[Haifux] QEMU/KVM vs. VMWare: The beauty and the beast

Etzion Bar-Noy ezaton at tournament.org.il
Mon Jan 11 01:47:29 MSK 2010

On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 12:29 AM, Sorana Fraier <sf10095 at gmail.com> wrote:

> the only drawback of virtualbox open source is that it doesn't allow to
> attach a usb. The binary version allows that.

No. It does. Did quite happily now. USB 1.1, as far as I can recall, but for
me it was quite enough.

Compare apples to apples and bananas to bananas.

Vmware Player, as well as KVM and VirtualBox are tools for desktop
virtualization. It means you are expected to run them virtual desktops on
your desktop and have a happy GUI interface, all in all.

Xen, much like Vmware ESX(i) is a server-virtualization tool. It is far less
superior where it comes to display acceleration, but the total performance
(to point the most important one - disk access performance) is way better.
Sky high better. On a single server running two or maybe three windows VMs
on VMware player, you could run about 5-8 similar VMs with no performance
impact on Xen or Vmware ESX, although you won't want to use your VMs for 3d

And indeed - VMPlayer was far inferior compared to VirtualBox on my PC for a
single Windows VM (required for VPNs to customers). The difference was


> On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 12:01 AM, boazg <boaz.gezer at gmail.com> wrote:
>> have you tried virtualbox? it's GPL, and i've had some
>> good experience with it.
>> On Sun, Jan 10, 2010 at 21:06, Eli Billauer <eli at billauer.co.il> wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> I've been playing around with my new Fedora 12 computer (Intel i7 quad
>>> core) for a few days, mainly for the purpose of making educated
>>> decisions about how to virtualize two old computers, which I want to get
>>> rid of. They are running Windows 2000 and Redhat 7.3. I only tested the
>>> Windows part (Linux should be much easier). Fedora 12 is the host, of
>>> course.
>>> I've looked at QEMU/KVM vs. VMWare.  I want to share my experiences and
>>> insights with you, because I don't like the bottom line, which is the
>>> VMWare is better for almost all home purposes (I'm not talking about
>>> cloud servers and such). Which makes me wonder: Is VMWare a honey trap,
>>> or is it currently the preferred choice?
>>> In case you wondered, both tools can run simultaneously on the same
>>> computer, seemingly without disturbing each other. It looks like I'm
>>> going to take advantage of this.
>>> I ran VMPlayer (free as in beer version) with VMTools in the Windows
>>> guest machine. I take it that their licenses don't limit me in time nor
>>> the number of guests I can run simultaneously. Please do correct me if
>>> I'm wrong on this.
>>> The concept is to copy these machines' disks as image files, and then
>>> seamlessly go on working as if nothing happened. The most important
>>> issue for me is that after the transition I can go on doing everything I
>>> did before (including using electronic development hardware through USB).
>>> I should mention, that both tool's documented and encouraged flow is to
>>> install a new operating system from scratch on a blank (virtualized)
>>> disk, and not run a previously installed one. Indeed, a preinstalled XP
>>> image tends to give me the blue screen. The Windows 2000 image runs
>>> beautifully.
>>> QEMU/KVM Pros
>>> * Free (as in freedom)
>>> * Allows incremental images (good for running possibly malicious
>>> software)
>>> * Can be run from the command line, and is generally script friendly.
>>> * Appears to be more secure (SELinux is all over)
>>> * Display on VNC allows remote access to guest
>>> QEMU/KVM Cons:
>>> * Doesn't currently have an EHCI driver (and hence guest sees only USB
>>> 1.1, not 2.0)
>>> * Didn't manage to attach a USB device I need for electronics
>>> development (Xilinx programming cable).
>>> * Has Windows paravirtualization drivers for network card only. Display
>>> is slow.
>>> * Using the mouse is annoying (poor tracking, clicks are sometimes
>>> missed).
>>> VMPlayer Pros:
>>> * VMTools offers a nice set of paravirtual drivers
>>> * Very good emulation of graphics card (through paravirtual driver).
>>> Feels like a real computer, it's possible to play movies. The guest's
>>> desktop size is dynamically adjusted to the virtual machine's window
>>> size, which is pretty convenient.
>>> * Very good handling of USB hotplugging. Needless to say, it handled my
>>> special piece of hardware seemlessly.
>>> * Easy to feel with mouse.
>>> VMPlayer Cons:
>>> * Feels like it was designed for Windows host. If you can't do it
>>> through GUI, you can't do it at all (?)
>>> * Everything about their website says "we'll give you this for free (if
>>> you manage to find it), but you really want our million dollar version"
>>> So this is my grim bottom line: I don't like the music I get from
>>> VMWare, but VMPlayer does the job, and QEMU is almost there. But almost
>>> is not enough when you want something to work. Remember that I'm the one
>>> who wants his computer working, first and foremost?
>>> Your information, comments and insights are mostly welcome.
>>>    Eli
>>> --
>>> Web: http://www.billauer.co.il
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>> --
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