2 years ago | (#41937665)

KVM recently introduced PCI passthru. If you buy a second card you can pass it through to the guest and it can utilize it 100%.

The downside is that you either need a second monitor, or have a monitor with multiple inputs and will have to manually switch your screen input (not a bad solution though).

I honestly don't know how stable this is nor have i tried it.

VMware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937573)

Do you want to remain ignorant than pick one that has few options and is dummied down for a beginner. Or you could pick what businesses use and want to see on a resume. I use Virtualbox and VMware at home as I have different needs that each provide. But VMware is my choice as it is faster and offers more options.

Beginner beginner? (1)

jdkc4d (659944) | about 2 years ago | (#41937595)

Look around the internet and see if you can find some free virtual machines somewhere that you can download. Vmware used to offer some, I expect the still do. Go with whatever software the VM is made for. Just to get your feet wet, to get you an idea of whats going on. You can branch out from there. There are lots of virtualization suites. Once you are comfortable playing with those, try building one yourself. It's not difficult, but having an example to refer might be helpful. It's not that hard, but good luck anyway.

What I started with (2)

mrmaster (535266) | about 2 years ago | (#41937597)

Virtualbox was my first hands-on experience with virtual machines. Easy to use and free. VMWare Workstation is really nice but pricey for home use. VMWare Player has worked in spots where Virtualbox has not. It was just one issue but it cost me a lot of wasted time. Once you are comfortable with products like virtualbox or VMware workstation/player the next step would be something like Xen or ESX.

Who cares? Its not rocket science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937615)

Honestly, I really really don't see why people make VMs out to be the big deal that they are.

VMware gives you all the tools for Vsphere/ESXi to use a GUI with it, sure they have their own commands, but seriously they have dumbed everything down so much that is pretty painless to manage pretty much anything from a Windows, Mac, or Linux desktop.

Just finished my CCNA and didn't see what the big deal was about the cert to be honest. Realistically you can look everything up online. They even recommend in the books that you subnet using websites that do all of the work for you.

mod! down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937617)

fear the rea4er else to be an

What do you mean by "learn"? (1)

mewyn (663989) | about 2 years ago | (#41937625)

Virtual machines are just a "computer within a computer", there's nothing about virtual machines per se that you won't really know from using modern computers. You will need to know specifics on software packages and tools for those packages, but those are very specific to the brand of virtualizing that you're doing.

Learning "virtual machines" is kind of meaningless in and of itself, and unless you have a pressing need to become an expert in a specific package, don't tie yourself to anything specific. If you're just trying to run linux and windows (or something similar) just do it; or if you're planning on an OS zoo, do that.

As far as desktop software goes, virtualbox is decent for free; but I've found it to be unstable if it's pushed too hard. Vmware workstation is much more stable, but a pain to pony up the cost.

Sigh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937631)

Look, this gets complicated and there's professionals that do's good for you to learn. And I'm going to get downmodded, but I'm an AC so I don't give a damn.

You're asking about virtualization, you know what it is. So you're either competent, or you're some MCSE that needs to be babysat to learn how to wipe his own ass without taking the network down.

That stated
* If you can't figure out virtualbox, you're an idiot.
* If you can't figure out vmware player, you're probably an idiot -- but maybe you thought it would let you set up machines instead of just run them.
* If you can't figure out vmware workstation, you're an idiot
* If you can't figure out vsphere or ESXI, you don't know how to use google. Start with vmware player or workstation and try again later.
* If you can't figure out Xen, you haven't tried to read the damned instructions or checked Google for ten minutes.

Finally, I suspect -- but have not verified that if you can't figure out HyperV, you probably also have something wrong with you.

Now, if you're trying to do something beyond just run them and do the basics, your questions might get interesting. Setting up hot failover, shared storage, snapshot management... these would be good questions. You've just asked the damned equivalent of how to install an operating system or start word and betrayed that you haven't even tried it, or aren't competent enough to try it.

It's literally a 10 minute task from install to running a new VM to do all of these in the basic non hardware hypervisor platforms.

Figure it the fuck out and come back with real questions.

VMWare and Virtualbox are both pretty simple... (2)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 2 years ago | (#41937633)

... self-explanatory really. Just try 'em out. I'd recommend VMWare for Windows clients because the integration feels a bit more polished, but you can't really go wrong with either one.

