Virtualization software for New Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NotABigTruck, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. NotABigTruck macrumors newbie

    NotABigTruck

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    #1
    I will very likely be using a new 15" Pro soon and will be using 2 VMs or possibly 3 depending on how smoothly I can get 2 to run. I do security work and want to experiment with tools in different OSes. Root OS being MacOS, then possibly 2 flavors of Linux (Kali & undecided) and probably Windows 10 as VMs. I want to be able to switch between OSes and provide the ability to move files between them or isolate them entirely in case I am sand-boxing a potential ransom-ware situation. I may be blowing away VMs and recreating them after I crater or royally screw one up. I dont want to risk integrity of the root OS (MacOS), or the Windows VM in the process of operating the rest.

    I know there are a few different flavors of VM software out there; Bootcamp, Parallels, VM Ware, etc. When I go to the bucket I want to get whats best for this use case without asking for a Lamborghini needlessly. As a IT engineer, which would you chose and why?


    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. jerryk macrumors 68030

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    #2
    I use Parallels. It works well and is well supported. I have their subscription service. Since I use this professionally, it is worth the extra money to have support.
     
  3. NotABigTruck thread starter macrumors newbie

    NotABigTruck

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    #3
    Thanks for the feedback JerryK. I have heard good things about Parallels as well. Have you used any of the other solutions? In Windows-land I have used VM Fusion and VirtualBox. Seems to be "get what you pay for."
     
  4. jerryk macrumors 68030

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    #4
    I used VirtualBox a few times and was not all that impressed. Again, mostly due to support issues.

    I think I used VMWare once, but liked Parallels better. And since I have no complaints with Parallels, and have Parallel VMs, I have stuck with it.
     
  5. SteveJobzniak, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017

    SteveJobzniak Suspended

    SteveJobzniak

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    #5
    VirtualBox = Linux Nerd-level.

    Parallels = Consumer-level.

    VMware = Enterprise-level.

    I've worked with all three for 8 years when compiling my software on different platforms.

    VirtualBox:
    + Free
    + Generally good for a Linux guest-OS.
    - Buggier on anything but a Linux host OS. Because most of its devs are Linux users.
    - Ultra-slow filesystem I/O and graphics card emulation.
    - Buggy graphics emulation, with tons of graphics corruption and video compositing errors in desktops that rely on OpenGL (like Ubuntu).

    Parallels:
    + Far better than VirtualBox.
    - Much lower 3D performance than VMware.
    - Very annoying "toy-like" (consumer-grade) attempts to integrate the guest OS into the host OS; flooding your host OS with application shortcuts and file associations that open in the guest OS.
    - I hated this product when I owned it for a few years. It's a toy.

    VMware:
    + Far better than VirtualBox.
    + Far better than Parallels. The day I upgraded from Parallels to VMware was the best day of my life.
    + Super easy to install guest operating systems. Can even import from other virtualizers like VirtualBox.
    + Extremely good 3D performance (beats Parallels by 30-40%), and even has DirectX 10 emulation.
    + Extremely good filesystem I/O performance.
    + Extremely good networking performance.
    + Excellent graphics card emulation; zero graphical glitches or video compositing problems.
    + You can choose how integrated you want your host-to-guest to be. Total isolation is possible.
    + For Linux guests, simply install the standardized "open-vm-desktop-tools" package. Their drivers are opensource and included in every distro. For other guests, just click "Install VMware Tools" in the app menu and it will mount an installer.
    + Capable of running multiple VMs simultaneously even on an old MacBook Pro 2010.
    + VMWare Fusion uses the exact same famous enterprise-grade engine as the VMWare Enterprise products.
    + You can attach your VMs to a virtual "VM-only network" so that they can connect to each other but not to the outside internet.
    + Drag and drop of files into and out of the VM. Can be disabled per-VM.
    + Copy and paste of clipboard into and out of VM. Can be disabled per-VM
    + Folder sharing. So you can have a totally isolated VM which just gets files from the host via a shared folder.

    In short: Parallels is the consumer-oriented choice. VirtualBox is the nerd-oriented choice. And VMware is the enterprise-oriented choice with a consumer-friendly product using the same engine (VMware Fusion).

