Virtualisation suites compared

Virtualisation suites compared

Summary: Getting the foundation right for cloud means succeeding in virtualisation, but with multiple products available, which one is right for your business?

SHARE:

Before we launch into this round up, it's time for a trip down memory lane. Enex TestLab has been involved with virtualisation technology since 2004, testing and evaluating a variety of flavours privately for organisations, as well as for publication. During this time, many concepts have evolved to more sophisticated levels, and the market for virtual technology has matured. In those early days, there really was just one pioneer: VMware.

But VMware was soon joined by vendors such as Microsoft, and the open-source community stepped up with the Xen Hypervisor, which was ultimately acquired by Citrix. VirtualBox evolved as a Sun solution (now Oracle), and the base package is still available under open-source licensing.

Today, there are multiple types of virtualisation, which are sometimes confused and often lumped into the same basket. The very basic local system-based application virtualisation is where applications are essentially segmented and launched individually. Early proponents of this technology were AppSense and Sun. The primary benefits of this individual application type of virtualisation are security, development and platform independence. It's a technology well suited to computing environments of thin or low processing power.

Desktop virtualisation followed, enabling enterprises to really control their Standard Operating Environments (SOE) and manage their licensing. It also improved patch management and administration through more central command and control capabilities. This has been one of the holy grails pursued by the likes of Microsoft, with the support of Intel and its vPro embedded technologies.

The next step up is server virtualisation, and this is really where architects and administrators have been empowered to divorce server applications from the underlying hardware. It provides for far more robust datacentres, and enables redundancy, portability, scalability, availability and much more.

In this feature, we round up the common virtualisation vendors, and look at the good, the bad and the bottom line for each. VMware is joined by Citrix, Microsoft and Oracle.

Topics: Virtualization, Microsoft, Open Source, Oracle, VMware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

16 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Virtualisation suites compared

    I would have loved to see RHEV compared here as well! Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.
    Nirmal Pathak
    • Side-by-Side Virtualization Feature Comparison

      @nirmalpathak I've put together a comparison of Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere, Oracle VM and Red Hat for you here: http://ombud.com/r/h1

      (Full disclosure, I work for Ombud, an online platform to research enterprise technology. Ombud allows users to compare solutions feature-by-feature and then customize those comparisons according to their needs)
      WiseStephanie
      • latest Server 2012 v vSphere 5.x v XenServer 6.x v Redhat KVM comparison

        Just posted this as response to a similar thread - one of the best for the above comparisons seems to be http://www.virtualizationmatrix.com/ - at least it's always updated by the looks of it (not just a blog). Most of my guys use it - wish they would add more details on VDI and Cloud.

        Tim
        TimGrader
  • No comparison to Windows Server 2012

    Nice writeup, although don't you think it would have been appropriate to compare Server 2012? I guess it hasn't been officially released, so maybe we'll see another write-up in September.
    ParsonsProject93
    • Fanboy alert

      CaviarBlack
      • The author included VirtualBox for no better apparent reason..

        ..than to give it some credit for being free and light.

        I would count this a lot closer to fanboyism than someone asking that one of the platforms being compared be the most current version.
        daftkey
  • Virtualisation suites compared

    i think you should watch these http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Europe/2012/VIR311 and http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Europe/2012/VIR312 and after that do a comparison (it is done there)
    djcata03@...
  • Why is VirtualBox in there?

    "it is not a direct competitor to the other three virtualisation implementations. "

    VirtualBox doesn't even belong in this comparison. As others have said, you dropped the ball by excluding RHEV (among probably others) that would have fit the bill much better.

    If you want to talk about VirtualBox, you should be including it in a comparison with VirtualPC, VMware Workstation (or VMware Player, if you strictly want to stick with "Free" offerings).

    You don't do Oracle or VirtualBox developers any kind of service comparing it to a Type-1 hypervisors, and you don't do your own readers (who might be looking for a useful comparison) any service, either.
    daftkey
    • Seriously

      Im quite confient if you where in person you could have said this more nicely. No since in being an "a s s" when its not necessary. Just make a nice recomendation.Read parson project above and see how humans interact.
      Polycarp$
      • You must be new here...

        "Im quite confient if you where in person you could have said this more nicely. "

        I'm quite confident I could also have been a much bigger jerk. Have a look at some of the more "popular" articles that get posted around ZDnet and I think you'll agree I was being quite tactful, relatively speaking.

        I chose to take the middle road and point out one or two reasons why it may be ill advised to include a desktop virtualization platform in a comparison with Type-1 Hypervisors, and why there may have been more relevant solutions that should have been included. It is possible that Steven and Thomas are experts when it comes to these technologies, but this type of oversight calls that expertise into doubt very, very quickly.

        If you prefer to take everything a blogger writes at face value with a pat on the back and a "nice write up", then so be it. I prefer bloggers be kept honest myself, and one of the best places to do that is in the comment section, disecting and challenging important assertions that those bloggers make.
        daftkey
        • Don't mind daffy

          He's always been a rude ass. He even beats me in that department. And that's a lot.

          ;)
          CaviarBlack
          • The one big difference..

            ..is you tend to be rude without provocation.
            daftkey
    • I use VirtualBox and VMWare Player and I agree

      For Linux users VirtualBox is the best desktop virtualization suite. For a true hypevisor you have to go elsewhere.
      T1Oracle
      • Try out Workstation...

        VirtualBox does a good job of filling the gaps that the free VMware Player leaves, however give Workstation a comparison to VirtualBox (you can download a trial version for 30 days).

        I find the performance quite a bit better, and there are some features that just work better overall (snapshots, linked clones, which I know VirtualBox supports to a degree, but I find those much easier to manage in VMware, and I've also found it a lot more reliable).
        daftkey
  • Is this review for real?

    On August 5th 2012 you do you are review and use Windows 2008 R2 (Hyper V 2) and not the RTM version of Windows 2012 (Hyper V 3)??????????????

    I am no lover of Microsoft by far, but dam get a clue.

    Virtual box????????????? A layer 2 host product compared to the others?????
    JeveSobs
    • I agree.

      Sever 2012 with Hyper-v 3.0 did reach rtm last week, so it would have been logical to compare it instead of Hyper-v 2.0 certainly because the additions to it are major.

      Virtualbox does not compare to type 1 hypervisors, so is certainly out of place.
      sjaak327