You can say a lot of things about Apple computers. You could say that they are artistic, unique, inspirational, and of course worth every penny. You could go on and on about how great Apple computers are and no one would even bat an eyelash. They're referred to by many as 'insanely great'. However, there are times when it becomes necessary to pop into Windows from time to time for a certain application or other piece of software that doesn't work just as well inside OS X. For that, you would need a virtualization solution. Fortunately, there are many of them available out there. Two such software products that offer a solution for virtualization on Apple computers are VMware Fusion and VirtualBox.
VMWare Fusion and VirtualBox are two of the leading names in virtualization software for Apple computers today. If you ask most Mac users for their opinion on which virtualization solution is best for running Windows on the Mac, you can expect to hear the names of these two software products as suggestions every now and then. So what exactly is so great about each of them? What are the pros and cons of using VMWare Fusion over VirtualBox and vice versa? Is one of them better than the other? In order to find out the answers to all of these questions and more, just keep on reading the next few paragraphs in this article.
Before going on about the differences between VMWare Fusion and VirtualBox and how you may be able to choose one for all of your virtualization needs on the Mac, it is important to discuss a bit about what virtualization actually is, what it can be used for and why you should try to take advantage of it today.
Virtualization technology allows a user to run a second operating system called a "guest" on top of a main operating system called a "host" through what can only be referred to as a virtual machine. Virtual machines are made possible by software products such as the two that have been mentioned above, VirtualBox and VMWare Fusion.
Now, why would anyone want to run one operating system on top of the other ? The answer is simple: it enables computers to do more things. And in this day and age, multitasking by way of doing as many things as possible at once is something that is encouraged. Also, there are some things that you just can't do very well in Mac OS X, and that's where the need to run Windows or any other operating system comes in. If you have ever needed to run Windows on your Mac in order to use certain Windows-based software products or do graphics intensive applications such as PC gaming, then you will be able to understand the beauty of having a virtual machine through which you could run the Windows operating system.
So what kind of differences are there between VMWare Fusion and VirtualBox? Technically, both are one and the same. Both VMware Fusion and VirtualBox are virtualization software products that can be used to run Windows on any compatible computer running Mac OS X. The differences between then can be found in the details.
VirtualBox is a virtualization solution for x86 computers that is more formally known as Oracle VM VirtualBox. VirtualBox is basically a software package that can enable any user to take a Mac and run extra operating systems on top of the already existing host operating system. That is, multiple other operating systems will successfully run through a virtual machine on top of Mac OS X.
And as for VMWare Fusion, it is a software-based virtualization solution for Mac computers that is made by VMWare. It is made mainly for Apple computers that have Intel-based processors running inside them.
Choosing a virtualization solution that's right for you between the two choices that have been outlined above isn't as hard as it looks. If you think that VirtualBox and VMware are identical pieces of software, think again.
VirtualBox is a virtualization solution that you can use not only on Macs but also on PCs as well. That is, it works not just for Apple computers, but for just about every other type of computer you can get your hands on out there. Other than Mac OS X, it also supports Windows XP, Linux, Windows Vista, Solaris, Windows 7, and OpenSolaris as host operating systems. It was only recently in the release of version 3.2.0 that it became possible to run a limited virtualization of Mac OS X on Apple-branded computers.
VirtualBox is currently rated as the most popular virtualization solution for computers based on two recent online surveys. It offers both software emulation and hardware emulation as well as a long list of features that keeps expanding with every release version. However, it's not without limitations, because there are certain features that are only available through the use of an extension pack.
And then there's VMWare Fusion, a similar software product that is designed and produced mainly for the Mac. It can do much of the same things that VirtualBox can do with the added benefit of being tailor-made for Mac computers. That means there are user-friendly features like Unity View, full DX9 support, PC migration assistant and overall performance optimization. These exclusive features, along with many others, are part of what makes VMware Fusion indispensable in the eyes of many Mac users that need to rely on a virtualization solution for their computers.
You can classify VMWare Fusion as a specialized type of virtualization software for the Mac. VirtualBox provides many of the same features as VMware Fusion and wins out in terms of price -- it was first released as free software back in January 2007. However, VMware Fusion provides users with much-needed features that are notably absent in any of its counterparts in the market. So if you really want a good and cost-effective virtualization solution for your Mac, look no further than VMware Fusion.