    Get VMware Fusion for the enhanced performance and configurability and the full power of the VMware engine. You will love it! Here's a free 30 day trial: https://my.vmware.com/en/web/vmware/info/slug/desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_fusion/8_0

    Don't even bother trying Parallels unless you want slower, toylike, consumer oriented junk. Like I said, upgrading away from Parallels to VMware after years of Parallels was the best moment of my life. Better than when I had my first kid! :D
     
  6. chrfr macrumors 603

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    #6
    I've been a user of VMWare Fusion since version 1. I'm satisfied with it and am not interested in adopting the subscription model of Parallels.
     
  7. jerryk macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Steve. Have you tried VMWare with Windows 10?
     
  8. ZapNZs macrumors 68000

    ZapNZs

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    #8
    FWIW, I use Fusion 8.5 on on 2014 MBP-15 driving dual displays with the built-in display running. I have something like 9 different Windows versions. It can comfortably run Kali, Windows 10, and a guest version of OS X simultaneously for general use (with extremely demanding use, such as if you were using Hydra, then you may want to run only one VM at a time so you can allocate as much RAM and processor resources to the guest OS.) Especially with Windows, I find disabling all of the UI animations conserves a lot of system resources.

    I generally keep two active versions of the VMs I use in a way that I might screw up. One of them is a version I do not use in this fashion, and the other is a SANDBOX version where I do whatever. On an external, I keep a master OEM copy of each VM. So if I screw up my sandbox version, I simply delete it and make a new copy of the OEM master, and then use the copied VM for my sandbox.

    Additionally, you could also use snapshots, which allows you to revert any changes you make in one or more sessions. I personally don't use it because of the resources it consumes, but many people do and it is very useful in many cases.

    With the VMs I use most, they live on the local SSD. With the ones I use less often, they live on external SSDs. Especially if you are working with malware, running that specific VM on an external SSD might be an attractive option (and certainly you will still want to ensure that the VM is configured to be as isolated as possible from the host OS.)

    You can try Fusion for free, and I am sure you could also find a trial for Parallels. VirtualBox is free and very good (although IMO not as good as the former two)
     
  9. SteveJobzniak, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017

    SteveJobzniak Suspended

    SteveJobzniak

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    #9
    Yeah I use VMware with VMs for Windows 10, OS X El Capitan and Ubuntu.

    Ubuntu as a guest has the fastest performance, because it's a super efficient OS. Feels like natively using the machine.

    OS X is very, very fast except that it has no 3D emulation. That's a limitation from Apple, because they don't let any VM developers create virtual 3rd party graphics drivers. They don't want VMs to run as nicely as a real Mac.

    Windows 10 is a bloated OS and is slow to start (1.5 minutes), and once it's running the complex start menu is quite slow. But other than that, the Windows 10 performance in actual applications is good. I'm gonna try @ZapNZs tip of turning off all Windows 10 UI animations, actually!

    My 7 year old dual-core MacBook Pro is definitely to blame. I'm going to upgrade as soon as Apple releases a touchscreen desktop device.

    Edit: Windows 10 runs great when I set it to "Adjust for best performance" (in Windows 10 System Properties > Advanced > Performance Options). No more syrupy animations.
     
  10. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Since VMware officially supports Windows 10 in both Workstation and Fusion you shouldn't expect any issues with that. From my own experiences I can say that it works just fine.

    Adding to the very nice list @SteveJobzniak posted: there is a very nice integration of ESXi in Fusion. You can connect to an ESXi box from within Fusion and get a console of each running vm as well as download and upload vm's. That makes testing and demoing things a lot easier.
    Btw, when it comes to networking there is a lot you can do with the Fusion Pro version (which also comes with two other nice features: full clones and linked clones) and it is far easier to do and understand than the networking of, say, Virtualbox (for example: no need for port mapping in the virtualisation app just to ssh into a vm)

    The only downside I find is something like Vagrant. If you are going that route you are better off with Virtualbox because it is a lot cheaper and all the documentation and tutorials also expect you to be using Virtualbox.
     
  11. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Will be fun to see how VMs run on an iPad Pro.
     
  12. ciemunio macrumors newbie

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    Jul 25, 2016
    #12
    I am using for years VM and Parallels:
    -vm is usefull because I got many virtual machines from different companies with their tools, so it is handy, I dont have to transform them, it works with esxi.
    -parallels, much faster than vmware, better with grapfhics

    (sorry, I completely disagree with your feelings).

    besides from security perspective, great thing for malware researcher, there is one checkbox "Isolate machine" which turns off all connections, copyting, pasting etc.

    I dont VirtualBox but my colleague use it in company and for creating machines with complicated network connections, he says, that is it is great tool.
     
