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Best Virtual Machine Software Available Today

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Virtual machines are amazing software that brings multiple computers into one. These programs rely on simulation technology to recreate the environment of a computer system in software form. Virtual machines remove the restrictions on OS when it comes to compatibility, allowing multiple OS systems to run in a secure environment to protect the host system from the potential after-effects of a crash.

If you happen to have insecure, corrupted, or incompatible hardware, virtual machines just may be the solution.  Read on to discover the best virtual machine brands for your personal and professional needs.


The Best Virtual Machine Software Today

Best Virtual Machine Software
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Virtual machines emulate multiple operating systems within your very own computer. With virtual machine software, you can run multiple versions of Windows on a macOS and vice versa. You can also run other combinations such as Linux, Chrome, Solaris, and similar operating systems. Software developers and ordinary users alike need to run software that may not compatible with their current operating systems, and this technology provides a convenient and exact solution to these problems.  Allow us to present some of your best options for virtual machines in 2020:


VMWare Workstation

VMWare Workstation
Screenshot from vmware


VMWare is often considered the industry leader in the visualization market. The company has been active in the community for as long as 20 years, and it has since then developed a solid reputation amongst software developers and IT organizations.  It’s also been a go-to for cloud computing services. Check out the benefits of cloud computing for your business if you want to learn more. VMWare Workstation features advanced networking capabilities that allow users to set up a wide network of virtual networks. It also features an excellent layout to address a data center’s needs in handling large amounts of data. It also alternates as a data repository. There’s also a snapshot feature that lets you save the state of the virtual machine at any point in time, much like you would prepare a backup for your files.

The program also has plenty of features that prioritizes video and image quality for virtual machines.  Here’s a guide on how you can calibrate monitor color displays on Windows and Mac if you want to optimize the video performance of your new virtual machine. The software also features a cloning system that allows you to set aside multiple versions of an OS into separate compartments. Users can choose between completely isolating each virtual machine or linking some of them together to save on storage space.

You can choose between Workstation Player and Workstation Pro Player. You can get it for free, which will allow you to support over 200 guests. Unfortunately, developers have restricted the Workstation Player for commercial use.


Oracle VM VirtualBox

Oracle VirtualBox
Screenshot from virtualbox


Oracle VM Virtual Box is a full-featured software that can let you run multiple operating systems at the same time. The software offers flexibility in terms of migrating virtual machines from one host to another, and the process should go smoothly without any interruptions. The user is given complete freedom when it comes to the placement and organization of the virtual machines.

You can take snapshots of your virtual machines, which is the VM equivalent of creating a backup for your computer in case an error renders the software completely useless. Another thing to note is that you can switch between virtual machine histories by using snapshots.

The software also features a remote desktop protocol (RDP) that allows you to remotely access and manage your virtual desktops.  Users are also given the option to customize authentication processes to ensure that only authorized individuals can get into the system. VirtualBox can run several guest windows simultaneously, and each VM created can be transferred easily.

The software features a library of ready to install Guest operating systems, and is compatible with most hardware for quick and easy IOS transfers.  With this, you can also transfer files from host to guest. It also has 3D virtualization and video support. This does away with common problems having to do with visual and audio quality.


Parallels Desktop 16

Parallels Virtual Machine
Screenshot from parallels


Parallels is another cross-platform visualization software that works best with Mac. You can get the full Windows experience even without a PC thanks to this. The software also offers top speeds in testing and runs seamlessly with Windows and Mac applications side by side. Parallels’ best thing is that it offers the features of a paid virtual machine product along with many features specific to the Mac. This includes being open to open websites on Internet Explorer or Edge from a Safari browser or being able to open files from your Mac desktop using Windows.

There are three versions of Parallels available, depending on the scale of use. If this is your first time switching from PC to Mac, the preferred version is the basic one.

The next tier is the Pro edition that has been integrated with Microsoft Visual Studio and other well-known developer tools. It also features 24/7 email and phone tech support, access to business cloud services, and the option for premium networking tools. It’s quite clear that this version was aimed at professional IT experts and developers.

Finally, the Business edition includes all the features of the Pro, plus tools for centralized administration and management. Parallels is most compatible with macOS/OS X 10.12.6 and up.



