Virtualization - who uses it and why?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by maflynn, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Anyone using virtualization to run different operating systems?

    I have an old copy of Workstation 15 that I just reloaded and I'm installing Pop!_OS, though with virtualization, I can try any number of operating systems. I use Oracle's VirtualBox at work, but I found it a bit limiting in features, and since I have a license for vmware...

    Part of my goal is use Pop!_OS, get used to it, learn ore about it with an eye to re-loading it on my thinkpad or more likely loading it onto an Surface Go (or something of that nature)
  2. MrRabuf macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2019
    I use VirtualBox at work on a daily basis to run lots of different virtual machines. I probably have around a dozen or so VMs I routinely use and am always creating/destroying others. These days, most are Ubuntu based but I also have FreeBSD and Windows 7/10 VMs. I'm a software engineer and need lots of different VMs for the different projects I work on. It would be a major PIA for me to do my job without virtualization.
  3. sracer macrumors G3


    Apr 9, 2010
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    I use VirtualBox on my home iMac to run older Windows apps in a WinXP VM but I much rather have native hardware to run OSes on. That is why I pick up new cheap Chromebooks (like the Acer Chromebook 14) to run Linux, and Black Friday/Cyber Monday Windows laptops at Best Buy ($100-$120) to install older versions of Windows on.

    A "someday" project of mine is to set up a thin OS (Linux-based most likely) that does nothing but launch a VB VM and allocate as much system resources to it to get as close to a native experience as possible.
  4. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    I run my entire home server environment (dns+webserver+database+mail+chat server+owncloud+gitlab+time machine+cups/airprint+stuff with which I play around) in Proxmox VE + LXC containers emulating mostly Debian and Ubuntu, but with some CentOS thrown in.

    At work I run vSphere on almost all servers. Mostly Windows VMs (legacy crap), but a bunch of infrastructure servers and appliances nowadays run Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, RedHat and even an SLES instance somewhere.

    On my (work) laptop, I run Fusion when I need to try something out quickly, but with NSX and flash-based storage in the datacenter this is a shrinking need for professional tasks as long as I've got a good network connection. For personal stuff I have a couple of Linux distributions installed to test and develop solutions when on the go.
  5. Erehy Dobon, Aug 8, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019

    Erehy Dobon macrumors regular

    Erehy Dobon

    Feb 16, 2018
    I use VirtualBox for a Windows 10 instance to run Quicken for Windows and occasionally Excel.

    While Quicken also tracks my spending, I use both programs primarily to analyze my investments.

    That’s the sole purpose of virtualization for me.

    If Numbers ever gains decent conditional formatting support I could conceivably dump Excel. For the foreseeable future, I see no credible replacement to the Windows desktop version of Quicken.

    One thing: I do like the ease of making a Windows backup this way. I just copy the VM folder to another drive. No fussing with stupid backup settings.

    I recently acquired a cheap Wintel box and I don’t even bother running those two applications on that machine. I figure one day that machine will blow up and I’ll probably spend hours trying to recover to a point I can restore from a system image.

    I’ve also tried running a cloud instance of Windows at Amazon Web Services and using Remote Desktop.

    The VirtualBox way is the most expedient way for me.
  6. soulreaver99 macrumors 68030


    Aug 15, 2010
    Southern California
    I have Parallels on my MacBook Pro to run Windows for Microsoft Office. I don't care what anyone says, Office on Mac is still not at the level of the Windows version.

    On my Windows gaming laptop at home or office, I use VMWARE to run MacOS on a second screen for iMessage and tinkering with Xcode.
  7. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I run VMware Fusion on my MBP to run several VMs
    • Windows 10 to run Office, Outlook, etc. to mimic my work environment
    • Ubuntu Server 18.04 to run PHPServerMonitor through a VPN to monitor around 200 connections for work
    • Ubuntu 18.04 just for Linux environment for testing
    • Kali Linux for familiarity with pen testing and such
    I can't imagine not having the capability at this point
  8. SmackBookPro macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2018
    I run Parallels with Windows 10 to access MS Office apps and some of the higher level functionality not on the Mac, and dabble in Access databases. Also handy to remind myself to not buy a W10 PC by using it regularly and being reminded of the complicated errors, crashes and whatnot that foil the otherwise much improved OS since 2008!

    It's a shame the Windows only features of Office will never be able to come to Mac due to depending on deep Windows code.. But thankfully virtualisation makes for a practical way to not lose out!
  9. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    I don't I'd rather natively boot into each OS
  10. cinnabun814 macrumors regular


    Apr 2, 2018
    I have parallels to run Windows 10 and Ubuntu just to keep an eye on them. Not very tech savvy I just like playing with the different operating systems.
  11. drmeatball macrumors member


    Aug 3, 2019
    Ellicott City, MD
    I use Parallels and Windows 10 to control my Christmas light automation hardware and software. Nutty gritty hardware access. It just works.
  12. 556fmjoe macrumors 68000


    Apr 19, 2014
    I generally prefer not to virtualize. However, I am running Qubes on a ThinkPad T480 with a bunch of OpenBSD VMs segregated according to purpose. Right now I have one each for work, personal, software dev, and "vault" use cases.
  13. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I play around with them just to try out an OS and to familiarize myself with them. Mostly I just boot into an OS. I don't have much need for virtualization.

    I also tinker with emulators to run some bygone computer platform like an Apple II or System 7. I'd like to try a Xerox Star/Alto emulator and other 60s/70s era computer emulators but never get around to it.

    Mostly I just use them for DOS and Windows 98 to run old games.
  14. The_Interloper macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2016
    I use a Windows 10 VM via Parallels to run Dragon 15 speech recognition software. The Mac version was always poor and is now discontinued. The built in dictation in Catalina looks good but still not as high end as Dragon.
  15. NoBoMac Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jul 1, 2014
    VirtualBox for Windows 10 off a USB-C SSD. Only time I bring it up is to update software on it every month. Maybe once every 1-2 years I actually need to use it for real.

    In the past, VMware when I was running Linux and Solaris VMs as well. But got tired of the every couple years pay them $50 due to old version no longer runs on latest MacOS.

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14 August 7, 2019