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Why is hyper-v better than virtualbox?

    Question

  • We have 4-5 people in a software development environment with access to 4 servers, each with 2 quad-core or dual-core cpu's (core-based, before nehalem), and 8gb or 16gb RAM, so I think we have a good amount of power for virtualization. Total, we have a team foundation server, oracle server, web server, 2 virtualization servers, and multiple workstations, some virtualized, some not.

    When we started virtualizing about a year ago, for whatever reason, and although everyone has an MSDN sub, we started using VirtualBox instead of Hyper-V. I'm no expert (and that's why I'm here) but I think they operate at different levels of interaction with the hardware, and that VirtualBox is a bad idea for this environment.

    Can someone give some good reasons why we should be using Hyper-V? Also is it possible to convert the virtual machines?

    And then I would like to know if it's okay to also be virtualizing our web server and oracle server, etc. We have only been virtualizing workstations. I think we really need to make good use of virtualization if we are going to be doing it at all.

    Advice welcome also for virtualization best practices, backups, management, infrastructure design, etc. I would like to start with a domain controller, and maybe a Lync server so we can share desktops, etc. Thanks for all input!

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012 5:43 PM

Answers

  • Better is very subjective and it really depends on what you're doing, server virtualization or desktop virtualization. 

    Hyper-V and Virtualbox are not in the same category.

    Hyper-V is headless virtualization that runs directly on the hardware, where Virtualbox requires an OS and is a virtualization application that runs on your desktop.

    VirtualBox is what you'd use for directly working with a VM, especially if you need sound, USB, and a very wide range of supported OSes.

    Hyper-V is designed to host servers where you don't need a lot of extra desktop hardware (USB for example).  Hyper-V should be faster than VirtualBox in a lot of scenarios. You get things like clustering, NIC teaming, live migration, etc that you'd expect from a server product.

    You may be able to use V2V to convert your VMs, I've never done a VBox to Hyper-V conversion before though.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012 6:29 PM

All replies

  • Better is very subjective and it really depends on what you're doing, server virtualization or desktop virtualization. 

    Hyper-V and Virtualbox are not in the same category.

    Hyper-V is headless virtualization that runs directly on the hardware, where Virtualbox requires an OS and is a virtualization application that runs on your desktop.

    VirtualBox is what you'd use for directly working with a VM, especially if you need sound, USB, and a very wide range of supported OSes.

    Hyper-V is designed to host servers where you don't need a lot of extra desktop hardware (USB for example).  Hyper-V should be faster than VirtualBox in a lot of scenarios. You get things like clustering, NIC teaming, live migration, etc that you'd expect from a server product.

    You may be able to use V2V to convert your VMs, I've never done a VBox to Hyper-V conversion before though.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012 6:29 PM
  • Thanks for your time and efforts.

    Jeff Ren TechNet Community Support beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    Monday, April 23, 2012 5:36 AM
  • In my opinion Hyper-V is only better if your using Hyper-V to host servers, like Microsoft SharePoint, Active Directory, Sql Server, or even MySql to provide resources.

    If you intend to be using Virtualizatio to develop software, like Working with SharePoint from a developer standpoint, building asp.net web applications, or even doing C++, desktop applications, or Android, Php etc, if you are going to be physically on the VM using it as your environment to write code and design, then Oracle VirtualBox is better than Hyper-V.

    With hyper-v your limited to using The Connect console, or Remote Desktop Protocol to see the virtual machine.  The RDP console leaves much to be desired.  It only gives you the option to use all of your monitors or one, it won't do 2 if you have 3.  I like to use my third monitor to keep my email open, and pdf documentation, or word documents and use the other two monitors for my VM so I can see multiple code windows in Visual Studio at the same time (VS2010).  Oracle handles multi monitors so much better.  And if I want to surface an adroid phone through USB to my VM, oracle is the only way to go there, or maybe VMWare, but VirtualBox is free.

    However, Hyper-V is now native to Windows 8 desktop version and windows 8 server version.  And most companies dealing with microsoft products use Hyper-V for their VM's, so from a multi developer environment, it makes sense for us to use Hyper-V with windows 8 because all of our servers run on Hyper-V.  If we need to troubleshoot something we can grab a copy of the latest server VM backup and spin it up locally on Hyper-V with windows 8 without having to do any conversions.

