Technical Recipes

How to choose Virtual Machine software

Before we purchase a hosting plan, we need to practice how to do Linux system installation, network configuration and how to set up deployment environment of the web application. Linux in a virtual machine is a good way to learn about Linux. So we don't aim at the fancy features from the various VM vendors, and probably we just choose free software.
 
There are mainly three choices for you to download and try:
 
    - VMware Player (VMware)
    - Virtual Box (Oracle)
    - Virtual PC (Microsoft)
 
I've actually tried them all and documented how to configure static IP on CentOS and Debian using VMWare Player and Virtual Box which is available in the next post. I think VMWare Player is still the "mainstream".
 
Below are some people's opinions quoted from the references:

"The two major factors in choosing virtual solutions for me are the cost and the reliability. On the reliability scale, VMWare is probably the most reliable, Microsoft Virtual PC is a little less reliable, and VirtualBox is the least reliable. VirtualBox suffers from continual redevelopment and one must choose the version carefully to get one with the least problems and the needed features. I still prefer VirtualBox but I don't install every version that is available. VMWare is the most costly version, followed by VirtualBox and then Microsoft Virtual PC. VirtualBox costs more than Microsoft Virtual PC even though they are both free. The extra cost of VirtualBox is in time and testing to verify that one has a "good" version of it that fits the requirements. While there is less testing with Microsoft Virtual PC, it also lacks many features of VirtualBox.
 
Microsoft VirtualPC has a little bit worse performance than VirtualBox but it also supports older Windows Operating Systems such as Windows 95, 98 and ME better than Virtual Box. VirtualBox has slightly better performance than Virtual PC but only fully supports Windows NT through Windows 7 or Linux Guests. I haven't tested VMWare but it seems to have better support for 3D graphics and might be more suitable for playing 3D games."
 
"If you have a CPU with hardware support for virtualization there will only be a slight loss of performance in comparison to run a native system."
 
"I've tried several desktop virtualization platforms and found vmware workstation is the most effective tool for development activities. Rich in features, configurable, good performance, and it provides up to 8 different network segments to easily run many VMs in a full intranet environment."
 
"VirtualBox is almost as feature rich as VMware, but in my experience, it has a relatively slower performance, especially for full-gui-resource-intensive VMs."

"As Far as VMware vs VirtualBox goes, yes VMware is more "mainstream" (The package you're looking for is "VMware Server") but VirtualBox is actually more stable in my experience. I've tried both and had a lot more luck with virtualbox."
 
"VirtualBox has a lot of cool features as well, such as 'Seamless Windows'. Once you install the Guest Additions, you can use your host and guest operating system seamlessly."