Top 20 Best VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software

Top 20 Best VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software. Today, a large number of businesses have shifted to cloud computing. As a result, most of their operations are performed in the cloud. Switching to virtualization tools and programs enables businesses to reduce cost, get access to enhanced security and risk management.

 VMware is one of the popular virtualization software that most enterprises prefer as it allows users to access multiple virtual environments on a server/computer. It can also virtualize network adapters and hard drives.

Even with so many advantages and features, a few organizations look forward to setting up an alternate solution as VMware is expensive. Before buying virtualization software, one must also look for the up front costs, such as the storage hardware, software implementation and more. There are more factors that one must consider when evaluating server virtualization software.

Here, we have listed some of the Top 20 Best VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software that offer high speed, flexibility and cost effectiveness.

Top 20 VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software

1. VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a server virtualization tool accessible on all platforms for x86 hardware and embedded use. It supports XML files and is compatible with virtual Oracle Cloud machines.

Users can run, develop, deploy and test applications, all in one machine with VirtualBox. They allow fast execution times with its latest features and are compatible with Windows, Oracle Solaris, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms.

VirtualBox also has a large community of users offering unmatched performance and assistance. Only the core product is free with VirtualBox. Any feature like Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), Preboot Execution Environment (PXE), USB functionality, etc., included in the extension pack is available under a proprietary license. For commercial purposes, one needs to buy a license from Oracle.

Key Features of VirtualBox

  • Supports USB device.
  • Portable with a 64 bit operating system.
  • Offers Guest multiprocessing.
  • Full ACPI support.
  • PXE Network boot.
  • Supports 3D graphics.
  • Multiscreen resolutions.
  • Extensible RDP  authentication.

2. Kernel Virtual Machine

Kernel Virtual Machine is an advanced virtualization tool that works on x86 hardware systems and is compatible with Linux OS machines. It also supports various virtualization extensions, such as Intel VT or AMD V.

The open source virtualization technology allows users to run applications simultaneously on a single machine. Also, they offer a combination of security enhanced Linux (SELinux) and secure virtualization (sVirt) for better security. Built into Linux, KVM permits turning Linux into a hypervisor. As a result, you can host machines to run multiple guests or virtual machines (VMs) using KVM.

Key Features of KVM

  • Allows users to swap guest resources.
  • Helps Optimize system performance.
  • Shares Common libraries.
  • Supports private virtualized hardware.
  • Supports network attached storage (NAS).


QEMU is another great alternate visualizer for VMware with advanced features. The open source machine emulator helps save and restore the original state of virtual machines and performs hardware virtualization. Admins can run a large number of unmodified guest operating systems using the Quick EMUlator (QEMU). It also allows users to perform emulation for user level processes.

Key Features of QEMU

  • Makes use of full software MMU
  • Virtual Machine Encryption.
  • Requires no host kernel server to run systems.
  • Accurate handling of signals.
  • Supports User mode emulation to launch processes from one system to the other.

4. VMware Fusion

The VMware Fusion Software is best suitable for Mac users who prefer Windows features and functions. VMware developed this hypervisor software to create a machine that works based on the Intel based MAC. It supports the concept of paravirtualization and hardware virtualization to perform Mac transition into the Intel processors.

Key Features VMware Fusion

  • Supports running on guest operating systems.
  • Offer better I/O options and enables faster CPU process.
  • Improved Vsphere connectivity.
  • Offers Unity view mode.
  • VM snapshotting.
  • VMware Fusion is compatible with all Operating Systems on a Mac.
  • Allows admins to run a full virtual cloud stack on a single Mac.

5. Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure is a free, open source virtual machine software that helps create flexible building blocks and replaces separate servers, storage networks and storage arrays into one. The powerful tool aids enterprises to size their workloads, scale flexibly and run applications from any location as per the requirement. The biggest advantage of using this software is that any open source hypervisor can run the virtual server.

Key Features of Nutanix

  • Admins can run an app on any scale.
  • Unifies public, private, and distributed clouds.
  • Offers Fast Deployment and Unprecedented Flexibility.
  • Offers end to end systems management features.
  • Supports different hardware platforms.