Gnome Boxes

Gnome Boxes
Screenshot from gnome


Boxes from Gnome is a virtualization tool made specifically for Gnome Desktop and Linux operating systems. It comes with an intuitive interface that you can set up and maintain easily. All you need to do is obtain an ISO file, paste the direct link inside the Enter URL box, and the program will start the application for you.

The program will retrieve the live disk automatically, then set the ideal settings for the virtual machine on startup. Gnome Boxes makes processing much easier and more intuitive, which is great for beginners and non-experts. The program has a noticeably simple but functional interface that displays all virtual machines and their status.

Gnome Boxes is a really good option for users who are new to virtualization as well as users who just need a place to run alternate operating systems without much fuss. Let’s say you just want to run Windows 7; the software can do just that. Linux users who want a simple and presentable virtualization software might also find that Gnome Boxes agrees well with the operating system.

It plays exceptionally well with back-end tools like QEMU and Virtual Manager. Gnome Boxes is compatible with Gnome Desktop OS and variations of the Linux OSes. That might include software like the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora 29, Ubuntu 18.10, and more. The software also supports lesser-known operating systems such as Pop! OS or NetBSD.


Hyper-V Manager

Hyper-V Virtual Machine
Screenshot from docsmicrosoft


Microsoft released Hyper-V Manager back in 2016.  Hyper-V is a special virtualization toolkit added to Windows Server, which explains its original Windows Server Virtualization name. Having said that, we need to note that Hyper-V cannot be installed without Windows Server 2008. On the upside, this means that Hyper-V works can work with the network cards and other specs supported by Windows.

The inclusion of a virtual machine on Windows Server is also a unique take on the service, as most server backup services don’t offer the same. On the downside, this means all of your virtual machines will temporarily halt when the host server needs to reboot.

As expected from virtualization software, Hyper-V creates a virtual rending of operating systems and computers.  Using this program, you can create virtual hard drives, virtual switches, and other virtual renderings of actual devices. Besides that, Hyper-V also allows programmers to run multiple virtual machines on the host system. This ensures the partitioning of the virtual machines to prevent potential fallback in case of a system crash. Another feature called Enlightened I/O aids with storage, networking, and graphics subsystems. The program also offers its own cloud-based platform that can store virtual machine data.

Hyper-V is available on the 64-bit versions of Windows 10 Enterprise, Education, and Pro. Unfortunately for Windows Home users, Microsoft didn’t include the program. Home users will have to upgrade to Windows Pro first before getting access to this virtual machine. As for host operating systems, Hyper-V on Windows is not limited to versions of Windows alone. It also supports Linux OS, FreeBSD, and any other type of OS that runs on an x86-compatible CPU.


VMWare Fusion

VMWare Fusion
Screenshot from vmware


VMWare is another reliable virtualization software from industry leader VMWare. It’s an industrial-strength software that does for Macs what the VMWorkstation does for Windows and Linux.  Getting started with VMWare Fusion isn’t as straightforward as it doesn’t offer links to OS options. That means that before you can run a foreign OS, you will need to get a CD or disk image containing the emulated guest system that you want. You can create an emulated system using a disc image which you have to migrate from an existing Windows system.

You can create virtual machines that run the MacOS, which is useful for testing Mac-related software without compromising the host system. The latest version of the software makes it possible to disable certain features, such as copying text or other data stored on a virtual machine and pasting it into applications on the host. You can also set an expiry date for a virtual machine, or use the new Single Virtual Machine mode to prevent users from creating new virtual machines. The software also makes it possible to create linked clones of a virtual machine on a Mac to save on storage space.

This program comes with Basic and Pro tiers. Developers are aiming the basic version at individual users and small businesses.  Meanwhile, the Pro version is for IT departments with large-scale deployment projects. The basic version may lack the developer-level features found in the Pro version, but a basic license does work on all the Mac computers you own.

On the other hand, the developers have limited Pro licenses to just three Macs. Fusion supports a wide variety of host operating systems, including DOS, Linux, Netware, and many others. A 30-day trial is available for the basic version.


Virtual Machines
Photo by geralt via pixabay


What Are Virtual Machines?

