What alternatives are there to VMware Player?

I would like to run guest operating systems in virtual machines under my Windows 10 environment. Specifically, I'd like to run older versions of Windows as well as Linux distributions. Currently I'm using VMware Player version 7.1.4 to run Windows 8.1 and openSuSE Linux (Leap 42.3) in virtual machines. I run the Linux operating system more often than I run Windows 8.1, and can't help but notice that when Linux is running in a virtual machine I'm experiencing a lot of performance issues. Specifically, the system will freeze for several minutes! During those freezes, most if not all of the applications on the desktop are unresponsive! I can't say this doesn't happen when I'm running Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine, but I don't run that environment as often. I don't know enough about VMware to know whether I've optimized its settings for running either environment. The settings for the virtual machine running Windows 8.1 are as follows:

Windows-8.1-1.png
Windows-8.1-2.png
The settings for the virtual machine running Linux are as follows:

Linux-1.png
Linux-2.png
If someone can recommend tweaks to these settings, I would appreciate it. For example, should I have any of the boxes under Processors checked?

I'm also willing to consider trying a different hypervisor. I know that Windows has one, and I've heard of something called Xen.
babyb00merAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Why not just DROP the Type 2 Windows Application - e.g. VMware Player, and use Client Hyper-V, e.g. add the Hyper-V role to Window 10, and use a Type 1 Bare Metal Hypervisor, far more performance!

and at no cost!

Using any Windows application to host virtual machines on Windows 10, does not make any sense any more!

fyi, Xen is a Bare Metal Hypervisor, like VMware ESXi, which replaces your Windows 10 OS!
0
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If your Windows 10 is 64-bit, you can enable / install Hyper-V and that works.

For your machines above, disk space is adequate. I use 100 GB to allow expansion (all one disk file), and only what is used takes actual space.

If you enabled VT-D in BIOS (you must for Hyper-V) then you can use 2 cores for 64-bit guests.

If you have 16 GB of memory on board, you can set VM's to 3 (or 4) GB of memory.

Memory is a constraint in any VM environment.
Hard Drives are slow and impeded VM operation. SSD drive make for much faster VM operation.

Think through the above before making changes. Your settings above are decent.
0
babyb00merAuthor Commented:
Okay, this is what I know so far…

Mark Russinovich's coreinfo command produces the following:

Coreinfo v3.31 - Dump information on system CPU and memory topology
Copyright (C) 2008-2014 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals - www.sysinternals.com

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3740QM CPU @ 2.70GHz
Intel64 Family 6 Model 58 Stepping 9, GenuineIntel
Microcode signature: 0000001B
HYPERVISOR      -       Hypervisor is present
VMX                    *       Supports Intel hardware-assisted virtualization
EPT                     *       Supports Intel extended page tables (SLAT)

In order to get VMware to work under Windows, I recall having to execute the following command:

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off

I believe its complement is…

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype auto

Assuming I want to try Microsoft's hypervisor, how do I proceed from here? I'd prefer to convert the existing VMware machines to Hyper-V, but if that's not possible I can start from scratch.
0
The Ultimate Tool Kit for Technolgy Solution Provi

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy for valuable how-to assets including sample agreements, checklists, flowcharts, and more!

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Player and Hyper-V are not compatible, so to run VMware Player, you have to turn Hyper-V off.

if it's installed.
0
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Yes - you need to choose one or the other.

What issues are you having with VMware Player that would drive a change?  Your host machine may not be strong enough and changing to Hyper-V is not likely to help you a lot.
0
babyb00merAuthor Commented:
I used the instructions I found here to install/enable Hyper-V support on my system. The jury is still out, but so far it appears as though overall system performance is better. To ensure it's not simply wishful thinking, I will observe the system for the next couple of days.

I guess with anything there's a trade off. The VMware application seems to have a more robust suite of features than does Hyper-V. Then again, I've been using VMware longer, so it's possible Hyper-V has features I've yet to discover.

One of the things I've noticed is that full-screen mode does not appear to work under Hyper-V. I don't know whether this is a universal problem, or confined to the virtual machine in which I'm running SuSE Linux. So far I have created only one virtual machine.
.
0

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have Ubuntu running on my VMware system and Full Screen (And Unity Mode) work fine on that.
0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I used the instructions I found here to install/enable Hyper-V support on my system. The jury is still out, but so far it appears as though overall system performance is better. To ensure it's not simply wishful thinking, I will observe the system for the next couple of days.