6. Oracle VM VirtualBox

Oracle VM VirtualBox is an open source, cross platform software suitable for corporate and home use. Unlike VMware, the Virtualization Software supports old systems such as DOS, Windows 3x, IBM OS/2 and is compatible with Windows Server 2003, Linux and other platforms. It allows admins to develop faster codes and run multiple operating systems on one device. Another feature is it helps reduce operational costs.

Key Features Oracle VM VirtualBox

  • Deploys applications on premises and in the cloud.
  • Offers robust hardware system and focused server.
  • Compatible with Windows, Open Solaris, Server 2003, OS X, and Linux.
  • Portable and provides full ACPI support.
  • Offers guest multiprocessing.
  • PXE network boot.
  • Multiscreen resolutions.

7. Parallels Desktop

Parallels Desktop supports hardware virtualization and is compatible with Linux distros, Mac OS, and Chrome OS. Unlike VMware, it helps connect with Xbox games in Windows 10 and supports Sidecar in Mac OS. The tool is available in three modes, Coherence mode (allows to run guest and Mac applications together in one window), Full Screen mode (allows creating a full guest desktop) and Modality (allows to resize and customize virtual machines running on macOS).

Key Features of Parallels Desktop

  • iOS partner support
  • Integrates with Mac OS
  • iPad multitasking.
  • Offers seamless navigation and content sharing.
  • Offers real time usage statistics.
  • Allows swapping without rebooting systems.
  • Offers centralized deployment and management capabilities.
  • Enforces USB thumb drive device policies for security.

8. Portable VirtualBox

Portable VirtualBox is a VirtualBox wrapper that uses a USB stick or an external hard drive to run any operating system. It is a free and open-source Virtualization Software that automatically install drivers and system services on installing a USB drive, but administrator access is necessary. Also, it is compatible with only Windows host PCs, supports guest multiprocessing, and RDP authentication.

Key Features of Portable VirtualBox

  • Portable VirtualBox has a configurable home directory.
  • Allows saving files and documents in editable formats.
  • Offers Hockey settings and optional configuration.
  • Automatic check for VirtualBox updates.
  • Automatically replaces all absolute paths with relative paths.
  • Supports creation of portable operating systems.

9. VMware ESXi

VMware ESXi is another powerful software designed for deploying and serving virtual computers. Ideal for developers and is available in both free and paid versions. VMware ESXi has a built in modern UI based on HTML5 standards and supports 4GB of RAM and 128 virtual CPUs. Also, its exclusive features and hypervisor function aid in performing large enterprise virtual deployments. Admins do not require any additional installation as it covers all.

Key Features of VMware ESXi

  • User friendly Virtualization Software.
  • Minimizes security threats.
  • Offers powerful encryption capabilities.
  • Supports guest operating systems.
  • Offers vSphere Command Line Interface
  • Supports developer friendly REST based APIs.

10. vSphere

vSphere is another one on the list of top 20 Best VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software. It uses a combination of virtual machines, containers and Kubernetes to turn data centers into simplified computing . It is a reliable and flexible virtualization tool with numerous plugins used in the virtualization of servers. You can manage all your hosts from one place with the help of this software. Also, it supports VM deployment options, two factor authentication, Guest OS Customization, and more.

Key Features of vSphere

  • Deploys enterprise grade Kubernetes clusters.
  • Fault Tolerance.
  • VSphere High Availability.
  • Storage vMotion.
  • Storage DRS Support.
  • Allows simultaneous use of multiple physical processors.
  • Eases the maintenance of software upgrades, patching and firmware updates.
  • Allows defining configuration policies for ESX/ESXi hosts.
  • Supports VMware vSphere Distributed Switch to connect with multiple hosts in a cluster.