  13. zarathu macrumors regular

    zarathu

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    #13
    I use Virtual box on both my MBP and on my imac. I don't find it buggy in the least, and I'm not a techie. It installed just like an Apple program, and works great. I have used VM Ware in the past.

    I also used it in Ubuntu 14.04 on my x200 Thinkpad. it worked great there too.
     
  14. SteveJobzniak, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017

    SteveJobzniak Suspended

    SteveJobzniak

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    #14
    @ciemuni There's no debate. All reviews consistently prove that VMware is faster for 3D framerate.

    This is how the typical graphics benchmarks turn out:

    parallels-vs-fusion-2015-3dmark-ice-storm.png

    You can claim many things in this world, but "Parallels is faster at graphics than Fusion" is not one of them. That's blatantly false. Fusion is much faster. ;-) In fact, VMware Fusion is very close to the gray "Boot Camp" bars in the graph (which is the native Windows performance)!

    As for isolating a VM: Fusion provides that too, with granular control over the isolation.

    Okay then I'll point out two bugs:

    1. No sound, because they screwed up their Core Audio driver. Not sure if they've fixed that yet but it was like that for several months and several releases in 2016. The reason they didn't fix it? Because (according to their forums) they don't have many active Mac developers. They then tried fixing it but kept re-introducing the bug. Again because "we don't have many active Mac developers" so they didn't notice they broke it again.

    2. Try running an OpenGL desktop like Ubuntu, and open a video player like VLC. Now play a video. Now place another window on top of the video window. The video will still play through the window that's supposed to be on top of it. Graphics compositing issues galore.

    And the performance of VirtualBox is super slow. Disk I/O is terrible. Graphics performance is laughable and cripplingly slow. I spoke to one of the VirtualBox developers (he's officially employed by Oracle) on IRC about it one day and he agreed that VirtualBox is pretty terrible but that it's the only free choice.
     
  15. dyn, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017

    dyn macrumors 68030

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    #15
    VMware Fusion and Virtualbox don't need that, they isolate the vm's by default but still allow some of the drag 'n drop options. In Fusion you can completely disable those options per vm. You can also encrypt the vm and add restrictions which is useful in certain specific use cases that you'll most likely only find in enterprises.

    Another useful thing is creating an entire separate network for vm's only where you can have 1 vm as a firewall (pfSense works great for that) which has another network adapter of type NAT which will allow for an internet connection. I found that easier to do in Fusion than the other two alternatives.

    One thing I forgot to mention: on OS X both VMware Fusion and Virtualbox can get along with Docker (which uses the OS X native hypervisor.framework). This is not possible on Windows where Hyper-V is used as you can only use 1 hypervisor. No idea how well Parallels is going to work with that; there seem to be some issues with Parallels and something like Veertu (which is just a frontend for hypervisor.framework).
    If one must know, I'd not recommend hypervisor.framework because it is way too limited; you can forget about doing any form of fancy networking (the framework does not support that).
     
  16. NotABigTruck thread starter macrumors newbie

    NotABigTruck

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    #16

    So I dont hear much about BootCamp but its topping the charts here. Is that not a full-on virtualization solution that can hold a candle to VM Fusion? /scratches head
     
  17. ciemunio macrumors newbie

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    Jul 25, 2016
    #17
    In parallels you can also do it granulary, but there is also handy checkbox. Both of them can do it granullary.
    I saw benchmarks, but sorry, benchmarks are numbers created by some software, I prefer my opinion (we can disagree on that, I dont care). For me, for things what I do, parallels is faster. And cheaper:)
    But best idea is to test both, they have trials.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 27, 2017 ---
    bootcamp does not get you what virtualisation does, you can run 2-3 or more virtal machines and test some things, how they cooperate..
     
  18. SteveJobzniak Suspended

    SteveJobzniak

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    #18
    Boot Camp is Windows running on a Mac, natively. You need to reboot to get into Windows. It's not a VM. It runs from your main hard disk (you need to devote a partition to it).

    The reason they show Boot Camp in the graphs is to show what the performance is like under native Windows, compared to the VMs.

    #1: Boot Camp (native, 100% performance).
    #2: VMware Fusion (~90% of the 3D performance of native).
    #3: Parallels (~66% of the 3D performance of native).
    #4: VirtualBox (~3.3% of the 3D performance of native).
     
  19. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #19
    No. Bootcamp is just a set of tools for installing Windows natively on your Mac right next to OS X. There is absolutely no virtualisation involved.

