Which is better? VirtualBox with KVM or Virt-Manager with KVM/QEMU

I’ve been using VirtualBox as my hypervisor for a very long time. I’ve been seeing a lot of people using Virt-Manager and KVM. I mainly use the hypervisor to test out interesting distros or to test a version of eos or an edition of eos. I also use a VM to run my windows C# dev system and 2 other Linux machines (ArcoLinux and my eos AwesomeWM testbed).

Does Virt-Manager is better than VirtualBox? Is it worth switching to my VMs to Virt-Manager with KVM/QEMU or just keep using VirtualBox with KVM?

Hard to say really…In terms of ease of use and portability of images, i’d say i prefer VirtualBox, performance wise KVM/QEMU might be better, there’s only one way to know which one you’ll choose :upside_down_face:

Accept my sincere condolences. :cold_face:

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It’s due to my work. I’m an OCR Solution Developer and the main software we or the server part is created using C# so that’s why.

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In my experience KVM/QEMU is vastly faster in what graphics are concerned (including simple desktop usage).
Virtual Machine Manager offers a GUI for KVM/QEMU, not dissimilar from Virtualbox. Still there is a steep but short learning curve to KVM/QEMU.

If we are talking about performance, it isn’t even close. libvirt/qemu/kvm is much better.

IMO, virtualbox has fallen behind everything else and has taken a step back since version 6.

The only advantages virtualbox has in my experience are:

  • Slightly better host/guest integration depending on which features you need
  • The ability to take snapshots of UEFI VMs(I can’t believe this support hasn’t been added to qemu yet)
  • Shorter learning curve

If you want a simpler front-end than libvirt, you can always use gnome boxes. Just be aware they are two extremes. virt-manager exposes a ton of functionality to the point where you have to work through how to use and manage it all. gnome boxes has virtually no options at all. It does what it does and literally nothing else.

Just go with VIRT Manager

I like virtualbox when it’s working correctly on Arch. Having said that virt-manager has had it’s issues on Arch from time to time also. I like them both but i like virtualbox better because of the way it sets the screen size (resolution). I have also been using virtualbox for a longer time. It just works better in that respect for me. They both work well and i use both. I have used vmware workstation a fair bit also.

For Windows VMs, definitely it is Virtualbox. Its guest drivers makes a much better experience.

Only if you care not at all for performance. :wink:

The virtio devices are significantly better.

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Totally agree

Windows is much faster on virt kvm than virtual box

Virt- manager all day, every day. It is not that difficult to learn, not even that steep a learning curve. Everything you need to know, you can basically find in Redhat documentation. Very performant and I have never had it break. Looking around the forums virtualbox breaks every time a new kernel rolls in.

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Exactly, i dont understand when people says it’s not as simple as virtual box

i guess the only part that is non-intuitive is the storage part. those storage pools can get you all tangled up.

Also, setting up the network can be non-trivial when it isn’t pre-configured for you by the distro.

Well that, and maybe also configuring a display :slight_smile: Other than that it’s not a big deal :slight_smile:

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Lat time I tried virt I was unable to get the network working. It kept giving me an error due to which I just gave up.

I used to use virtualbox until I encountered one of the most specific bugs I’ve heard heard. Turns out that if you compile qt apps on a gentoo guest with the march=native CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS option inside virtualbox, then that qt app won’t work (e.g. vlc will work with the ncurses interface, but not qt5) . I’m sorry I can’t provide a forum thread but I remember that that’s what it said.

I haven’t used Virtualbox in a while, but some of the developers here used to use it, and we had ALL KINDS of issues with it’s network settings not functioning properly on our network. It’s what made me switch to virt-manager/qemu personally.

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Well, after installing and ironing out the hiccups virt-manager gave me I’m kind of finding out why people like it. From my experience up to now, this is what I can say.

  • VirtualBox - For the people who like to get up and running without much hassle who just want a VM with all the bells and whistles. VirtualBox is designed to be user-friendly.

  • virt-manager - Simple and configurable not GUI-centric best for the user who likes to get their hands dirty.

Also, there is a big difference in the performance. I’ve noticed VM I run using VirtualBox kind of lags especially Windows but I just tested a Windows 10 on my virt-manager and it’s almost near to a bare-metal system.

That is my experience also. I was flabbergasted to see I can run the machine in seamless full-screen mode and I couldn’t tell the difference. Now here comes a neat trick I tried and was rewarded with even more speed and flexibility:

Instead of creating a virtual drive for a Windows guest VM, I used pass-through of a real partition that already has Windows installed. Now I can launch my Windows instance from GRUB or as a VM from Linux. It’s half-bare-metal if you will. Windows doesn’t protest in being presented with different hardware in VM and bare-metal mode. The advantage of running the VM from bare metal SSD is that there is no speed penalty for disk access.

I usually run windows bare metal when needing the full video performance like for gaming (although I didn’t need to do that for about two years now), or when in encounter issues forwarding peripherals and VM when needing a Windows-only program for work. Like Photoshop or Adobe XD to open files the designer sends to me, or my digital-signature program for the yearly government fiscal statements.

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