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Recently, the term "virtual machine" can be heard more and more often from advanced PC users. It has become very relevant. The most important thing is to understand which software is best to use for it. The two most popular variants of virtual machines are VirtualBox and VMWare. You need to figure out what their features are and which one is better to choose.
The concept of virtualization and virtual machine
First you need to understand what virtualization is. This term refers to a way of getting the capabilities of operating systems
without installing them. The OS will have to download and install the required programs. However, now you can avoid working with a hard drive and BIOS.
There are a large number of virtualization machines. The most popular are VirtualBox and VMWare. They have similarities and differences, advantages and disadvantages. We will help you choose the most suitable platform
Availability and cost of virtual machines
Many people choose a platform for virtualization based on its price and availability. VirtualBox and VMWare differ significantly in these parameters.
VirtualBox is the most common virtual machine. Programmers use open source code to develop it. This makes it available anywhere in the world. And you can download it absolutely free. Using the platform also does not require any investment. Therefore, it can be used by beginners who have just started virtualization.
Figure 1. Experience of using VirtualBox. Source.
VMWare is a paid program. It is developed in the form of several versions, each of which differs in functionality. It’s targeted at professional programmers
. There is also a free version of VMWarePlayer that can be used on a PC at home. The functionality there is limited, but it is enough for non-specialists.
Difference in the software installation process
Before starting work, the platform still needs to be installed on your computer, as well as the settings need to be set correctly. In terms of these parameters, the two virtual machines are similar, but there are still a few differences.
VirtualBox is installed manually. There is no automatic mode. During the installation, the settings open in which you need to specify the PC parameters. There they ask for data on the bit depth and type of OS, the memory space. You will also have to create a hard drive. Installation can be carried out from any external media.
The VMWare virtual machine can be installed automatically. The developers have created several templates for different operating systems. The user just needs to select the appropriate one, set the parameters and specify the image. The program will be installed on the PC on its own.
Virtual machine capabilities
Most of the differences can be found in the capabilities of the systems. As practice shows, VirtualBox has more advantages. Despite the fact that the program is free, it has broad capabilities.
- there is a possibility of video recording;
- USB support of any version;
- the ability to encrypt disks;
- you can take snapshots of the OS state;
- there is a screen integration;
- work through the command line is available.
But the program has one significant drawback. It does not support DirectX, which is very important for modern personal computers.
VMWare has advanced functionality. In addition, there is the possibility of automatic installation, which is important for busy people. The platform is easy to customize
. It supports BIOS and EFI. Thanks to support for DirectX 10 version, the program is suitable for gamers
. They will be able to run computer games.
The drawback of the system is the reduced functionality in the free version. Therefore, to access all the options, users will have to pay.
Virtual machine performance
Virtual machines run at the same speed as the host. This is due to the fact that virtualization is constantly being optimized and updated. It has technical support that quickly responds to emerging problems and fixes them.
Power users claim that there is scarcely no difference in performance between VirtualBox and VMWare. But some still think VMWare is slightly better.
Figure 2. Analysis of VMWare performance. Source.
Developers have created an individual licensing model for each program. Therefore, it is necessary to know the features of each of them.
VirtualBox software runs under the most popular GNU 2.0 license. It is constantly being updated and optimized. Version 6.1 is now available for installation. The developers have created a system not only with an open source key, but also with a private one. In a closed package, the functionality is expanded, and licensing is available absolutely free. In an open program - vice versa.
A license for VMWare costs about $ 250. It must be paid after the end of the trial period, which lasts 1 month. Its name is GNU versions 2.0 to 6.1.
Varieties of work
Virtual machines have software and hardware. Let's analyze the features of each of them.
Hardware virtualization is necessary to emulate the hardware on which the system is installed. For this type to work correctly, the software must support IntelVT-X. Such virtualization is launched only through the BIOS. VirtualBox and VMWare virtual machines support this type of work.
Software virtualization is required to emulate the guest platform. It reduces the load on the personal computer, but also its performance decreases. This function is suitable for weak computers that cannot handle the execution of powerful processes. Two-machine virtualization type only supports VirtualBox.
What operating systems do the programs work with?
VirtualBox is a general program. It can be installed on any operating system. VMWare does not have this capability. The platform is not suitable for all operating systems. It all depends on the version of the program. For example, VMWarePlayer is only compatible with Linux and Windows, while Fusion is suitable for macOS.
Differences in the interface
The VirtualBox program has an interface that is not at all complicated for novice users. Outwardly, it looks like a regular file manager. All words and phrases are written in accessible Russian. In the settings, you can change the language, display parameters, connect plugins.
To create a virtual machine, you need to follow a few simple steps.
- Select the "Machine" tab, and in the pop-up window - "Add".
- Come up with a name and specify the installation path for the program.
- You can complete the process by following the instructions that appear.
In VMWare, the interface is a little more complex. It is made in English. The platform has rich functionality. To install a virtual machine, press the "Create a New Virtual Machine" button, then select the installation path and operating system. Then you can go about your business. The program will be installed automatically.
Figure 3. Program maintenance mode. Source.
Both virtual machines have a shared folder feature. This means that the user can access the same files from both the host and the guest operating system. In applications, you need to manually create shared folders, and then transfer files there.