Yes because it's a TYPE 1 Bare Metal Hypervisor, and not an application running on an OS, providing virtual machines!

I guess with anything there's a trade off. The VMware application seems to have a more robust suite of features than does Hyper-V. Then again, I've been using VMware longer, so it's possible Hyper-V has features I've yet to discover.

One of the things I've noticed is that full-screen mode does not appear to work under Hyper-V. I don't know whether this is a universal problem, or confined to the virtual machine in which I'm running SuSE Linux. So far I have created only one virtual machine.

what features ?

Hyper-V is the same core, which is used in the Enterprise to Host many VMs! on Windows Server OS!
0
babyb00merAuthor Commented:
So… does fullscreen mode work in Hyper-V or not?!
0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What alternatives are there to VMware Player?

I think your original question that was posted has been answered now.

So… does fullscreen mode work in Hyper-V or not?!

This new question and issue would be better posted as a new question for myself or additional experts to assist on and would get better recognition from more experts than hidden away tagged onto multiple questions in this thread, to discuss the configuration and setup of Microsoft Hyper-V, and we can best advise on Hyper-V configuration as you are not as familiar with this product as VMware Player.
0
babyb00merAuthor Commented:
In my quest to find an alternative to VMware – which I suspected was causing performance issues – I decided to try Microsoft's Hyper-V. After several days I managed to create three virtual machines in which I'm running Ubuntu Linux, OpenSuSE Linux and Windows 8.1. Creating the Linux virtual machines was relatively uneventful, but creating the virtual machine running Windows 8.1 was a little more problematic. For installing the Windows 8.1 operating system, I had a DVD as well as an image (ISO) file on the local disk. I never succeeded in getting Windows 8.1 installed from the ISO file. This is significant, because the ISO file was the only source I ever used when installing Windows 8.1 using VMware.

Eventually I discovered that, during installation, the Hyper-V Manager was prompting me to boot from the DVD. But the message flashed so quickly that it was easy to miss! It took a couple of iterations before I managed to respond in time.

I have configured the virtual machines so that all three start when Windows starts. Even so, system performance seems unaffected and I'm not seeing the frequent freezes I experienced when using VMware. Conversely, with Hyper-V I'm still learning how to configure certain features. For example, drag-and-drop file transfers and full-screen mode support were relatively seamless under VMware. Under Microsoft's Hyper-V, full-screen mode works great when the guest OS is Windows 8.1, but getting it to work when the VM is running Ubuntu or OpenSuSE Linux has been a bit more complicated. The problem was that, for the Linux environments, I couldn't get Hyper-V to use the full 1920 by 1080 resolution of which my system is capable. However, the process for changing the screen resolution for either of those is practically identical. I found instructions on the Internet for making the relevant changes to the OpenSuSE environment, which I have summarized as follows:

  1. Open a terminal emulator.
  2. Edit /boot/grub2/grub.cfg (e.g., vi /boot/grub2/grub.cfg). Regardless of which text editor you choose, you probably will have to run the command from an account that has administrative rights. That's because the file you will be changing likely has restricted access.
  3. In /boot/grub2/grub.cfg, find the line beginning with "GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT." On my system, that line did not exist. So, I simply added the following to the end of the file: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=" video=hyperv_fb:1920x1080".
  4. Save the changes and exit the editor.
  5. Update the boot loader parameters (i.e., run /usr/sbin/grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg). Again, the same admonition applies. You might have to run this command from a privileged account.
  6. Finally, reboot the virtual machine.

Now when I run the virtual machine containing OpenSuSE Linux, instead of looking like this…

Screenshot_20180103_093354.png
It looks like this…

Screenshot_20180110_085135.png
The difference is that the first picture depicts the virtual machine running at 1152 x 864, while the second picture depicts the virtual machine running at the desired resolution of 1920 x 1080.

The procedure for changing the screen resolution in the Ubuntu environment is as follows:

  1. Open a terminal emulator.
  2. Edit /etc/default/grub (e.g., sudo vi /etc/default/grub). Regardless of which text editor you choose, you will have to preface the command with "sudo." That's because the file you will be changing can be modified only by an account that has administrative rights.
  3. In /etc/default/grub, find the line beginning with "GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT." On my system, that line looks like this: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash". So, after adding the video option to this parameter, the line in my /etc/default/grub file looks like this: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash video=hyperv_fb:1920x1080". If you don't already have the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT parameter in the /etc/default/grub file, you can simply add the entire line like this: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash video=hyperv_fb:1920x1080"
  4. Save the changes and exit the editor.
  5. Update the boot loader parameters (i.e., run sudo update-grub).
  6. Finally, reboot the virtual machine.

