Five Reasons to use VMware Workstation instead of VirtualBox

[UPDATED 25-Feb-2008] After a little research, it looks like I'll be sticking with VMware Workstation a while longer even though I would prefer VirtualBox because it is free and open source [UPDATE: partially open source].

The post, "5 reasons why you should use VirtualBox, instead of VirtualPC or VMware," by mickeyckm -- and particularly the comments -- gave me a lot of good info. But I decided to take the flipside in this post.

1. VMware supports both 32-bit and 64-bit host and guest operating systems. VirtualBox supports 64bit hosts but only 32bit guests.
2. VMware supports moving virtual machines with their snapshots. VirtualBox does not support moving snapshots.
3. VMware s
upports two-way Virtual SMP and you can assign one or two processors to virtual machines. VirtualBox doesn't have immediate plans to support SMP.
4. I believe VMware has better support for DirectX graphics.
5. VMware makes it much easier to create a Virtual Machine from an existing native (installed) OS compared to VirtualBox.

There are also reasons to use VirtualBox. One is that, like I mentioned above, it is free and open source. VirtualBox is a good product and I would like to use it. However, if item number two above remains true (snapshots in VirtualBox are broken), that pretty much rules out any chance for me to use VirtualBox instead of VMware.

I'm hoping someone shows me I'm wrong and that VirtualBox matches VMware feature-for-feature on the requirements that are most important to me, but my research so far makes that seem unlikely.

[UPDATE] My theme in this post has been that VirtualBox is open source and that VMware is not. That is not completely true.
VirtualBox has both a closed source version and an open source version. VMware also supports the open source community and Linux. See this link:

And, when it comes to VirtualBox, two absolute must-have features are not available in its open source version. USB support and Remote Desktop (RDP) as well as the USB over RDP and iSCSI initiator features are not available in the open source version! So even the most compelling (perceived) advantage of VirtualBox starts to break down a bit upon closer examination. VirtualBox is not completely open source. (And VMware is not completely outside the open source community).

Finally,  Sun Microsystems has acquired VirtualBox as of this month (February 2008). This acquisition raises a few questions about the future open source status of VirtualBox. I think most of us expect that there will continue to be a free and open source version of VirtualBox, but there will probably be more and more features that get released only in versions that generate revenue -- otherwise a for-profit company would not be able to justify paying the cost to purchase the company making VirtualBox. Sun has to have a strategy for profiting from VirtualBox and that means their attention and energy will be placed on doing those things that generate revenue.

Sure, we'll have a free open source version of VirtualBox, but more of the resources will go into non-free versions.

Here are some resources:


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Here's one reason I chose VirtualBox over VMWare: you currently cannot virtualize an existing native Vista partition in VMWare (even with 2.0 beta), but I was able to do it in VirtualBox.

Sorry, but your Sun fears are completely unfounded...Sun from over a couple of years now have released most of their software under open source licenses... what makes you think they could revert that now?Java is fully open source, except for the bits of code that didn't belong to Sun to start with.... there's netbeans and openoffice (on staroffice you will only find clipart and some templates that aren't on OOo) that are fully open source... opensolaris is most of solaris under the CDDL... and new bits are released every now and then... I tend to think the opposite of what you said will happen, they probably will release the minimal parts of VBox that are not open sourced... and anyways, VMware only have some (minimal) parts open sourced, because they want to establish a standard under which all VMs are used... of course, they can always implement it better (it's their code after all!)... sounds a lot like OOXML case... thank God Xen people didn't take the bait with the VMI and all, Vbox is mostly OSS (not only 'partially' as you pointed out), while workstation is all propietary except for little bits... quite the opposite one and another... and btw, VBox binary version is also free... something you failed to say, and as read by your post, it sounds like you have to pay for the binary version...

I guess I'm just not sure what the big deal is here. I love the fact there is so much competition in the virtualization space these days and I just don't expect any one solution to be the answer to all the possible use cases for virtualization.Obviously VMware is king and it shouldn't be surprising that there are more 'enterprise' features available with their software. I use ESX for production apps that MUST be available and it is great, but I can't run it on my laptop. I do however run VMware Server and Virtualbox on my laptop. Virtualbox rocks for giving me Outlook with seamless mode and other Windows apps as I need them. I prefer VMware for testing server images, which I can later roll to ESX.Oh by the way, have you seen OpenVZ? Beats the pants off all these guys for Linux virtualization performance and even does relatively painless live migrations.Bottom line, pick the virtualization technology that best solves the problem at hand. Virtualbox is great for bring Windows to my Linux desktop. I'm sure it could fulfill other roles as well, but I've got other preferences and requirements for those.

I am using VB because it use less resource than VM and it has seamless mode.

Sun's xVM VirtualBox as of now (end May '08) is free, I don't see it becoming "non-free"I've been running Parallels, then VMware Fusion, now VirtualBox on my x86 Mac. VirtualBox, though only supporting 32bit guests, in my experience with using Linux, Solaris and Windows is that it is the fastest VM app yet. My own experience with VMware was that enabling Direct X or more than one VM CPU lead to system instability, plus I do not require snapshots or such like.For me and my laptop, Sun's xVM VirtualBox is a great tool and is one of the best solutions for virtualisation under Mac OS X.

VirtualBox is more easier to install on Linux than VMWare. Each time you change your kernel version, you should update their module which, most of the time, didn't compile! So, you must retrieve kernel header, updates from vmware website, try..., retrieve an other update, go to forums, sometimes even modify code!!! It's not very user friendly...

I'm a VMware Server user and would like to see Sun Strategy on VirtualBox. So far, VMware supports so many guest OS and works quite stable for my personal virtual lab.

hi, do you know how many snapshots does vmware workstation store, if windows is as the guest OS?