Virtualbox 4, VMWare Server 2 or MS Virtual 2005


I need to make Windows 7 Ent. x86 and x64 reference images. Which freeware virtual platform should I use, Virtualbox 4, VMWare Server 2 or MS Virtual 2005?
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VMware is the most stable virtualization platform.

Virtualbox is robust and free.

now for MS virtualization products... not so sure I'm a VMWare fangirl so I can't tell yah much about MS Virtualization.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
"I need to make Windows 7 Ent. x86 and x64 reference images"

You dont intend to use these for deploying to physical hardware later do you?  I have seen people try this before and it does not work.

If by "I need to make Windows 7 Ent. x86 and x64 reference images" You just mean you want Virtual machines to test on and then reset and test again and again...

I'm with remixedcat. VMWare all the way. More stable, better tested, wider use.
that would depend on the virtualization used. some emulate hardware, some use your actual hardware, some are containers, there are several types of VM tech.
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A1opusAuthor Commented:
Yes, I will make my virtual reference images for production. It works like a charm and recommended as well. While testing you need multiple syspreps that is horrible in case of Windows 7 because of limited rearms count.. If you work with snapshots, that is awesome indeed. Well, it's a different discussion.

So finally, VMWare or Virtualbox?
A1opusAuthor Commented:
@ Remixedcat

I need freeware product so VMWare Server is free, right? I don't need hypervisors...
There is also something called ESXi that is free as well
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Server is end of life in 2 months. It will not be developed any further, and will be retired by VMware.

VMware Server is a Hypervisor, it's a type 2 Hypervisor, unlike ESXi which is a much better Type 1 Hypervisor, which installs on bare metal.

It's faster than VMware Server, which is slow by comparision.

You could also try VMware Player, if you are really serious with your production images, you should consider ESXi.

which is also free.
yey another for ESXi!!!! ;-)
A1opusAuthor Commented:
I didn't know that VMWare is being retired. Good to know. I have checked VMPlayer but it has some limitations like cloning, snapshots, etc.

Right now I don't have bare metal to install ESXi as well.

I have used Virtualbox 4. It's good but I didn't use any other so therefore I asked for the comparison. Virtualbox has every feature that VMWare has in its paid versions.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just to clafiry VMware Server is being retired not VMware.

It's an old product and slow, and what was free, has been replaced by a superior free Type 1 Hypervisor on bare metal VMWare vSphere Hypervisor (often called ESXi).

Why use an old aging, no longer supported product, when you can use a superior free ESXi version?

Virtualbox is a good product. (but new!), and doesn't have the pedigree of VMware Workstation, which has been around since the late 90s.
esxi is free you get a serial number from vmware when you register your esxi  but you can use it in its 60 day unregisters I have done an ee article about building a whitebox esxi server if you need to see how building your own esxi server I build mine for around £1000-£1300 that very similar to a £3000-£5000 proper server and the only thing missing is a fault tollerent psu as its a test lab thats not important as its not production enviroment

cool! I'll take a look at it! ;-)

but the hosting industry uses ESXi a lot. It's the leading bare-metal hypervisor!!!!!
A1opusAuthor Commented:
Thanks a lot for your valuable and informative posts. I will definately use ESXi someday. Right now I don't have bare metal to play with it. So therefore I will stick with Virtualbox.

Any ways, I found the following discussion, it's an interesting one:
One cool thing I will say about VMWare workstation that i tried.

When I tested the windows 7 beta I ran out of disk space on the host OS, so I fired up the VM from an external USB 2.0 drive and it worked fine.

get this I had only 384MB RAM allocated to windows 7 beta and the 16 GB VVHDD storage was on the USB external HDD. and it ran decent. and this was a USD HDD that was quite abused. LOL.

I was also running a VMWare beta as well. it ran pretty stable.

It was pretty wierd but it worked fine.
yes esxi free is basically the same software as vsphere advanced plus which is definately not free and the only thing thats different is the licence as you free licence from vmware turns off the things that you pay for like vmotion, drs, dr, ha etc  
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Personally, I would download both products and test them against your criteria, and select what product is best for you!

Not what an Exchange Expert will tell you, as we all have biased views!

Select the best of breed product that meets your requirements.

Both are good products and deliver Virtualisation very well.
i m using Virtualbox since 2.0.4 in an large enterprise environment for fail overs and its works great even being an open source freeware..VMWare is quite good (I think best) as well.

If you want to quck create and destroy VMS then VBOX would be better. If you want to run the VM for Few days then go for VMWare as after few days you may notice some issues with Virtualbox guest.

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Vbox version I'm using had a bit of a an issue with fedora last time I tried a few days ago. VMWare is still the best option to go with.

if you depend on stuff to last and be stable paying the extra cost would keep you sane.
yes just look on youtube there are loads of vmware tutorials
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