The result of my efforts is that now I have a system in which I can run three virtual machines simultaneously, with no apparent impact on system performance!

Hyper-V-Manager.png
Furthermore, I figured out how to get Hyper-V to support full-screen mode at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 in virtual machines where the guest OS is Ubuntu or OpenSuSE Linux.

Ubuntu-16.04-on-CHAMPS-LAPTOP---Virt.png
Screenshot_20180110_085135.png
As for the virtual machine running Windows 8.1, full HD support was never an issue:

Windows--8.1-on-CHAMPS-LAPTOP---Virt.png
0
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
All very good, and as far as performance, to be expected, it's a Bare Metal Hypervisor compared to VMware Player.
0
babyb00merAuthor Commented:
My original question was about alternatives to VMware Player for running virtual machines on my Windows 10 computer. I was most familiar with VMware, but I knew about Microsoft's Hyper-V. Also, I'd heard of Citrix's XenServer. I was looking to try a different hypervisor, because I was noticing system-wide performance issues while running VMware Player (version 7.1.4). Included in my opening statement was information about how the VMware virtual machines were configured. According to a response from one of the participating experts, the settings appeared to be adequate.

My next step was to run a command I found on the Internet called coreinfo. My intent was to determine whether my system was robust enough to support Hyper-V. That command generated a report which seemed to indicate that my system would support Microsoft's hypervisor (refer to comment ID: 42420429 dated 2017-12-31). I was hoping that an expert would confirm my interpretation of the results, but no one did. I decided to proceed anyway.

Before switching to Hyper-V I discovered that there was a newer version of the VMware Player I was using. Although not recommended by the experts, I decided to upgrade to VMware Workstation 14 Player. Perhaps upgrading to a newer version of the Player would eliminate the performance issues. It did not!

In that same comment (ID: 42420429) I asked, "Assuming I want to try Microsoft's hypervisor, how do I proceed from here?" I didn't get an answer, but managed to find instructions on the Internet (refer to comment ID: 42422922 on 2018-01-03).

Finally, after a successful installation of Hyper-V I published the results (refer to comment ID: 42432139). Included in that comment are instructions for fixing the screen resolution in Hyper-V virtual machines running Ubuntu Linux or OpenSuSE Linux. While on its face the screen resolution issue might not seem germane, the fact of the matter is that if switching from VMware to Hyper-V fixes one problem but introduces another, it's not really a viable solution.

My objective when posting questions on Experts-Exchange is to get a viable solution and leave behind something that will be useful to others. It was suggested that the discussion went off topic. If so, I will take full responsibility for my part in that. However, once I decided to try Microsoft's Hyper-V, I followed that path to its conclusion. So, the reason for selecting my own comment as the best solution is because it's the most comprehensive one presented.
0
babyb00merAuthor Commented:
CORRECTION!

In a comment (ID: 42432139) I posted to this thread on 11 January of this year, I published instructions for modifying the screen resolution for an OpenSuSE Linux instance running in a Hyper-V virtual machine on Windows 10. In the weeks since, I've had occasion to perform that task again. I was surprised to discover that the instructions I included in my comment are not valid! Apparently, the procedure for changing the screen resolution on an OpenSuSE system and an Ubuntu system are virtually identical! I have reproduced those instructions below:

  1. Open a terminal emulator.
  2. Edit /etc/default/grub (e.g., sudo vi /etc/default/grub). Regardless of which text editor you choose, you will have to preface the command with "sudo." That's because the file you will be changing can be modified only by an account that has administrative rights.
  3. In /etc/default/grub, find the line beginning with "GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT." On my system, that line looks like this: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash". So, after adding the video option to this parameter, the line in my /etc/default/grub file looks like this: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash video=hyperv_fb:1920x1080". If you don't already have the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT parameter in the /etc/default/grub file, you can simply add the entire line like this: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash video=hyperv_fb:1920x1080"
  4. Save the changes and exit the editor.
  5. Update the boot loader by running "sudo /usr/sbin/grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg". On an Ubuntu system, you can run "update-grub" instead.
  6. Finally, reboot the virtual machine.
0
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Virtualization

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.