Virtualization: What, When, Why & How

Hey Voltagerians, what’s your fave BFF emulator slash virtual machinery? And if yes, then why. And how do you do dem tings.

  • VirtualBox
  • VMWare
  • QEMU
  • KVM
  • Wut?

0 voters

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I was trying out different distros for my Vista era laptop. It’s a dual core with 3gb. I’m trying to emulate the performance of the laptop. But I’m not sure that limiting the VM to 2 cores would still be better performance than my laptop.Any thoughts?

I’m not sure if you can emulate different CPU’s on any of the VM options. And I would say that even if you were able to underclock the CPU speed on the VM, it still wouldn’t replicate accurately what and old lappy can or can’t do.

If you have the time and patience, I highly recommend putting Arch Linux on almost anything old and slow. The initial installation can seem intimidating (CLI only) but can be done relatively easily with a SSH connection and lots of copy pasta from the Arch wiki pages. The great thing about Arch is that once it is up and running headless, you can tailor it to meet the hardware capabilities, building it ground up. That way you focus on what you really need, and the rest stays out of the way. It is time consuming in the beginning, but it pays off in the end.

I did end up installing Manjaro, which is based on Arch and more user friendly and it does ok on speed with XFCE. I liked it because of rolling updates. Too lazy to install new update every six months, or rather, no time! However, I still am quite ignorant as to how to do things like installing something that comes in a .deb package. Again, time. However, one rolling update broke and I ended up reinstalling because I didn’t understand what to do to fix it.

I think it’s great that such an old machine is still quite useful, especially considering the money paid when new.

It’s just that with these other distros, I’d like to see what others can do, in a somewhat realistic simulation of what I have, but without actually installing.

I’ve recently moved most of my work images from VmWare Workstation/Fusion to VirtualBox. I have to say, VW performance felt better, but not £200 per year better, so hey. The network management feels better in VB.

I’m actually impressed at how much VB caught up to VW over the years, despite the Oracle acquisition. It’s probably because VW wasted the last few years adding “teamwork” features that nobody really needed, and now they’ve fired the entire original team for the workstation products, so they’re basically stalling.

They all have a place IMHO.

vbox - for my desktop linux machine to run windows7 once a year (or less)
kvm/qemu - for tinkering with virtual routers/switches/servers and automation tools (like ansible, salt) in my home lab
vmware esxi - for heavy weight workloads


How does the Vmware player compare? I like free! Or, it use to be free.

Well done, you missed out Xen, which powers a shit-ton of AWS instances.

I get it. I did piss in your Cheerios after all, sorry mate.

I also use kvm on my local desktop to help test lubuntu.

how much ?

Player is just that, a player - there is no way to easily create a machine, networks and so on. VmWare Workstation / Fusion is the whole enchilada.

Yeah I know there are tons of alternatives now, but VW was the first and it’s still the best when it comes to Windows (bar Microsoft’s own Hyper-V, of course). It’s a shame they basically killed themselves trying to turn Workstation into a subscription thing.

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I don’t have one answer for this as it depends on use case. I typically use VirtualBox for desktop OS VMs and work dev/testing VMs and ESXi for my home network server VMs.
I suppose I should vote for VirtualBox as I worked for a sister department of Oracle after the Sun acquisition.
Xen/XenServer isn’t on the list (I want to try XenServer instead of ESXi on one of my home servers some time) and some people have gone the way of containers instead.

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