Virtual PC vs. VMWare

This isn’t a review of either product, just a somewhat interesting observation on the performance impact of on product on another.

I’m a big fan of virtual computer technology (Solaris zones would be included in this as well) they are great tools for testing and pretty handy to install or test software on that you aren’t so sure you want to put on your primary computer (reduce the clutter).

I’ve been using Virtual PC (VPC) since it was a company called Connectix, it’s generally worked very well and migrating vm’s between different machines has been a breeze. I haven’t found that to be the case with VMWare especially when the underlying hardware varies significantly. I liken VPC to a Phillips screwdriver and VMWare to a Leatherman when all you have to do is drive a few Phillips screws, one tool is easy the other is awkward and can be uncomfortable for more than a couple.

The real point of this story is that, I have both products installed on my system, I’ve noticed that after a few hours my VPC performance would start to lag, screen repaints were slow and my system would be jerky. Looking through the task manager I had lots of VMWare processes running, after stopping the VMWare services, VPC performance is back to normal, very unusual.

I think VMWare has a place and purpose but its insistence on exposing significant amounts of the underlying architecture is both good and bad, worst of all, it really complicates setting up and using a virtual machine. For now I’m sticking with VPC easy to use and move virtual hard disks to different machines.

Leave a Reply