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Difference Between VMWare and Xen

vmware_bookVMWare vs Xen

When it comes to virtualization, VMWare and Xen are two of the most recognizable names. VMWare is the older of the two and as a consequence, it is already very well known and established when Xen was released. VMWare has also developed a wide user base along with a dedicated support system. When it comes to pricing, VMWare might seem like the more expensive option. But when you consider that VMWare runs more virtual machines with the same machine specifications, the price per virtual machine is more or less the same.

When it comes to performance, VMWare is slightly faster than Xen on most operating systems but this gap widens on the Windows platform where Xen tends to score lower. Xen operates on paravirtualization where it modifies the operating system that it is running on so that the instructions are directly sent to the hardware. VMWare, on the other hand, uses binary translation and emulation and does not require the modification of the operating system that it is running on. This makes VMWare a little bit easier to install and manage compared to Xen.

When it comes to the hardware, VMWare seems to be the clear winner as there are limitations to using Xen. Xen requires that the hardware used with their software is either Intel-VT or AMD-V. This means that users with incompatible hardware would need to upgrade regardless of how powerful their existing hardware is. This issue does not exist with VMWare as it is capable of running on any hardware as long as it meets the requirements. VMWare is also capable of accepting more powerful hardware compared to Xen. You are therefore able to simulate a lot more machines with a single system.

VMWare seems to be the better choice at the moment as it has a proven track record. But this might change as the development of Xen continues to progress.

1. VMWare is the older and more recognizable virtualization software
2. VMWare is more expensive compared to Xen
3. VMWare can run more virtual machines with the same hardware compared to Xen
4. VMWare has slightly better performance on most operating systems but the gap is more pronounced with Windows
5. VMWare has greater support compared to Xen
6. Xen needs to modify the operating system it is running on while VMware does not need that
7. Xen requires Intel-VT or AMD-V capable hardware to run while VMWare does not

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