Parallels versus VMWare

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by gdanko, May 3, 2006.

  1. gdanko


    Considering the massive price difference, one has to ask. What are the main differences between Parallels and VMWare? I am curious to see them from a technology/feature/usability standpoint. Has anyone made some sort of chart contrasting the two? From a user standpoint, I don't see much difference.
  2. maverick808


    Comparison Chart

    /--Application--|---Runs on Macs-----\
    |...Parallels ......|.............YES................|

  3. gdanko


    Anything else? :)
  4. nhand42


    Other Differences

    VMware runs fast on machines without Intel-VT, Parallels needs Intel-VT to run fast. Fortunately all Intel Macs have Intel-VT.

    VMware is more mature, very stable by comparison to Parallels. Though honestly I've only ever heard about Parallels causing a kernel panic, it's never happened to me.

    Some versions of VMware are currently free (no cost). Though Parallels is cheap enough that I don't think that matters very much.

    VMware video performance "feels" faster but that's just a maturity thing. Given a comment that a developer made on another thread, it seems Parallels copies the entire framebuffer instead of just dirty blocks. I expect they'll implement dirty blocks soon enough and performance will be on par with VMware

    VMware suspends/resumes faster than Parallels. But we're talking 5 seconds versus 10 seconds. I'm not worried about it.

    VMware has better handling of removable devices, especially CD and DVD.

    VMware has a more extensive range of products from the desktop (Workstation) through to proper server editions (ESX). This matters to an enterprise more than it matters to personal users.

    VMware supports transparent migration of guest VMs between host computers. It's amazing to watch (move Windows XP from your Pentium-4 in another city to that Xeon over in the datacentre without interrupting your desktop session). Hardly matters outside the enterprise.

    VMware Workstation can take screenshots of the running VM.

    Parallels runs on the Mac. That reason alone trumps all the others.
  5. gdanko



    It seems that most of the items are based on product maturity. Unless you purchase VMWare server you cannot create VMs (as I know it)

    So the value for Parallels goes up exponentially there.
  6. tangential

    tangential Bit Poster

    Networking is where VMWare wins (for now)

    I've been using vmware since their first beta.

    The one area where I would say they clearly beat parallels is in 2 networking features.

    First, with vmware I can have multiple NICs, one of which can be a host-only (NAT'd or not) that always has a consistent IP address. The other NIC can be bridged to the local network.

    This allows much more consistency between host and vm no matter what network I am attached to and still allows me local bridged access too.

    Second, I can change the device that a NIC is attached to, While the VM is running and this is often very convenient.

    OTOH, it is a pain to grow a vmware drive. You have to make a new drive and ghost the old contents across to it.
  7. nhand42


    No-Cost VMware can Create VMs

    That's not correct. I installed the no-cost version of VMware for Linux (VMware server?) and was able to create and run a VM. It wasn't an evaluation copy; it was the no-cost version.
  8. James Bond 007

    James Bond 007

    Re: Parallels vs VMware

    No, not just VMware server. VMware Workstation can also create virtual machines. In fact, if you want to use VMware features to its fullest you should get VMware Workstation, I believe. But of course you need to purchase it.

    Last edited: May 3, 2006
  9. veggiedude


    VMware took many features from Connectix Virtual PC, mainly the user look and feel. Before VPC VMWare was very PCish and lacked innovation. Connectix gave them a good run for the money, and in the end, Microsoft choose them over VMWare.
    So yes, it is more mature. It won't be long though, that Parallels catch up on the asthetics, but it will take a little longer on the technology side to get up to par.
  10. snit


    Real snapshotting is an important feature of VMWare for many people, and isn't available in ||s.
  11. drtimhill


    Stuff in Vmware not in PW:

    -- Snapshots. Can snapshot VM state at a given point, with the ability to unwind changes since the snapshot, or even fork off an earlier snapshot. So I can do a base install of the OS and then have 3-4 similar configs with different apps/settings. Vmware is smart enough so that only disk deltas are recorded; you don't get the storage penalty of a full HDD image copy every time.

