Exploring The World Of Virtualization: Hyper-V vs. VirtualBox

The global Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 18.33%, acquiring USD 53735.6 million by 2028

As businesses continue on the trail of digital transformation, the move to virtualization has become a technology of choice. But while this multi-cloud world presents the benefits of remote access, security, and flexibility, it has also made managing virtual machines much more complicated. 


Hypervisor runs virtual machines to create a computing hardware environment by isolating the operating system, allowing administrators to control a dedicated machine for every service they need to run. 

This software layer is a significant element of virtualization technology, which includes storage, desktop, operating system (OS), and application virtualization 

Two of the most popular types of hypervisors are Microsoft’s Hyper-V and Oracle’s VirtualBox. 

Hyper-V is a native hypervisor built into the Windows operating system and is widely utilized by companies and enterprises. On the other hand, VirtualBox is an open-source virtualization software package that can run on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.  

While both Hyper-V and VirtualBox deliver similar benefits, there are substantial differences between them that can impact their expediency for different use cases. 

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Hyper-V vs. VirtualBox: Hypervisor 

Hyper-V or type 1 hypervisor, also known as a “bare-metal” hypervisor, is installed directly on the host server’s hardware and runs directly on the system’s hardware, controlling access to physical resources such as CPU, memory, and storage. 

In contrast, VirtualBox or type 2 hypervisor, also known as a “hosted” hypervisor, is installed on an additional layer of a host operating system. It creates an abstract layer between the host operating system and the virtual machines.  

  • Hypervisor Type 

Hyper-V utilizes Type 1 hypervisor architecture running on underlying physical hardware, which equips high performance and is optimized for server virtualization. Hyper-V forms two divisions on the host server – the parent partition and the child partition. The parent partition contains the Hyper-V and runs the Windows Server operating system. The child partitions, or virtual machines created by the hypervisor, run guest operating systems.  

VirtualBox uses a Type 2 hypervisor architecture, which can influence performance and is typically suitable for desktop virtualization.  

  • Virtual Machine Management 

Hyper-V manages virtual machines with Hyper-V Manager, PowerShell, and System Center Virtual Machine Manager. These tools allow IT administrators to efficiently create, configure, and manage virtual machines.  

VirtualBox comprises a VirtualBox Manager application that uses VBoxManage command-line tool with a graphical user interface for creating, configuring, and managing virtual machines. 

  • Major Difference Between Hyper-V And VirtualBox Architectures  

While Hyper-V is a type 1 hypervisor operating directly on the host hardware, VirtualBox is a type 2 hypervisor running on the underlying host operating system.  

In terms of architecture, Hyper-V and VirtualBox have different sets of strengths and shortcomings. Hyper-V’s type 1 hypervisor architecture offers better performance and is optimized for server virtualization, making it an excellent choice for businesses and enterprises.   

On the other hand, VirtualBox’s type 2 hypervisor architecture is more flexible and can run on multiple platforms, making it a prevalent option for developers. 

Hyper-V vs. VirtualBox: Performance 

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the demand for efficient multitasking makes it paramount for virtual machines to function well and deliver a good user experience. Therefore, virtualization solutions like Hyper-V and VirtualBox need optimal resource allocation, virtual processor support, and memory management to provide high-performance virtual machines to handle the demands of modern workloads.  

  • Resource Allocation 

With Hyper-V, IT administrators gain a high level of control, simplifying the specific resource allocation to virtual machines, such as CPU cores, memory, and storage. However, this is not the case for VirtualBox provides resource allocation control to some extent, authorizing administrators to assign CPU cores and memory to virtual machines.  

  • Virtual Processor Support 

Hyper-V supports up to 240 virtual processors per virtual machine, allowing for highly scalable virtual environments.  

VirtualBox supports up to 32 virtual processors per virtual machine, lower than Hyper-V’s support.  

  • Memory Management   

Depending on their workload, Hyper-V’s dynamic memory allows virtual machines to allocate and release memory, optimizing memory usage across multiple virtual machines.  

However, VirtualBox’s memory ballooning also does the same but is not as robust as Hyper-V’s dynamic memory feature.  