A virtual machine is a type of environment that imitates various computer systems into a software format.  Think of it as a game emulator that you can download to play dated games on your modern PC. Virtual machines are like that, except they’re much more sophisticated and are mostly intended for programming purposes. Virtual machines are most commonly used for running multiple operating systems simultaneously within a secure environment. For example, a macOS native computer can run Windows alongside it. Virtual machines run on a typical window like other programs. Such programs come with their own CPU, memory, and more within a hardware system.
Any number of virtual machines can be present on a host computer at any time. Each of them can contain any number of applications, some of them duplicates of each other. The virtual machines exist in separate partitions in the hard drive. Each of these functions independently, so any issues about one virtual machine will not affect the rest of the VMs nor the host computer. Virtual machines also work hand in hand with cloud computing infrastructure. It enables dozens of different types of applications and workloads to be run and tested within the limits of a single server. To find out more, read this piece explaining just how cloud computing works.
Virtual machines are mainly used for running software that does not work with your current OS. A virtual machine will remove the existing limitations from your operating system. That allows you to open the system and make it function on a host OS. Virtual machines are also widely used by software developers and IT experts. They use it to test multiple versions of the same operating system. They often use it to access virus-infected data, creating operating system backups.

How Do Virtual Machines Work?

How Do Virtual Machines Work
Phoot by serpstat via pexels


Virtual machines have two major components. First is the host operating system, or simply host, which carries the virtual machine. You also have software emulated using virtual machines, aka guest operating systems. You can also refer to them as just guests. Most virtual machines rely on a piece of software called the hypervisor. The hypervisor manages the interaction between the host and guests. It allocates resources like memory and storage between the hosts and the guests. The software is also responsible for scheduling operations for an equal share of resources from the host system.
The hypervisor attends to the resource needs of software running inside the virtual machines. It’s responsible for getting resources from the physical environment to the appropriate software. The software also handles the communication between the guests and the host. Even then, it won’t tamper with the independence of each guest system. We must also highlight the distinction between virtual machines and dual-boot or multi-boot setups. Virtual machines can run multiple operating systems and other software simultaneously. On the other hand, dual-boot setup users only get to choose one operating system to boot up. Any changes made to a virtual machine requires the whole system to reconfigure. Meanwhile, dual-boot or multi-boot setups can work just fine without reconfiguration.


What Are the Benefits of Virtual Machines?

What are the Benefits of Virtual Machines
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IT organizations have been relying on virtualization since the 1960s. Even until now, it continues to be a vital component in the development of new software and IT strategies.  It’s the single most cost-effective, scalable, and efficient option for developing IT solutions. Virtual machines offer a full complement of benefits from partitioning, isolation, and encapsulation. Perhaps their most beneficial function is their ability to run multiple virtual systems on a single server. Another key feature has to do with partitioning. A partition is an isolated unit within the hardware. It is a safe place where each virtual machine can execute tasks independently. Partitioning disallows and tampering of any applications to each other. This also protects each setup in case of a crash. Files downloaded from untrustworthy sources or even corrupted files are ideally run using virtual machines.

Virtual machines also promise convenient data recovery and transfer. They are easy to convert into hard data and easy to migrate onto another server. In fact, moving and copying virtual machines are just as easy as moving and copying files on a computer. Virtual machines allow software developers to go beyond the normal limits of the hardware.

Virtual machines have many practical benefits. The foremost benefit is that they drive higher utilization rates for individual servers. They also significantly reduce maintenance costs labor costs. Virtual machines save significant time and effort when it comes to maintenance tasks. And because virtual machines exist completely in the virtual world, they are relatively easy to restore in case of an emergency.  Virtual machines overall save IT organizations significant time and effort that they can use to work on more projects.


Final Thoughts on the Best Virtual Machines Today

Best Virtual Machines on the Market
Photo by geralt via pixabay


The best virtual machine software makes it easy to create virtual versions of multiple operating systems. The key advantage lies in allowing users to run apps that they could otherwise not be able to run due to incompatible system requirements. It’s the only and best option to do such a thing, and anyone can easily set up a virtual machine.

Virtual machines also help protect personal computers’ integrity, as users can turn to virtual machines to run software from unreliable sources, which would insulate the potential after-effects of a crash. Besides having very practical applications for personal use, virtual machines have also become a staple in the business environment in the form of computing and cloud computing. Also, check out the potential applications of virtual reality (VR) in education.

Best Virtual Machine Software Available Today

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