Friday, March 8, 2013

All come to Hypervisor (VirtualBox vs Hyper-V vs VMware)

For years, I was using VirtualBox as a best virtualization platform for my Lab testing environment. Thanks to its speed and ease of use, I deployed most of settings in my work infrastructure. 

Last time I had an issue with my SCCM 2012 SP1 Lab, that I needed to migrate whole Lab to different hypervisor. 

I migrated my Lab to VMware Workstation, and everything works as expected. Strange. This is only major advantage of VMware - high compatibility, everything works here just fine, but ergonomics and speed are frustrating. 


When I switch between host and guests, I need to constantly press Ctrl + Alt. Constantly! Until the VMware Tools are loaded in guest OS, clicking into guest machine will lock your input there. So you need to wait until VMware Tools start up in guest OS. When VirtualBox or Hyper-V virtual machine window is active, you don´t need to click into machine. You just type on keyboard and input is captured. For example boot from lan - I need just to press F12. I switch to VirtualBox/Hyper-V window, and start typing what I need. In VMware, I am forced to click into virtual machine and I am locked in! So here is the biggest pain - I need constantly unlock my input from VMware guest by pressing Ctrl+Alt. Is it so impossible to make an implementation of immediate capturing input in active window?

And also the fact that virtual machines windows are not separated is iritating. Why VMware? 


The biggest problem of VMware Workstation is - that it is so sloooooow. 

Well, in fact I needed to buy an SSD to achieve same speed in VMware as with HDD in VirtualBox! Is it worth of money? Sure it is not! I was in situation that after upgrading my System Center Lab to SP1, PXE deployments of OSes started to freeze VirtualBox client machines randomly in progress. No solution yet. Without SP1 this worked flawlessly. 

The virtualization market nowadays is in different condition when it was for last couple of years. The competitors are really promising. As VMware is focused mainly on virtualization, their products should not be backward behind competitors. 

Finally, I tried Hyper-V on my Windows 8 production machine, and this seems to be compromise. I migrated again my lab machines this time to Hyper-V. PXE does work as expected. No problems at all. Hyper-V seems to have lowest CPU/RAM demands. I/O operations are not as fast as in VirtualBox, but they are good and satisfactory. 

Below is a simple chart of desktop virtualization products from the my point of view, as I create and work with virtual machines daily.*

I made many speed and performance tests on these platforms, so in time I will post here some more posts with real and accurate numbers, how the hypervisors perform. 

*This is only my personal view on hypervisors and is based on my long time daily experience and HW I use.


  1. hierarchy?
    very good

  2. Thanks for advice, I´ve lost myself in rating. I updated the table. The next post will be about deep comparison of hypervisors in every aspect with accurate results.

  3. Yours was the second review I read that rates Hyper-V behind VirtualBox in terms of real-world usage. I saw a benchmark test that claimed that Hyper-V was marginally faster than VB, but it did not take into account real-world usage. Did you ever get around to writing up the post about the deep comparison? Thanks.