VMware Workstation vs.
Oracle VM VirtualBox
REVIEW: 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.
By Cameron Sturdevant
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 per-sonal-use version of the
product at no cost, while
stuffing in important virtual machine
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
VMware Workstation 7.1
I tested VMware Workstation 7.1
on a Lenovo W510 mobile workstation
equipped with an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor with 8GB of RAM. The
physical host system was running
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit with
the latest patches.
I was able to install and run
2011 in a virtual machine that was running Windows 7 Professional with one virtual
My Lenovo system was
equipped with a relatively powerful Nvidia
Quadro FX 880M GPU.
I worked with during
my tests were displayed
quickly, with nearly
the same performance
as when I used AutoCAD on my Lenovo
system directly. There
was some hesitation
rotating images when
other virtual machines were running background workloads (in this
case, Futuremark’s PCMark Vantage
performance benchmarking suites).
Workstation 7.1 supports OpenGL
2.1 in Windows 7 VMs and provided
relatively smooth video playback
using PCMark test video.
in high-volume test-and-develop-ment 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
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
With increased support for hardware-accelerated graphics capability
VMware Workstation easily handled AutoCAD 2011 workloads.