Microsoft Hyper-V vs Oracle VM Virtual Box

Andrew Leniart
Andrew Leniart used Ask the Experts™
on
Hi,

I've always used Oracle VM Virtual Box for my VM needs to keep copies of Windows operating systems (from 98SE up) available to me, as well as a couple of Linux distros. But I often see questions (and articles) on Experts Exchange that deal with Microsoft Hyper-V and it's got me to wondering if I'm doing myself a dis-service somehow by not using it, rather than the Oracle VM solution.

Are there any experts who have experience with both that can identify the pros and cons of using the Microsoft solution as opposed to Oracle VM or vice versa? I have Windows 10 Pro so Hyper-V is available to me.

I've looked at a number of Microsoft articles about Hyper-V to try and work out the difference, but they've been of little help to satisfy my curiosity.

Your opinions about both solutions would be appreciated.

Regards, Andrew
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Top Expert 2016
Commented:
The main difference is that one is a type 1 hypervisor (Hyper-V) and a Type 2 HyperVisor (VirtualBox)

Type 1 hypervisor: hypervisors run directly on the system hardware – A “bare metal” embedded hypervisor,
Type 2 hypervisor: hypervisors run on a host operating system that provides virtualization services, such as I/O device support and memory management.
https://vapour-apps.com/what-is-hypervisor/
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
I hadn't gleaned that from reading MS articles. So Oracle VitrualBox would be a Type 2 HyperVisor correct? Hyper-V would run much quicker?

Thank you David, that is great info.
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
yes Virtualbox, Vmware Workstation/Player are Type 2 Virtual Machines.
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Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Thanks, David, I very much appreciate your input.

Anyone else got anything to share on this topic?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Oracle Virtualbox is a Type 2 Hypervisor, other Type 2 Hypervisors include, VMware Server, VMware Player, VMware Player 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 Oracle Vitualbox 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, Xen, VMware vSphere.

BUT, performance of Type 1 and Type 2 is getting closer, based on the host CPU and how much resources, are available in the host. (e.g. CPU, Memory, and Datastore/storage)

and don't forget Windows 10 can be configured as a Hypervisor (Type 1) by adding the Hyper-V role. (Windows 10 Pro).
Brandon LyonWeb Developer/Designer

Commented:
Personally I've been using Virtualbox a long time and it's always been sufficiently performant for my use cases. It's true that a type 2 is unlikely to be as fast as a type 1 but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's too slow.

I am currently running 2 linux guests simultaneously on a Windows 10 host. One has Arch linux at 4k with my IDE and some other tools running in it. Another has Ubuntu at 1080p with some different IDE + tools. I do this while using about 20 Chrome windows on my host OS as well as running some Adobe CS programs.

I just like how easy it is to use Virtualbox. On top of that it integrates with other tools I use like Vagrant and Genymotion.

There are some minor things that annoy me about Virtualbox (GPU memory limits being one of them).

I've been meaning to spend more time getting acquainted with type 1 virtualization options but momentum and lack of sufficient reason has kept me going with Virtualbox.
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
@Andrew Hancock
I was hoping you would notice and weigh in on this question :) Thank you very much for the additional information. What would be the chances of your writing an article on this topic? I didn't know much of what you've described and the articles I've read to date on the topic (both MS and others) haven't really explained it in Layman's terms either. I'd be grateful if you could PM me to discuss if that's something you might consider?

@Brandon Lyon
My experiences with Virtualbox VM performance mirror your own. Thanks for your post, useful to know.
Peter HutchisonSenior Network Systems Specialist

Commented:
I have VirtualBox for years (moving on from Virtual PC on Windows Vista/7). Virtual Box supports more different types of Guests than Hyper-V esp. very old versions of DOS/Windows and other versions of Linux.

I have web page for VirtualBox at http://www.pjhutchison.org/guides.html
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
If you have Windows 10 Pro use Hyper-V .

There is no reason to use an inferior Type 2 hypervisor, which is just an application installed on your OS.

Faster and part of the OS, and Organisation use Hyper-V for hosting, not Virtualbox, or VMware Workstation! (well some do, but they are stupid!)

So you'll become better qualified.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
I have VirtualBox for years (moving on from Virtual PC on Windows Vista/7). Virtual Box supports more different types of Guests than Hyper-V esp. very old versions of DOS/Windows and other versions of Linux.
While this likely true, it's a bit of a so what?  First, there's no reason you can't run BOTH.  Running supported Hyper-V compatible OSes in Hyper-V and then running Virtual Box for the more esoteric operating systems that Hyper-V doesn't support.  Second, just because it's not "supported" doesn't mean it won't work.  For testing/development/play, I would try everything in Hyper-V.  The only time I care about supported is when doing things in production or testing/development for a production system.
Brandon LyonWeb Developer/Designer

Commented:
First, there's no reason you can't run BOTH.

I don't know if it's still true, but at one point Hyper-V would conflict with Virtualbox and I would have to disable Hyper-v in order to use Virtualbox. That said, there's no reason you can't do that when needed. It is a really easy command line and reboot kind of thing. It's just something to be aware of.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
It's not really drivers.....it's the method by which the OS communicates with Intel-VT, Oracle Virtualbox and VMware Workstation compete and cannot communicate with the Host CPU, it's blocked by the Hyper-V layer..

by why you would use both.....?/???

it's the OS gets enabled for Hyper-V which is not compatible with any other application Hypervisors!

However, things are changing because Android Studio can now work alongside Windows 10, and Hyper-V being enabled!
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
If memory serves (and it may not), the last time I saw/tried this, Virtual Box wouldn't run 64 bit OSs if Hyper-V was enabled.  Other than that, I don't recall an issue (I generally live in Hyper-V and have little reason to try Virtual Box (I think the last time I did it was to try to get an old copy of BeOS running).
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Hi guys, just letting you know I've not been commenting because I've had nothing to add, however, I'm reading all comments and finding the discussion and different opinions to be both interesting and educational. Thanks for everyone's input so far. Please continue :)
Andrew LeniartIT Professional | Freelance Journalist | Looking for Opportunities
Distinguished Expert 2018

Author

Commented:
Thanks for all the great info guys.

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