  • Comparing Hyper-V And Virtual Box Performance  

When it comes to performance, Hyper-V and VirtualBox have some noteworthy discrepancies. Hyper-V’s resource allocation, virtual processor support, and memory management features are much more robust and scalable than VirtualBox’s features. However, VirtualBox is easier to use and a good choice for desktop virtualization. 

Hyper-V vs. VirtualBox: Management   

Managing virtual machines is a complex task, especially if you’re dealing with an extensive number of virtual machines across multiple hosts. Fortunately, both Hyper-V and VirtualBox bring a range of management capabilities to assist you in managing your virtual environment efficiently.   

  • Management Capabilities 

Hyper-V has Hyper-V Manager as the primary tool that provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for controlling virtual machines, virtual switches, and other Hyper-V components. Also, IT administrators use PowerShell scripts to operate Hyper-V environments, enabling them to automate tasks and manage multiple virtual machines simultaneously.   

For VirtualBox, administrators use the VBoxManage command-line tool to create, control, and delete virtual machines configuring virtual machine settings and ‘power state’ in the VirtualBox environments. 

  • Comparison of management capabilities 

While Hyper-V and VirtualBox provide various management tools, Hyper-V’s System Center Virtual Machine Manager provides a more comprehensive management solution than VirtualBox. However, VirtualBox’s VirtualBox Manager is more user-friendly and easier to manage desktop virtualization environments.   

Hyper-V’s comprehensive management solution may be ideal for large-scale virtualization environments, while VirtualBox’s user-friendly interface may be better for desktop virtualization. 

Hyper-V vs. VirtualBox: Functionality 

When comparing Hyper-V vs. VirtualBox, there are several attributes to consider. Some of the most critical features are:  

  • Checkpoints and Snapshots 

Hyper-V uses checkpoints to enable users to save the existing state of a VM easily.   

VirtualBox uses the same technology, albeit with a different name called snapshots, to take an image of the VM in its current status. 

  • File Sharing 

Both hypervisors allow users to leverage drag-and-drop features between the physical host’s OS and the guest operating system. However, Hyper-V doesn’t include built-in Shared Folders, whereas VirtualBox has built-in Shared Folders, which users easily activate to transfer files between the host OS and guest VM.  

  • Seamless Mode 

Seamless Mode is a unique feature of VirtualBox that creates the impression that the application running in the guest OS is native to your physical machine, letting you switch seamlessly between your desktop and the VM. 

Hyper-V does not have an equivalent feature.  

  • Encryption 

Hyper-V supports encryption via the BitLocker mechanism. VirtualBox also supports encryption mechanisms through VirtualBox Guest Additions available to each guest OS environment.  

  • Guest Operating Systems   

Hyper-V can execute only on Windows-based OSs. In contrast, VirtualBox can run on virtually all the popular OSs, including Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris. 

  • Virtual Disk Format

Hyper-V supports virtual hard disk (VHD) and virtual hard disk version 2 (VHDX) as popular disk formats. VirtualBox supports virtual disk images in a native disk format. However, it supports other disk formats, such as VHD and VMware virtual machine disk (VMDK) files. 

Ace Hosted VDI – A Flexible Solution for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Beyond Hyper-V and VirtualBox  

Ace Cloud has decades of experience providing a robust Hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution that enables organizations to deploy virtual workloads on any endpoint. Our VDI solution is not limited to just Hyper-V or VirtualBox. It also supports major hyper-converged infrastructures (HCI), allowing organizations to adopt and deploy VDI without worrying about vendor lock-in challenges.  

At Ace Cloud, we are an award-winning virtual desktop solution provider with over a decade of experience empowering remote workers and firms. Our virtual desktop solutions are tailored to meet the specialized needs of the workforce, enabling enterprises to quickly and securely access shared applications without the need for an IT specialist. 

Get in touch with our experts to get the benefits of our cutting-edge solutions. 

About Julie Watson

Julie is a dynamic professional with over 16 years of rich experience as a VDI and Application Hosting expert. At Ace Cloud Hosting, she humanizes disruptive and emerging remote working trends to help leaders discover new and better possibilities for digital transformation and innovation by using cloud solutions with an enterprise-class security approach. Beyond work, Julie is a passionate surfer.
On the weekend, you will find her hanging out with her family or surfing around the North Shore of Oahu.

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