    -- Flexible network. Vmware really supports a full virtual network allowing brdiging, NAT and private networks all at the same time, with multiple VM instances talking across the different networks. This is superb for people testing out complex client/server installs, but not interesting for most others.

    -- Teams. Really a nicely wrapped up collection of VMs all ready to boot at one (like a virtual lab) along with network topology.

    Stuff in PW not in VMware:

    -- Mac Support (hehe). Though VMware are supposed to be working on this, there is no word on dates.

    -- Responsiveness. The PW team have good a very good job on responding to user input here, VMware are generally somewhat aloof and treat customers very much at arms length.

  12. dhjdhj


    Huh? As far as I know, VMWare was around long before Connectix. The latter, running originally on the Mac emulated Intel opcodes on the Power PC and was always known to be very slow. Of course IBM showed off a micro kernel long before VMWare showed up - I remember seeing it at a computer show, they were running three different operating systems at the same time on top of a micro kernel.

  13. dhjdhj


    They have also started spamming their users from time to time. To me, the user support is the biggest reason to use PW, at least as long as the forums stay accessible.

  14. plarusa


    Here is more,

    1)VMWare can emulate several guest CPUs. Parallel cannot.
    2)VMWare uses the host CPUs more effectively. For example, starting a VM on a dual core host taxes only one of the host CPUs, leaving the other available for the host and additional VMs. This does not appear to be the case with Parallel, both host CPUs appear to be used in tandem.

    But if you are running on a MAC, Parallel is the only game in town.
  15. joem


    I very much prefer the way Parallels does it. This way, a compute intensive Windows program can use both cores (if it's written to do so). Letting the full processor capacity be managed by the host OS, giving both cores to the VM when the host doesn't need them is the way I would have done it.

    So I'd say Parallels is the more efficient.
  16. plarusa


    I would completely agree with you, except I don't think a VM can use both cores. According to Parallel, only one of the cores supports VTx technology, so it is logical to assume that only that core executes the VM and the supervisor code. During that time, the other core probably spins uselessly on a lock or some other dummy code to simplify the implementation.

    VMWare is a much more mature product in this area, which I think justifies the price delta. That said, I still find the Parallel offering a good option.
  17. IscariotJ


    Another couple:

    64bit guest OS ( though this is coming to Parallels )
    Movies of VM ( though I think this only applies to VMWare WS )

    I downloaded PW and VMWare server, but only got round to installing PW. That was enough to convince me to buy it.
  18. veggiedude


    VMWare and VPC connection

    Yes, VMWare was around before the PC (Intel) version of VPC, not sure about the Mac OS version. They probably were, but it wasn't until Connectix brought out their PC version that VMWare had any real competition. Until then, VMware thought VPC for Mac was an interesting oddity, with some appealing features and good GUI, but not a threat, and they started to implement some of the innovative ideas of VPC into theirs.

    It was the Intel version of VPC that caught Microsofts attention, as they were wanting to get into the virtualization space and was wonding which to buy, VPC or VMware. Getting the Mac version of VPC was just the icing on top of the cake.
  19. kevco


    The snapshotting is a pretty huge feature that is lacking from Parellels IMO. But it really depends on your intended use. At work everything I do is in MS VPC because of the ability to rollback disk changes. We are probably going to look at switching to VMWare because their snapshots sound much nicer than VPC undo disks.

    I was disappointed to see it lacking in Parallels just because I've come to expect it. But the actually, on my MacBook I don't think I even use it that much because I'm not really doing testing and development. It'd be nice to have but for home use it's not much of a concern to me. I pre-ordered. =)
  20. Olivier

    Olivier Kilo Poster

    I read this and answers. Though the discussion might seem interesting at first, there is nothing to discuss. VMWare has NO product for Mac OS X and has not announced one yet too.

    When and *if* VMWare comes up with a solution for Mac OS X hosts, none of the stability / maturity arguments I have read will stand up. It will be their first product and build on Mac OS X, too. Just as it is for Parallels today.

    Even comparing prices is void. Should VMWare release a product on Mac OS X, nobody can guess now at what price they would introduce it.

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