Virtual machines run an entire Operating System within a different Operating System. Whether you are testing an application or just want to get the feel of another OS, virtual machines are your tools.
However, choosing one of the many virtualization software available on the market can be overwhelming. Among those, VMware and VirtualBox are the ones that users recommend the most. But users can be in a sort of dilemma when choosing between VirtualBox and VMware. Although both virtual machines have advantages, some prefer one over the other.
Therefore, we are here to provide you with details about two of the most used Virtual machine, VirtualBox and VMware, so that you can make an informed decision.
VirtualBox Vs VMware
Before we begin, the term hostOS and guests will repeat multiple times when using a virtual machine. HostOS is the operating system on which you install the virtual machine. And the Guest OS is the operating system that you install within the hostOS.
First, let us discuss both VirtualBox and VMware along with their pros and cons.
VirtualBox was first released in 2007 and later was purchased by Oracle.
This is one of the best virtual machines for first-time users. Due to its user-friendly UI, the Virtualbox has become one of the popular choices.
VirtualBox can load multiple OS within the host Operating System. It also lets users start, pause or stop the OS with a click of a button.
Although VirtualBox is free for personal use, you need to buy a license from Oracle if you want to use it commercially. VirtualBox works on all Windows platforms, Mac, Solaris, and Linux. For commercial use, you can get Oracle VM VirtualBox Enterprise.
The software also supports OS such as Windows, Mac, Linux, IBM, and many more. You do not even need a separate operating system ISO file to install the OS.
Creating a new virtual machine also guides the user to set the appropriate amount of RAM. It takes lower resources, and you can also set the amount of primary memory and hard drive storage as your requirement.
One small disadvantage to using a VirtualBox could be that it does not let you run a graphics-intensive task in the guestOS. The application only lets you use a maximum of 128MB of video memory. Even if the HostOS has a separate GPU with higher GPU memory, you cannot set video memory of more than 128MB.
However, in contrast to graphical performance, VirtualBox supports software virtualization. Even if the virtual machines use a different platform compared to the host OS, software virtualization can run these VMs.
As VirtualBox uses fewer resources, it also runs faster compared to VMware. Besides this, the installation process and boot time are much quicker if you use VirtualBox.
- Easy to install
- Beginners Friendly
- Can run multiple VM simultaneously
- Better boot time
- Supports Software virtualization
- Supports snapshot on both personal and enterprise edition
- Limits GPU memory (128MB) and therefore cannot handle the graphics-intensive task
- The virtual OS may have issues connecting with peripheral devices
VMware workstation was first introduced in 1999 by VMware. VM in VMware stands for Virtual Machines. Although VirtualBox is the more popular one, experienced users mostly prefer VMware. Besides this, VMware is also free for personal use. However, you need to get a license to use it commercially.
VMware for commercial use is VMware ESXi. This is a type-1 hypervisor that operates directly on the server and does not require a separate operating system. Since it is a commercial software mostly used for bigger enterprises, it also performs more efficiently than the free version.
VMware supports up to DirectX 10 and 2GB of graphical memory. Due to this, users mostly prefer VMware if they want to run a single virtual machine on the host OS. Since VMware has fewer restrictions on hardware access, you can conveniently use most of the hostOS’s resources.
Due to VMware’s flexibility to use many resources, its guestOS can perform much better than VirtualBox’s guestOS. However, one disadvantage to using a lot of resources would be that you can only run a certain number of Operating systems on VMware.
VMware developed VMware Fusion to install the virtual machine for macOS, whereas Linux and Windows use VMware Workstation Player.
- better performance
- lets you use GPUs full power
- Supports a rollback feature
- mostly used for larger organizations
- Supports DirectX 10 and OpenGL 3.3
- Complex UI for first-time users
- Requires a separate OS ISO file
- Uses a lot of system resources
- Can run slower compared to VirtualBox
- Does not support snapshot
Some Key Differences Between VirtualBox and VMware
|Virtualization||Supports both Hardware and Software virtualization.||Supports hardware virtualization only.|
|Graphical support||Supports up to 128MB video memory, DirectX 3D 9, and OpenGL 3.0||Supports 2GB video memory, OpenGL 3.3, and DirectX 10.|
|GuestOS support||Linux, Windows, macOS, Solaris, IBM||Any OS as long as you have it ISO file.|
|GuestOS Recovery||Offers a snapshot on both personal and commercial use||Offers snapshot on enterprise edition only|
|Virtual Disk Format||VHD (Virtual Hard Disk), HDD, VDI (Virtual Disk Image), VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk)||VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk) only|
|Installation||Install any OS using the software. Does not require a separate OS file.||Need a separate operating system ISO file to install a guest OS|
|UI||It provides a beginner-friendly and easy-to-use user interface. It supports GUI (Graphical User Interface) as well as CLI (Command User Interface)||Its GUI can be difficult and hard to follow for first-time users. However, it does also has a CLI.|
|Cost||Free as long as it is used for personal use. However, you need to pay for commercial use. It is also an open-source application.||Vmware Workstation Player is a free application for personal use.|
Note: Snapshot is a special feature that allows a virtual machine to backup your VM’s disk file. You can use this snapshot to restore if your VM runs into any problems.
Some Similarities Between VMware and VirtualBox
Both VMware and VirtualBox use type 2 hypervisor if you use them for personal use. These are installed as an application on your main operating system. Similarly, VMware’s and VirtualBox’s enterprise editions use a type 1 hypervisor.
Both VMware and VirtualBox use hardware virtualization. One small difference being that VirtualBox uses both hardware and software virtualization.
Which is Better: VirtualBox or VMware?
Both VirtualBox and VMware run a similar setup, and each one is better than the other in some aspect. However, if you are just getting into virtualization, it is ideal to use VirtualBox. Due to its simple UI, guestOS installation, and minimum hardware resource usage, VirtualBox is a great application for virtualization for beginners.
If you have some experience using virtualization software, you may have issues with VirtualMachine. That being, the software has resource restrictions. Meaning that the guestOS will perform poorly. Therefore, if you want a faster-performing guestOS, VMware is an ideal choice.
Does my PC have Hyper V?
Most computers nowadays come with HyperV. To check if your system supports HyperV, you can open System Information.
- Press the Windows + R key to open Run.
msinfo32.exeand press Enter to open System Information
- On the left panel, click on System Summary.
- Scroll down on the right panel and check Hyper-V.