Xen or Virtualbox or VMWare?

Hey all,

Trying to figure out how to use Xen, really interested in using it.

I would to set up debian etch server in a virtual environment before deploying.

I am wondering which VM would be best to use?

Just on a side note: I installed Xen on my 11.0 machine and then my nvidia drivers crapped out (it installed some sort of 96.X.X drivers and my monitor was never the same). But this setup would be on my new 10.3 machine. Can Xen work with my nvidia 173.X.X drivers? I don’t want to lose my 1600x1050 resolution again.



Personally, I like VMware Server for Virtual Machines, but I’ve been having trouble installing it lately. I haven’t really used other VM software that much, but from what I’ve seen from VMware, it gets the job done. As for the drivers, I’m not sure about that aspect of it. I’ve only used the OpenSUSE Nvidia Drivers, rather than the compiled ones, so I really can’t give much of an opinion on that topic.

Can’t comment on Zen, but have used VMware in the past, it wored fine but I always found it thrashed away at my system a bit, but that was with an older box than this one, haven’t used it recently as VirtualBox has been brilliant, though I am only using it in a desktop setting.

If we are talking server virtualization there are two free options I really like & recomend.

VMServer 2 RC1 is out, combined with 11.0 and both on 64 bit it’s an easy manageable and smooth ride. There is a good Webmanagment module as well as VI Infrastructure client support. The final should be out soon & the RC1 is good quality from experience.
We are also deploying these as secondary server (next to ESX / VI3.5).

Xen on the other hand gives a very good performance (better than VMServer) but has less management GUI tools.
If you want to have a look at this I would recommend downloading SLES 10 SP2 and using LVM volumes as guest disks.
That is a kick ass setup :slight_smile: - Updates will cease after 60 days, but it’s stable as it is and you can reinstall the host if needed keeping the guests intact.

Xen has a learning curve, but like Linux once you get it it gives you allot of power. Second, more tools (management and other) & well laid out documentation keeps coming.

If it’s workstation related VMWare Workstation or VirtualBox are still the best options and perform well.

Just my 2cents,

I have tried Xen for a couple of weeks in my Thinkpad T61 (intel core duo 2.5 Ghz with VT and 3Gb RAM) and the performance was ver poot, but worst I couln’t config to have internet inside the guest (Windows XP SP2), I passed a lot of days reading how to solve this network problem but with no success.

Apparently its a problem with the bridge network and wireless packets (the wired ehternet network bridge do work, but my main connection is wireless :frowning:

Xen is not ready for production use in a laptop (its my experience).

Now I’m using vmware, it work very great.

A laptop would fall under desktop virtualization & I agree with you there.

One thing to remember is that performance for Windows guests on Xen relies greatly on the fact if you have the Virtual driver pack (Novell download) or guest addon’s (XenSource download) installed in the Windows guests.
Like with VMWare and Virtualbox, these virtual driver add on’s give an impressive boost to fully virtualized guests on Xen (like Windows)


I also think that XEN is too complicated
I use vmware WS(trial) and player it works but i have some troubles with permissions good working was under root for me

when i try virtualbox OSE - i like it.
it just simple, understandable well working and free… Intstall from yast, download an image(with drivers) from virtualbox site… then mount it right in gui… ALL

PS:also many people said that qemu is good but for me it is complicated too…

I installed in vm windows xp sp2

Thanks a million, for all your input.

Greatly appreciated


Hope you don’t mind me tagging on a question to the end of this thread.

I am very new to Xen but I have been using Virtualbox for a while. I have a fully licenced and activated Windows XP virtual machine which runs very well with Virtualbox. Question is can I run it from Xen? The answer, at the moment at least, is no. When I set up the Xen virtual machine to use the Virtualbox .vdi files it just says it can’t find a valid boot sector.

Am I striving for the impossible here or just doing something wrong?

I don’t know if Xen supports VBox drives… only VMware vmdks’s as far as I know…
If your XP setup is not to big it might be quicker and less frustrating to reinstall.

One thing that might work is to use qemu tools to convert the VBox disk to a qemu/xen disk format.

Or you can first dump and image of your Virtualbox disk (using a tool like partimage, ghost, bootit, etc) & then create a new disk in Xen and dump the image you made back on to that.

As note:
If you get a blue screen when booting the imaged XP guest (due to an inaccessible boot device/wrong disk driver) the workaround is to get a WinPE disk along with the fixide plugin and run the fixide to inject some basic drivers.

Hope that helps,

Xen wont work with nvidia driver(if you want 3d acceleration) The kernel cant be compiled… And there is a patch in nvidia linux discssion forum… And for myself it didn’t work for me… I personally use virtual box… It is fast user amd vt,

Well vmware is good i use it only if need to test out some internetwork problems… its **** easy…

Thanks for that Magic31. It gives me something to think about, although duplicating the disk in any way will just result in another 13Gb of wasted disk space (because I don’t want to delete the original). So i guess it is probably just easier to carry on with Virtualbox, I have got it working really well now after reading another post elsewhere on the forum.