Computer Virtualization

Computer Virtualization has many uses, from increasing server capacity and reducing power consumption to making it easier to test and develop software or to simply run a different Operating System on your computer. Virtualization has become an important aspect of the functionality of todays computers and computer Operating Systems. Different virtualization products used now a days are;

Parallels Desktop: Parallels Desktop is one of the most popular Virtualization Products for a Mac and Parallels has returned to the Windows and Linux Operating Systems with an incarnation of Parallels Desktop for Linux. Note that Parallels Desktop does require Processors with hardware virtualization support.

QEMU/KVM: The Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is a relatively new solution in the Virtualization market and was first released in Feb 2007. It currently needs to be incorporated with Qemu to perform virtualization.

Using KVM, one can run multiple virtual machines running unmodified Linux or Windows images. Each virtual machine has private virtualized hardware: a network card, disk, graphics adapter, etc. Note that KVM does require Processors with hardware virtualization support.

Virtualbox: Virtualbox was originally developed by innotek, which was purchased by Sun Microsystems in Feb 2008 and Sun was subsequently purchased by Oracle in January 2010. Virtualbox comes in two different versions, one released under a VirtualBox Personal Use and Evalutation Licence (PUEL) and one version released under the GNU GPL. The main differences between the two versions is the inclusion of USB and RDP support in the PUEL release.

Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems

VMware Workstation / Player: VMWare Workstation’s first release was back in  1999 and was VMWare’s first  product. In 2005 they released the cost-free (for personal use) VMWare Player. VMWare entered the Virtualization Market early and gained a strong foothold and has become probably the biggest player in the Virtualization Market Today.


Xen : The Xen  hypervisor, the powerful open source industry standard for virtualization, offers a powerful, efficient, and secure feature set for virtualization of x86, x86_64, IA64, ARM, and other CPU architectures. It supports a wide range of guest operating systems including Windows, Linux, Solaris, and various versions of the BSD operating systems.

OpenVZ : OpenVZ is an implementation of containers for Linux. It consists of a modified Linux kernel and some user-level tools. OpenVZ kernel adds provides virtualization/isolation, resource management, and checkpointing. Each container is a separate entity, and from the point of view of its owner it looks like a real physical server. So each has its own

Of these applications, VMware and VirtualBox definitely come out the clear winners. For individual use, where the ability to run a single Windows desktop inside of Linux is all that is needed