    The only OS X virtualisation products available are (in no particular order):
    • VMware Fusion
    • Parallels Desktop
    • Virtualbox
    • Veertu (uses built-in Hypervisor.Framework)
    • xHyve (uses built-in Hypervisor.Framework)
    Out of that list you'd want any of the 3 on top of the list due to limitations in Hypervisor.Framework.
     
  20. NotABigTruck thread starter macrumors newbie

    NotABigTruck

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    #20
    Sounds more and more like I need VM Ware Fusion. How much can I expect that to run me if i want ~4 VMs. And will the i7 500GB SSD on the 15" Mac be sufficient for this? What is the max number of VMs you should run without wanting to donkey punch your machine?
     
  21. SteveJobzniak, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017

    SteveJobzniak Suspended

    SteveJobzniak

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    #21
    VMware Fusion has no limit to how many VMs you can create or run simultaneously.

    I run 3 Linux VMs simultaneously on a 7 year old MacBook Pro dual core. Your machine will run well.

    Try the free 30 day Fusion trial!

    As for what Fusion costs: There's a fixed price (not sure, something like $80). And major upgrades (released every 1-2 years) are $49.95. And you can keep the last version you bought forever. And they are friendly towards giving free upgrades to support new operating systems. VMware Fusion 8.5 was a free major upgrade (instead of calling it Fusion 9), adding free Windows 10 support.

    As for what Parallels costs: $79.99 per year. Forever. If you stop paying you cannot keep using Parallels. There's an option to pay $79.99 for a permanent license to "current version only. not eligible for free upgrades". Parallels are leeches that try to suck you dry.
     
  22. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #22
    It highly depends on what you do in the vm's but you can run anywhere between 1 to 20 vm's when you have a machine with about 16GB of mem and an ssd (cpu isn't as important as those two). It's mostly a good idea to stick with the defaults when you create a vm (the hypervisor is very efficient at managing resources) or even dial that down when it comes to memory (my Linux vm's have no more than 512MB of mem and that's only because that's as low as most Linux installers go nowadays).
     
  23. RockstarSR macrumors member

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    Mar 19, 2011
    #23
    This is what I do: I have a 2016 MacBook Pro 15" which is my daily driver...
    Then there is a cheap VM box (I use Virtual Box on Windows 10) with 32GB RAM I built for ~$350 (you can build it for much cheaper) which has atleast 8 VMs running at a time, one of it being Windows 10. This is 24x7 running and all I need to do is SSH (if Linux OS) or RDP (if Windows) from my MBP.

    When I'm out of my home, I connect using VPN (one of the VM runs OpenVPN).

    This is a MUCH better setup I feel IF YOU DONT NEED 100% GRAPHICS PERFORMANCE from VM/Remote machine. RDP is insanely good.

    This setup ensures that my MBP runs without its fans spinning like Jet and the VM box is easily and cheapily upgradeable with more RAM and SSD.
     
  24. ciemunio, Jan 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017

    ciemunio macrumors newbie

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    #24
    That is no true...:) I understand that you prefer Fusion, but please, check data..
    You can choose, you can pay it forever or pay it per year (parallels). If you pay per year you have free upgrade. If you pay once, you have the same as vmware (upgrade cost less).

    vmware fusion/parallels does not have limits (oh, they have some, but you are not interested in them, you will not touch them on macbook).
    When you will create any machine (parallels or vmware, dont care), dont give them too much resources, not so much as you would like to have in your workstation - they will be working in background offten, so they dont need it so much.


    As RockstarSR said, it is great idea to have server at home/work and connect to it using VPN. But sometimes it is not enough, if you have limited Internet access, better is to have on your mac some vmware/parallels.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 27, 2017 ---
    I am using virtualization for years, so I can tell you, that 4 machines will be fine. Just dont give them too much space on disk, it ends very quickly:)
    Best idea is to test 3 of those solutions, they have trials (just dont install parallels toolbox or something like that - not the same as vmware tools, they are some tools installed on your host machine, they are useles in my opinion)
     
  25. Marshall73 macrumors 65816

    Marshall73

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    #25
    Another vote for VMware Fusion. Used parallels but switched to VMWare pro as parallels would screw up my Mac when running it alongside Rdp or any other remote support tool. I would get graphic glitches and it would all end up crashing. This was on 3 different models of Mac. The problem resolved when I removed parallels and went to VMWare.

    Apart from that VMWare is faster in general use and faster with snapshots and their management.
     

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