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Best OS to run VirtualBox on Intel PC

I have a quad core PC (i72630QM 16GB RAM) W7 64

Needed a Linux app, so installed VirtualBox under W7 and installed Ubuntu

Now I am wondering why I don't run everything under VirtualBox...

I'm thinking I want a small footprint OS (maybe a future Chromium version) to run native (i.e. the boot OS) which supports VirtualBox; then I can have a W7 VM and a Ubuntu VM.  

My questions:
1) Such a setup would allow me to change hardware without having to reinstall any of the VM OS and apps from scratch, right?

2) What are you gurus out there doing?  

3) What boot OS to use and why?
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SAbboushi
Asked:
SAbboushi
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4 Solutions
 
XaelianCommented:
1) That's correct, but you need to shut down the VM before you can change it.

2) I'm running Virtualbox under my W7, why? Simple I'm using my W7 for professional usage. And it's just easier. Got ubuntu dualboot, and need my W7 all the time. My but comes in number 3)

3) If  dididn't had to use my W7 so much I would have my virtualbox installed under my Linux machine with my testing VM's under it. Why? Linux doesn't need as much resources as Windows, quicker, fun to use. If I were in your position, I would use Virtualbox under Linux.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Linux Red Hat or Ubuntu with Virtualbox, 64 bit OS with plenty of RAM.

or VMware ESXi. if your hardware supports it.
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garycaseCommented:
"... Best OS to run VirtualBox on Intel PC ... What boot OS to use and why? "  ==>  NONE.

If you're going to completely virtualize your environment, you'll get the best performance if you use a bare metal hypervisor ... i.e. a hypervisor that installs on the physical hardware rather than running under the control of an underlying operating system (like Virtual Box does).    

Hypervisors like Virtual Box, Virtual PC, and VMWare Player/Workstation all run under the control of an underlying OS -- this reliance on an operating system for resource management functions limits both the performance and the scalability of the hypervisor.    A bare metal hypervisor does not use an underlying OS, so these restrictions aren't an issue.

VMWare offers a free version of their vSphere product (ESXI)  [http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor/overview.html ]

... Microsoft's bare metal hypervisor (Hyper-V Server) is also very good, but is not free:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/hyper-v-server/default.aspx


If you'd prefer to simply stay with a hosted hypervisor, then it really doesn't make much difference which OS you use to host it, as long as it's a 64-bit OS so you'll have plenty of memory to assign to the virtual machines.

You're correct that if all of your OS's are in virtualized machines, you can very easily change hardware without any modifications to the VMs.    You simply need to install whatever hypervisor you're using on the new hardware, and then move your VMs to that hardware platform.
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SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
Xaelian
>> That's correct, but you need to shut down the VM before you can change it.
Just to make sure we're on the same page: I meant that if I replace my PC, I just need to copy over my VM virtual disks and I can run W7 and Ubuntu without having to do a reinstall.  Correct?

>> need my W7 all the time... If I were in your position, I would use Virtualbox under Linux.
I am hardcore W7 user, so I need it all the time too.  Knowing this, would you still recommend using VirtualBox under Linux (i.e. why don't you?)
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
if you need Windoze, the host OS is a good alternative. Just install Windoze version of Vbox.
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SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
>> the host OS is a good alternative. Just install Windoze version of Vbox.
Not sure I understand you.  I have already installed VirtualBox on W7; are you speaking of a different scenario?
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XaelianCommented:
Sabboushi,

1) Yeah you can just copy them. They will work.

2) I would let you use W7. For the same reasons I use it under W7. If you need to use W7 all the time, take it as your host OS. Working the whole day on a VM isn't that fun + when you use W7 under virtualbox, Linux also takes resources, running W7 as host, you can use it at full speed (if you haven't opened other VM's.
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SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
>> free version of their vSphere

So I can create a bootable partition with free version of vSphere and then have a W7 and Ubuntu and other VMs managed by vSphere?

How would the performance of W7 be under vSphere vs. W7 being the host?

I have a quad core PC (i72630QM 16GB RAM)
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:

So I can create a bootable partition with free version of vSphere and then have a W7 and Ubuntu and other VMs managed by vSphere?

No. But you can install VMware vSphere, and install VMs inside VMware vSphere.

or, you could install VMware vSphere inside as a VM (VMware Player or Workstation)

VMware Workstation is a Type 2 Hypervisor, other Type 2 Hypervisors include, VMware Server 2, VMware Player 3.0, Virtualbox 4.0, and Parallels.

Type 2 Hypervisors are SLOW.  In most reviews and experience, they perform at roughly 30-40% hardware capability.  That means an OS in a VM run off VMWare Workstation will likely perform at best like it has an 800 MHz CPU if you have 2 GHz physical CPU. You install Type 2 hypervisors onto of an existing host operating system.