There's more than one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937667)

I don't consider myself a beginner but I thought VMware dominated this industry. It's all I ever use.

Try them all (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41937687)

Then decide.

Warning! (Non-Douche Answer Contained Within Post) (1)

ski9826 (2541112) | about 2 years ago | (#41937697)

I use both VirtualBox and VMware Workstation. I prefer the VMware, but VirtualBox is free...I like, for personal use, of those 2 options, I would use VurtualBox.

Virtualboxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937703)

A very cool thing about Virtual Box is that you can download several images pre-installed with free OS's. Sometimes the guest additions are already even installed for you. Its a great way to see why this "FreeBSD" is all about, or try out some more exotic OS's, like, ReactOS. Just download the file and point a new virtual machine to it. Get the images here [] .

sure fire way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937709)

I recommend using kvm on a 32-bit host & then swearing for hours at the machine because it doesn't work & finally banging your head on the keyboard until it's so full of blood that it don't work neither...

Always start with free... (3, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | about 2 years ago | (#41937719)

... if the option is even halfway decent. In this case, start with Virtual Box. It runs, and runs inside, all major platforms. If you have a Linux ISO or Windows CD you can go from zero to a working VM in about 30 minutes. There's nearly no learning curve to get your first VM up and running, and IF it doesn't fit your needs, you can start looking to see if it has options that you aren't aware of, followed by looking at alternatives.

That said, VirtualBox has fit my needs (mainly testing) just fine for years. VM software is like word processors: they're all pretty comparable and 90% of people's needs can be met by any one of them.

Hyper-V (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937727)

For Windows hosts, Get Win8 Pro Upgrade for $40 and Hyper-V is available at no extra charge. Just enable and reboot. I installed Debian Wheezy on it two days ago. Runs great. With CentOS (or RedHat or Windows or SUSE) guests, you get the Windows Integration Services guest tools, and with a little work, you can use them on Debian and (I hear) Ubuntu. Rumor has it that Microsoft is going to add Debian "officially" at some future date, but I'm skeptical about that one.

VMWare Workstation (1)

wadeal (884828) | about 2 years ago | (#41937749)

VMWare Workstation is better than full blown Hyper V even IMO:

Better inter-connectivity with your desktop (IE. copy and paste works 100%).

Better video performance.

Better usability (it isn't the same key combination for ctrl alt del as will lock the host unlike Hyper V if you're RDPd).

Better network configuration BY FAR (Last time I checked you can configure 10 virtual networks, each with DHCP if required and as either NAT, Direct to your external network or Private).

But then VMWare Workstation costs about $200. If money is your main factor then buy Windows 8 with that $200 instead and have inbuilt Hyper V that will do basically what you want and have Windows 8 to learn as well (But you can always learn Windows 8 virtualized with the 180 day trial). Hyper V is a good product for it's price (free basically) and does do something things better (ie Console Connection, Memory Management etc).

If money isn't your main factor and you can afford $200 then I highly recommend buying VMWare Workstation - For what you want to do (visualize on your own desktop) it is the best product available by far.

VMWare is the only real option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937755)

I've used and continue to use all of them. HyperV loves to lock up (the entire hypervisor) for no reason, VirtualBox is good but doesn't have the hardware support you're likely to want, and Xen is... ugh.. no. Just no.

If you have a spare machine laying around, try the free bare metal VMWare hypervisor, ESXi. I've used it in high-exposure, publicly accessible corporate environments, and currently use it both at home and on a dedicated machine I rent from At work, our entire infrastructure is virtualized with a licensed (i.e., paid for) three machine ESX cluster.

If you don't have a spare machine, my advice isn't likely to be popular, but it's the best solution when it comes to compatability, support, and performance: Install windows and buy a copy of VMWare Workstation for it. Workstation has a lot of great management features that the free ESX does not have as well.

Plenty of other options will "work", but none will work as well as VMWare, period.

VMWare Fusion on OS X (1)

The Infamous Grimace (525297) | about 2 years ago | (#41937813)

I've been using VMWare Fusion on OS X for a few years to run WinXP & 7 as well as Ubuntu. It's gotten steadily better and faster over time, and I have no issues. I've also tried VirtualBox, used it on both OS X and Ubuntu hosts, and while it's good it's not as polished as Fusion. I've never used Parallels, but recent reviews tend to give it a slight advantage over Fusion.