11. XenServer / Citrix Hypervisor

Citrix Hypervisor

XenServer, also referred to as Citrix Hypervisor, is a virtual machine software used to deploy, host, and manage VMs. It is one of the fastest virtualization software designed for Windows and Linux virtual servers. It supports running the guest operating system using PV drivers, hardware virtual machine, paravirtualization, PVH and PVHVM. The purpose to design the software was to provide affordable business continuity and cost effective consolidation.

Key Features of XenServer

  • XenCenter Management Console.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Live Migration.
  • Distributed Virtual Switching.
  • Supports Direct Inspect APIs for security.
  • Offer backup and recovery options.
  • Supports live patch hosts with no downtime.

12. Microsoft Hyper-V

Top 20 Best VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software Microsoft Hyper-V

Released in 2008, Microsoft Hyper-V is one of the popular and best alternatives used by many hypervisor users. It is quick to install and compatible with Windows 10, open-source appliances, Linux, and Windows Server. Admins can run similar virtual machines in cloned versions securely using Hyper-V. Also, it allows taking snapshots using the management console.

Key Features of Microsoft Hyper-V

  • Backup and Recovery features.
  • Storage migration.
  • Live migration.
  • BitLocker encryption.
  • Powerful virtual switch.
  • Supports Virtualization snapshots.
  • Integrated with Windows 10 features
  • Supports older operating systems.
  • Remote Connectivity.
  • Simple, Flexible, Portable and Secure Virtualization Software.
  • Hyper-V management console.

13. Proxmox VE

Proxmox VE is a powerful open source server solution for enterprise virtualization. It is a free to use software with easy to manage features ideal for home servers. Furthermore, it comprises a web based management console and command line tools that enable users to manage high availability clusters. Proxmox VE was designed to manage KVM for virtual machines and LXC for containers. It also supports various guest operating systems.

Key Features of Proxmox

  • Back up and restores VMs, containers and physical hosts.
  • High availability clustering.
  • Integrates Software defined storage.
  • Supports guest operating systems.
  • Custom Linux Kernel.
  • Offers REST API for users.
  • Compatible with Linux and Windows in VMS.
  • Integrated disaster recovery tools.

14. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV)

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is another tool on the list of Top 20 Best VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software. It is built on KVM and Linux platforms suitable for modern computing. The alternate solution helps virtualize the essential applications available in the data center while achieving performance simultaneously. The open source and Linux based type 1 hypervisor makes use of VDSM (Virtual Desktop Server Manager) and SPICE protocol to perform tasks. It also assists in optimizing the IT infrastructure.

Key Features of RHEV

  • Offers single management.
  • Live migration.
  • Offers Cluster maintenance.
  • Thin provisioning.
  • Policy based workload balancing.
  • Network bonding.
  • Better security features.
  • Supports power saving features.

15. Virtuozzo

Virtuozzo is a hybrid server that provides hypervisors on the basis of KVM and containers. It also provides AES 256 at est encryption and boasts better performance compared to other VMware alternate solutions. Although it’s not much popular, but integrates with software-defined networking and storage. Also, it allows the creation of different virtual servers at the OS level. Virtuozzo is the best platform to consolidate and simplify hypervisors, storage and containers.

Key Features of Virtuozzo

  • Supports open source approach and uses existing hardware.
  • Supports Built in security features.
  • Integrates with software defined networking and storage.
  • Resource Management.
  • Offers advanced control panel.
  • Cost effective.
  • Reduces TCO.
  • Software defined storage.
  • Accelerates VPS and Shared Hosting.

16. IBM PowerVM

IBM PowerVM is a full featured virtualization program compatible with IBM i, AIX, and Linux systems. Another great alternative for VMware as it helps consolidate multiple workloads, enhances server utilization, and minimizes additional cost. Earlier known as Advanced Power Virtualization, it is now one of the secure virtualization software that delivers high performance and comprises advanced features that make it a top choice. The enterprise grade virtualization software allows efficient sharing of resources among applications.

