VirtualBox vs VMware – Comparison

VirtualBox vs VMware – Comparison

There’s an inevitable VirtualBox vs VMware comparison for any business looking to succeed in this day and time because, thanks to technological advancement, virtualization is the way to go.

With many businesses today, having to collaborate over a workforce dispersed in several locations, desktop virtualization using the best virtualization software is one way that these businesses are able to provide a hassle-free, secure and cost-effective solution for employees to access resources and applications needed to execute their job function from any location or device.

But it is not just desktop virtualization that businesses are latching on to and harnessing its potentials. Businesses today are also tilting towards server virtualization, as a revolutionary IT solution that presents capabilities that would have been impossible within any physical infrastructure. This server virtualization process offers a plethora of benefits such energy savings, reduced need for physical servers, desktop and server provisioning, less downtime and availability, better disaster recovery…and more.

 

VirtualBox vs VMWare Comparison

 

For the purpose of this VirtualBox vs VMWare comparison, we would be highlighting the strengths of both options to help our readers make a well thought out decision about virtualbox or VMWare as the best virtualization software for their business.

If you are comparing VirtualBox vs. VMware, then it is safe to say that you are looking for the one tool that can help your business create and also provision VMs (virtual machines) on desktop devices that run an x86-based platform.

To say that VMware is the clear market leader is an understatement. With two primary desktop offerings: VMware Player and VMware Workstation, VMware is, without doubt, one of the first virtualization software companies in the world.

Each virtual client offered by VMWare is able to flawlessly virtual machines but the VM Workstation has more features like Unity interface integration, dual-monitor support, and the capability to help you create virtual machines.

VirtualBox, on the other hand, is Oracle’s free and open-source solution which offers many of VMWare features despite hitting the market later than VMWare Workstation. VirtualBox works well with all x86 platforms including Linux, Windows, Solaris, and Mac.

VirtualBox also offers some unique features such as Command line interaction, Shared folders, and clipboard etc.

The importance of choosing the right option for virtualization in your business cannot be underestimated as it can help you cut IT labor costs, streamline the management of software assets, increase overall productivity and more.

Let’s look at both options individually!

 

What is VirtualBox?

If you are not sure if you should use VirtualBox or VMWare, then a good place to start would be “what is VirtualBox”.

VirtualBox is an application that enables cross-platform virtualization. What this simply means is that it is able to install on AMD-based computers or even your existing Intel, regardless of if they are running Linux, Windows, Solaris or Mac operating systems. Furthermore, VirtualBox can help expand the existing capabilities of your computer such that it is able to run multiple OS (in different virtual machines) simultaneously.

So, for instance, using a VirtualBox, you can run Linux and Windows on a Mac, or run Windows Server 2008 on a Linux server, or run Linux on Windows PC etc., all alongside existing applications. With VirtualBox, you can install and run a plethora of virtual machines with the only practical limits being your memory and disk space.

While the VirtualBox is deceptively simple, it is also quite powerful with the ability to run everywhere from small embedded systems to cloud environments and even datacenter deployments.

Now that we understand what VirtualBox is, the next best questions to ask would be “Is VirtualBox free?” and “Is VirtualBox safe?”.

Thankfully, we have provided answers to quell your curiosity.

Keep reading!

Is VirtualBox free?

As earlier mentioned above, VirtualBox is Oracle’s free and open-source solution which offers similar features to what VMWare offers and if there was anything better than an awesome functional software, it would be an awesome functional software that costs absolutely nothing.

VirtualBox has been passed on from one owner to another over the years, with Oracle as the current owners as of the time of this writing. But while owners have changed over time, the ideology of an open-source and free solution with loads of features similar to most paid alternatives has remained the same.

According to Oracle’s website, VirtualBox is “a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop, and embedded use”

VirtualBox is available for free on Linux, Mac, Windows and Solaris machines.

Now, that you know it is entirely free, it is okay for you to be skeptical about its safety because it is often said: “if you are good at something never do it for free”. So is VirtualBox safe?

 

Is VirtualBox safe?

For a plethora of activities, VirtualBox which is a type 2 hypervisor is 100% safe.  VirtualBox is basically a highly secure program that allows users to download and run OS as a virtual machine. With VirtualBox, users are able to abstract their hardware via complete virtualization thus guaranteeing a higher degree of protection from viruses running in the guest OS.

So the extent to which you consider your PC safe with the VirtualBox is dependent on how paranoid you really are, but the fact remains that with VirtualBox, the host operating system is not going to be affected by any virus that the guest system would possibly have.

According to the VirtualBox website, there are a few things you could do to ensure that you continue using the application securely.

  • Keep the software up to date
  • Restrict Network access to services that are considered critical
  • Do not execute VirtualBox with system privileges.
  • Stay updated about Oracle security updates.

 

Now that we have sufficiently understood what VirtualBox is, the pricing and safety, let’s take a look at VMWare as an alternative using the same standards as we just used for VirtualBox.

 

What is VMWare?

Founded in 1998, VMware is a cloud computing and virtualization software provider located in Palo Alto, California. Prior to VMware becoming a subsidiary of Dell Technologies, the software was originally acquired by EMC Corporation in 2004. This was until Dell Technologies acquired EMC in 2016. VMware’s virtualization technologies are based on a bare-metal hypervisor ESX/ESXi in the x86 architecture.

