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Re: [LUG] VMWare vs Virtualbox


On 15/03/17 16:10, Martin Gautier via list wrote:
> Is it just me or does Virtualbox seem to perform better than VMWare
> Workstation under Ubuntu?
> I've been virtualising Desktop OSes for 5-6 years using VMWare and
> historically been successful. The last 18 months or so with various
> versions of Ubuntu and VMWare on my host I've found the performance of
> my host and guests to be massively slow - both freezing with loads of
> disk activity but no obvious processes hogging my cycles.
> This week I bit the bullet, installed Virtualbox and created a new Win7
> guest - latest patches, Office 2016 and Adobe Photoshop 2017.
> It whizzes along quite happily and doesn't effect the host at all.
> I'm considering migrating fully but the thought of having Oracle
> software on my PC grates somewhat...

Heavy user of both here, also (mostly) on an Ubuntu host, but without
knowing a lot more about your underlying platform it's impossible to
rule out confounding variables. Both are heavily tied to the kernel -
both prefer newer ones - and your disk subsystem just for a start.

Anecdotally, Virtualbox has been strong for a while now for the older
and more stable Windows systems - I too have a full fat Win7 client VM
with Office 2016 + Adobe Everything that I use to test client stuff and
it's always been rock solid. If anything, it's got faster as the VBox
code has improved.

Also completely anecdotal and somewhat skewed as I use VMWare
Workstation pretty much exclusively for OSX VMs these days, but yes, in
my opinion Workstation has got a bit clunky recently. It does run better
on Windows hosts than Linux ones though. VBox is pretty impressive and
generally quicker on both systems as hosts though.

Main caveat is that VBox on Linux hosts doesn't do "balloon memory"
management so when a guest VM with 8Gb RAM allocated starts up, VBox
immediately grabs and reserves all of it from main system RAM. VMWare is
far more elegant and only grabs what the VM needs so if you want to run
a lot of guests you're memory rather than CPU bound.

VMWare is also more stable and boring, with few updates - VBox has had
multiple minor regression fixes just in the last couple of weeks
however. Which quite possibly could be considered a good thing I guess.

I *do* share your concern about Oracle - as a huge fan of the
magnificent Sun Microsystems I have even more reason to despise them
than most but Virtualbox weirdly does seem to be the one single piece of
technology inherited from Sun that Oracle hasn't ruined. What does worry
me a little is that of course this could end at any time but the open
source version of VBox is nearly feature-comparable.

Best answer: use VMWare only if the boss is paying for it and you
interact with proper ESXi boxes a lot, or must have OSX VMs outside of
Fusion. Otherwise, VBox on Windows or Linux hosts is free and arguably
completely at parity, if not better in some use cases. Use the VMDK disk
format for both and you can easily migrate your VMs between the
platforms anyway. Stick with Oracle VBox for now safe in the knowledge
that the de-Oracled FLOSS VBox is there to fall back on if they ever
decide to kill it.

Having said all that, I'd be inclined to blame something else other than
VMWare for your last 18 months of awful performance versus VBox - sure,
I prefer VBox myself but haven't had anything like that kind of issue
with VMWare either.


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