[CentOS] VMWare vs. KVM - recommendations?

lhecking at users.sourceforge.net lhecking at users.sourceforge.net
Tue Mar 30 10:16:55 UTC 2010

MHR writes:
> Okay, I'm being noisy today.
> I have VMWare Server 1.0.8 installed on my CentOS desktop, and it runs
> my XP and CentOS guests just fine, though I don't use them much.

 VirtualBox is pretty good, but if you need USB support, it's not exactly
 plug&play. Even in the non-OSE version, you need to enable the device
 explicitly in the Devices menu before the host sees it; in the OSE edition,
 you may be able to use a USB device through a shared folder, but I haven't
 tried it. The good thing is that VirtualBox works on processors without
 virtualisation features. Kernel updates require rebuilding the vbox modules,
 which is elegantly solved (IMHO :) by integrating it into the RC script
 (service vbdrv setup).

 I've only recently started playing with KVM and am surprised how slow it
 is. USB support isn't plug&play either, one needs to lsusb and specify the
 device by id on startip, and supported screen resolutions depend on which
 gfx hw is emulated. Also, it needs virtualisation support in the cpu. I would
 personally not recommend it for a desktop OS (i.e. to put Windows capabilities
 on the desktop), but it's probably fine for headless Linux servers.

 I'd consider VMware player what you describe as well-integrated software,
 so that's another alternative. No idea about supported screen resolutions,
 but I found under kvm that the "-vga standard" option offered a wider
 range than "-vga vmware"; the latter required installation of the vmware
 gfx drivers that are part of vmware tools.

 Moving VMs is an interesting exercise. While the image formats seems to
 be mostly compatible or convertable, the Windows installation is probably
 not. When I moved from vmware player to VirtualBox at home, I was unable
 to get the Windows image to work because of driver issues. Windows doesn't
 seem to have the nice modularisation and a given install is tied to the
 particular hardware it's installed on. It may be possible to work around
 that with some patience.

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