I'd suggest that you try the demos for Fusion and Parallels, see if either is worth the cost or if the free alternative works well enough for your needs.

Re:VMWare Fusion on OS X (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 2 years ago | (#41937945)

I'd suggest that you try the demos for Fusion and Parallels, see if either is worth the cost or if the free alternative works well enough for your needs.

The original poster's going to start out using Windows as the host, and possibly switch to Linux later, so "VMware Workstation" rather than "VMware Fusion" is the name of the product they want to look at. For Parallels, it's Parallels Workstation (rather than Parallels Desktop, which is the version for OS X hosts).

Other than that, yes, try demos - and bear in mind that, for the non-free-as-in-beer version, switching from Windows to Linux as the host may mean buying another copy.

OP again, can ne1 help? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41937825)

BTW, which is one better, GNOME or KDE? My friend said it's whichever one I preferred, but I think he only said that because he doesn't really know, LoL. I mean, one of them has to be better, right?

I mean, really, what is this? Since Dice Holdings took over, does ./ now have to run weekly charity posts or something to improve its image and "accessibility"?

News for nerds, stuff that matters, and the velveteen touch of kindly old sysadmins. Watch as their eyes twinkle with delight at being able to help you solve why Outlook won't let you download that CuteKitties.VBS attachment some nice stranger sent you!

VMware Workstation (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 2 years ago | (#41937855)

For software test scenarios, I find VMware Workstation has just about everything you'd ever want. Its snapshotting feature is especially impressive, if you're diligent about it. Example: You install Windows, clean from the disc, that's a snapshot. Then you run Windows Update a zillion times to get everything up to date, that's a snapshot. Then say it asks you if you want to upgrade from Internet Explorer 7 to Internet Explorer 8. You do; that's a snapshot. Now you can flip back and forth between the two states of the VM; now you have IE7, now you have IE8. Now let's say you want to install something else in addition to the base Windows install. You can install it on both snapshots -- once on the IE7 state, and once on the IE8 state. Now the two VM states have diverged, and VMware forks them for you. You can then keep going, making new snapshots along each fork. And so on ... and you can actually navigate around your little branching tree of snapshots with a GUI, resetting the machine to the state you want, whenever you want. It's very useful. That said, it looks like the current list price is $250, so that might be out of range for someone who just wants it "for personal use."

It used to be hard (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41937923)

Now it isn't.
All of the above work well and stuff like virtualbox is a free download away.
In some cases I've migrated live systems to virtual with nothing more than clonezilla and virtualbox on what must have been close to the default settings.

!openstack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41938059)

stay away - this is an overzealous project, attempting to lasso in too many continuous moving parts. The ambition is great, but in today's market, I don't give a shit about learning some BS abstraction API layer. When the underlying vendor changes his/her design adds features etc, I don't want to wait for the feature, I want it now.

Open standards are great, but seriously things have gotten to the point of ridiculousness with everyone and their momma trying to enforce their own form of open. I will hands down choose Amazon over Crapspace any day

KVM, VirtualBox, depends (2)

caseih (160668) | about 2 years ago | (#41938075)

If you want to do virtualization of servers (most likely headless), then KVM is going to work great. The VMs on these machines you'll likely work with remotely. There are desktop clients for KVM or Xen, such as virt-manager or gnome-boxes, but I find video drivers, particularly in Windows are slow and lack OpenGL or DirectX support. virt-manager is nice for managing a cluster of KVM or Xen machines. You can use one instance of virt-manager to connect to any number of hosts and manage them or view their consoles.

I have a local server for the house that runs KVM virtual machines. I've got several Linux vms for trying out things, and I have a Windows XP instance that I access using rdesktop over the network. I also have two xen-based virtual machines hosted by Linode in data centers.

Gnome Boxes is an attempt to make creating local KVM virtual machines as easy as VirtualBox or VMWare, if you do want to us KVM for desktop virtualization.

For local desktop virtualization, VirtualBox or VMware are still your main options (Parallels being a non-free option). You'll probably want to just start there. Desktop virtualization can do things like integrate a windows desktop in a VM with your linux desktop so you can go between windows and linux windows (never as slick as you think it's going to be, but it works).

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