    But from a developer standpoint it is really hard for me to leave VirtualBox.  If RDP could work my 2 of my monitors and not all 3 or 4 of them I would have no complaints.  Third part RDP sofware isn't any better, it could never compare to the deep integration and speed of windows RDP.  My main issue is, if RDP can do all of my monitors why can't it do just 2 of them, seems like a big thing to leave out in my opinion, it's so frustrating.  It's such an awesome part of windows with such a huge annoying handicap.  I've actually thought about just having another computer for my third monitor, like a tablet or something on a stand.  Sure you can SPAN a monitor in Windows so it acts like one monitor and I can tell RDP to go full screen but it has a width limit and then I need extra software on the VM to handle the big resolution like 2 screens instead of one.


    My Blog: http://www.thesug.org/Blogs/ryan_mann1/default.aspx Website: Under Construction

    • Proposed as answer by Tom Backus Friday, February 21, 2014 7:42 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by Tom Backus Friday, February 21, 2014 7:42 PM
    Thursday, October 04, 2012 12:12 AM
  • I only use two monitors, but according to the following post, it looks like you can restrict how many monitors RDP uses between 1 and 16.  It doesnt have to use them all. 

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2009/07/01/using-multiple-monitors-in-remote-desktop-session.aspx?Redirected=true

    Monday, July 15, 2013 4:44 AM
  • Since I have used two I can tell. 

    Oracle VirtualBox is type 2 hypervisor. It emulates on top of host kernel on top of hardware. It has more flexibility because it can emulate drivers and access to hardware the way it wants. For example, USB support is built-in. 

    Hyper-V is type 1 hypervisor. Its hypervisor runs on top of hardware, the host becomes parent partition, and other VM guests are child partitions. So, it has better performance than type 2. If you want to redirect USB connection from host to guest, this didn't work in Windows 8/2012. But since Windows 8.1/Server 2012 R2, you can redirect USB resource to VM guest through enhanced session mode. It seems as MS put or improved underlying VMBus to take care of the complaints. But you need to have both host and guest OS version over Windows 8/2012 fully updated. 

    Enhanced session mode: http://charbelnemnom.com/2014/01/13/cannot-copy-files-into-vm-with-allow-enhanced-session-mode-in-hyper-v-2012-r2/

    After all, you may find better performance with Hyper-V. In my experience, for example, disk performance is only 15% degraded in VM guest using host disk. With VirtualBox, I get more degrades. 



    Monday, April 14, 2014 10:46 PM
  • Since I have used two I can tell. 

    Oracle VirtualBox is type 2 hypervisor. It emulates on top of host kernel on top of hardware. It has more flexibility because it can emulate drivers and access to hardware the way it wants. For example, USB support is built-in. 

    Hyper-V is type 1 hypervisor. Its hypervisor runs on top of hardware, the host becomes parent partition, and other VM guests are child partitions. So, it has better performance than type 2. If you want to redirect USB connection from host to guest, this didn't work in Windows 8/2012. But since Windows 2012 R2, you can redirect USB resource to VM guest through enhanced session mode. It seems as MS put or improved underlying VMBus to take care of the complaints. 

    After all, you may find better performance with Hyper-V. In my experience, for example, disk performance is only 15% degraded in VM guest using host disk. With VirtualBox, I get more degrades. 

    We also used both on our developers laptops: Windows 8.1 Pro with enabled Hyper-V role and Windows 7 / VirtualBox. On a slower hardware you really can see the difference in performance between VirtualBox and Hyper-V. On a decent and recent machines difference is close to zero.

    P.S. I've personally switched to MacOS X / VMware Fusion and quite happy with this fact :)


    StarWind VSAN [Virtual SAN] clusters Hyper-V without SAS, Fibre Channel, SMB 3.0 or iSCSI, uses Ethernet to mirror internally mounted SATA disks between hosts.

    Monday, April 14, 2014 10:52 PM