If you use a Type 1 Hypervisor, you get MUCH better performance. ESX, ESXi, are all Type 1 hypervisors - they (based on experience and reviews) typically get 80-90% hardware capability - so that same VM run off the same 2 GHz CPU should operate more like it has a 1.6 GHz CPU instead of 800 Mhz. Type 1 hypervisors are installed on the bare metal of the server.

Type 1 Hypervisors also include Hyper-V.

Type 1 and Type 2 Hypervisor Downloads

Type 2 Hypervisor Downloads for Windows OS

VMware Player 4.0 Free Download
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_player/4_0

VMware Server 2.0.2 Free Download (discontinued)
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_downloads/vmware_server/2_0

VMware Workstation 8.0 (60 day trial, $199)
http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_workstation/8_0

Oracle Virtualbox 4.0
http://www.virtualbox.org/

Parallels Desktop 4 for Windows
http://www.parallels.com/uk/products/desktop/pd4wl/

Type 1 Bare Metal Hypervisors

VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)
https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/index.php?p=free-esxi&lp=1

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dd776191.aspx
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XaelianCommented:
If you want to use vsphere you need a esx -esxi host. Your pc's resources are nice so you can do that. But if you aren't familiar with esxi I wouldn't recommend using it.

Stick with your host os and use virtualbox, vmware player to virtualize some Pc's.
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SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your posts -- very helpful.

hanccocka:
>> No. But you can install VMware vSphere, and install VMs inside VMware vSphere.
hmmm... confused about whether or not I can use vsphere as my OS and then run W7 and Ubuntu as VMs under vsphere.

It seems HyperVisor type 1 is the way to go, so your link to "VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)" -- 1) is that product free, and
2) can I install that on my system partition as my boot drive?

Xaelian:
>> Stick with your host os and use virtualbox, vmware player to virtualize some Pc's.
I spend over 50 hours configuring Windows every time I upgrade (I tried Acronis Universal Restore last time , but it looks like it was not a clean migration -- some minor video problems that I haven't been able to correct).  So since I am looking to upgrade to W8 soon, I am thinking it would be better to install it as as a VM so that now I can upgrade the hardware later and not have to worry about reinstalling W8.

Given this scenario, would you still give the same advise (since I know nothing about esxi... is it the learning curve/complexity that is the reason you are steering me away from it?)
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You can install VMware vSphere, but you will need another PC to access VMs. Because there is NO Access to VMs from the physical console or PC with OS installed.

ESXi is free, VMware vSphere is also called ESXi, same thing.

ESXi can be installed on a 1GB usb flash drive, then you convert ALL storage into a datastore.

Many Experts can guide you on your journey using ESXi, very easy to use.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Also remember that Windows on real hardware can use hardware directly, eg video cards, graphic cards etc, so if you play games, dont go virtual. Same with media, sound etc
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SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
>> You can install VMware vSphere, but you will need another PC to access VMs. Because there is NO Access to VMs from the physical console or PC with OS installed.

Let's say I boot my pc using a vSphere USB flash drive.

I think you are saying that from there I can create a W7 VM.

1) It seems you are saying that my pc is now dedicated to vSphere?

2) In order to use the W7 VM, you are saying I would need to use a 2nd pc?

3) How would the 2nd PC access the W7 VM that is installed on the 1st pc?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. Correct

2. Correct

3. ALL VMs need to be accessed by :- RDP, Teamviewer, Log Me In, Citrix Go to My PC or via vSphere Client (which is a download and installation)
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
@garycase
Hyper-V IS free.  It's ALSO a component included with Windows Server.  The Free Hyper-V has no GUI (core install) so it acts like VMWare ESXi.  

Using a type 1 hypervisor is the best way to do this in my opinion - that leaves you Hyper-V or ESXi.

If you want to actually use the computer you install it on (as opposed to remotely accessing the VMs through RDP/remote control tools and management consoles) than your only option is Hyper-V included with Windows Server 2008 R2 (if you want something available TODAY - as in THIS MINUTE) as far as I'm aware.  If you can wait 2+ months, you can get a copy of Windows 8 Pro which will INCLUDE Hyper-V in it and then you can do everything in that as well as the Hyper-V guest.  (And the upgrade to Pro is CHEAP - $40 in the USA through January 31).  Otherwise, you'd need to buy Server and run that with the Hyper-V role.  OR resign yourself to remote access and use ESXi or Hyper-V.
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LeeTutorretiredCommented:
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
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SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all for your help.  Sorry for my delay, been on holiday for a few weeks
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