Key Features of IBM PowerVM

  • Faster cloud services.
  • Offers Unmatched security.
  • Scale up deployments without performance penalties.
  • IBM PowerVM automates virtual machines (VMs) and storage deployment.
  • Reduces scheduled downtime.
  • Compatible with IBM i, AIX, and Linux systems.
  • Shared storage pools.
  • Thin provisioning
  • Offers real time data about virtualized workloads.
  • Live Partition Mobility.
  • Active Memory Deduplication.
  • Offers highly scalable virtualized cloud management.

17. Boot Camp

Boot Camp is a utility that lets users swap between Mac OS and Windows. It is another popular virtual machine software for Mac that supports dual boot technology for better performance. To run Windows and its application, the software makes use of its memory and processor power. The Mac OS only program also has driver software that aids in setting up Windows.

Key Features of Boot Camp

  • Supports dual boot technology.
  • Updates AMD graphics drivers for applications running on Windows.
  • Supports the use of the same keyboard for Windows and Apple.
  • No additional requirement for downloading externally.
  • Allows installing Windows 7, 8.1, and 10.

18. VMware Player

VMware Player is a free desktop application ideal for personal or home use. The popular alternate solution for VMware supports creating, configuring, and running of virtual machines. It has an intuitive user interface with powerful virtualization features. Also, the software is compatible with different Virtual Machines and System Images. Users can also connect and disconnect with preconfigured devices as per the need.

Key Features of VMware Player

  • It has a built in DHCP server and an intuitive user interface.
  • Users can copy/paste text and files between VMs and host PCs.
  • Adjustable memory.
  • USB 3.0 support.
  • Offers Virtual machine isolation.
  • Supports Drag and drop features.
  • Compatible with Windows and Linux PC.
  • Supports taking Snapshots.
  • Allows users to connect and disconnect. preconfigured devices as per the need.

19. SolarWinds Virtualization Manager

SolarWinds Virtualization Manager is one of the last tools on our list of Top 20 Best VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software. It is a platform that helps monitor virtual machines and offers full visibility to VMware and Hyper-V. Get better insights and manage across on premise, hybrid, or in the cloud. It also supports performance management, capacity planning, and allows customized alerts or scripts. With SolarWinds Virtualization Manager, you can reduce costs and make smarter decisions.

Key Features of SolarWinds Virtualization Manager

  • Offers complete visibility
  • Constant alert and monitoring on Azure and AWS infrastructure
  • Offers VM sprawl alerts
  • Quick monitoring and report creation
  • Provides better insights that aid in resolving issues faster.
  • Supports Capacity Planning Tools
  • Offers real time dashboards to discover and troubleshoot performance.

20. V2 Cloud

V2 Cloud is a desktop virtualization software that enables quick installation and management of Windows cloud desktop. It requires no technical expertise to set up or install the software. The centralized platform facilitates remote work and supports published applications that allow publishing Windows programs to an end user without providing full desktop access. Also, it offers advanced security features that help in minimizing potential data breaches.

Key Features of V2 Cloud

  • Regular backup snapshots.
  • Offers fast processors and drives.
  • Full technical support.
  • Intuitive Management Console.
  • Published applications.
  • Offers high performance RDP access.
  • Supports two factor authentication and HTTPS encryption.

Top 20 Best VMware Alternatives for Virtualization Software Conclusion

VMware is a popular virtualization and cloud computing software with exclusive networking and security management tools. They have hypervisors that allow users to run multiple virtual machines on same physical server. Also, they support running containerized workloads in a Kubernetes cluster.

No Doubt, VMware is an amazing virtualization software but does not fit all business requirements in most cases. Also, VMware is a bit expensive. Thus, we have come up with a list of the best VMware alternatives that offer similar capabilities and features. With some of these above listed tools and programs, you can run multiple operating systems using one PC.

They help reduce hardware costs and offer advanced features, such as disaster recovery, load balancing, guest multiprocessing, ACPI support, etc. VirtualBox, Kernel Virtual Machine, VMware Fusion, Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure, Oracle VM VirtualBox, Parallels Desktop are a few alternate options.

Go through the above list and finalize a VMware alternative that will help improve performance and transform the operations of your organization. Make sure to try the free alternate solutions before settling with one.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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