VMware Workstation vs. Oracle VM VirtualBox

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2010-06-10 Print this article Print

Oracle VM VirtualBox continues to nip at the heels of undisputed virtualization leader VMware, resulting in a bounty of choice for application developers, IT pros and power users.

VMware Workstation is the undisputed leader in desktop virtualization tools. Yet VirtualBox, now being ridden by Oracle after making headway under Sun, continues to mount a challenge.

Make no mistake, VMware Workstation-with its shear breadth of guest operating system support, graphics display power, intimate support of Windows 7 and proficient use of the latest hardware developments to maximize virtual machine support-continues to set the pace for this product category. But Oracle VM VirtualBox continues to nip at the heels of VMware Workstation by continuing to offer a personal-use version of the product at no cost, while stuffing in important virtual machine performance improvements.

The result is a bounty of choice for application developers, IT pros and power users who want to try out running multiple systems using a variety of operating systems in a locally controlled workstation.

For IT managers who are working in high-volume test-and-development environments-with virtual machine playback, fully developed management tools and access to VMware's ACE (Assured Computing Environment)-VMware Workstation is still the best choice. However, the workstation also carries the biggest price tag: At $189 per user, the license costs are much higher than the $50 enterprise license for Oracle VM VirtualBox.

But the initial license fees (or lack thereof) don't tell the whole story. What follows are two reviews. The first one is of VMware Workstation 7.1, and the second is of Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2.

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at cameron.sturdevant@quinstreet.com.

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