VMware is more of a combination of connected applications and tools than it is a single product. With VMWare, users can easily set up their own private cloud, to help them manage mobile devices in their corporate network, virtualize stuff and to protect endpoints.

To enable multiple virtual machines to run on one physical server, a hypervisor is installed on that physical server thus aiding in VMware server virtualization. Every VM is capable of running its own operating system (OS), and this simply means that several OS’s would be able to run simultaneously on a single physical server while sharing resources such as RAM and networking.

Now that we have sufficiently answered the “what is VMWare?” question, the next best questions to ask would be “Is VMWare free?” and “Is VMWare safe?”.

Thankfully, we have the answers you need further down in this article.

Keep reading!

 

Is VMWare free?

The answer to this question is usually why most virtualization enthusiasts tilt towards VirtualBox when it comes to the VirtualBox vs. VMWare comparison. This is because while VMWare comes with a price, VirtualBox is totally free.

While the VMware Workstation Player is free for non-commercial use, unlike VirtualBox, VMWare is not open source and this means that licensing fees vary between the standard kit, essential kit and acceleration kit with licensing costs reaching as much as $24,995.

VMWare has two primary desktop offerings: VMware Player and VMware Workstation and as of the time of this writing, the WorkStation Pro costs $249.99 with an upgrade costing $149.99. On the other hand, the WorkStation Player costs $149.99 with upgrade fees of $79.99.

VMWare also offers Fusion 10 Pro for local desktop virtualization and this is priced at $159.99 with an upgrade fee of $119.99.

At this point, it is safe to say, you have to be able to afford VMWare. The question, however, is, with the expense it comes with, is VMWare safe?

 

Is VMWare Safe?

VMWare is a proprietary tool and as such has a higher level of security and assurance than VirtualBox which is open source. However, like most other virtual machines are as vulnerable to many situations that physical machines are vulnerable to such as data loss or data corruption, viruses, hardware failures, and hackers.

While VMWare is quite safe with layers of protection to shield your information from phishing and malware, it is important that you not only severely limit access to your host machine, but you should also take extra security measures to limit interaction between the guest and the host.

To effectively protect your VMWare, it is essential that you secure the physical host machine first. While you are able to do a lot to shield an OS from attack, much of that protection would fail if a said malware or hacker were to gain physical access to the main box the OS runs on.

In a nutshell, while VMWare comes with layers of protection for the user against viruses and more, it is important for users to protect their VMWare just as they would protect a regular machine.

 

Summary: VirtualBox vs VMWare

Here’s a tabular VirtualBox vs VMWare comparison to help you decide which option is the best virtualization software for your needs.

VirtualBox VMWare WorkStation
License and Pricing VirtualBox is an open source solution and is FREE VMWare Workstation is proprietary and costs upwards of $200 with additional costs for upgrades
Hosting supported Platforms VirtualBox works perfectly across all platforms such as Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. VMWare supports Linux and Windows but Mac users have to purchase VMWare Fusion.
Speed of Host and Guest machines VirtualBox consumes less processor, memory and hard disk activity from the host machine. This makes the host machine function without a lag.

 

VirtualBox has a higher input and output disk access which makes it allows guest machines to work faster.

VMWare consumes too much data and resources from the host machine. This makes it slower in functionality than VirtualBox.
Snapshot Support:

 

Snapshots are essential for saving the specific state of a virtual machine and enable recovery in the case of an emergency.

VirtualBox supports snapshots. VMWare supports snapshots.
Safety and Reliability VirtualBox is open source and this leaves it vulnerable to attacks from several third-party sources. VMWare is a proprietary solution and is a much safer and reliable option compared to VirtualBox
USB Support and Speed of Transfer VirtualBox offers USB Support but data transfer between guest and USB device needs to be improved. VMWare offers a better USB Support compared to VirtualBox. Data transfer between guest and host machines is faster with VMWare
64 Bit and Virtualization Support While VirtualBox supports this function, it is not as good as its competitor If you would like to run operating systems that require hardware virtualization support or 64 Bit architecture, then VMWare is a much better option than VirtualBox.
3D Graphics Support Virtual Box offers limited support for 3D graphics (up to OpenGL 3.0).

 

This does not favor heavy users.

VMWare has a high-level 3D graphics support with DX10 and OpenGL 3.3 support.

 

This makes VMWare a better option for users who wish to have more than one or two VMs running simultaneously.

Conclusion: VirtualBox vs VMWare

We have come to the end of this VirtualBox vs VMWare comparison and here are our final thoughts on the subject matter.

Deciding if VirtualBox or VMWare is really the perfect solution for you is heavily reliant on your needs and preferences. While VirtualBox would suit a user looking for the customization and flexibility that the platform offers, another user looking for security, reliability and better 3D Graphics support would be better off with VMWare

Overall, VMWare is a better choice for enterprise uses but VirtualBox works excellently if you simply need to run VMs on a few machines without having to pay heavily for every upgrade.

We hope this article about VirtualBox vs WMware will add to your knowledge and will enable you to make better decision for your virtualization needs in future.

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