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Why I prefer VirtualBox over Hyper-V on my notebook

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For development, demonstrations and testing, I need different database environments: Oracle, Postgres and Exasol in the first place. Having them available as VMs on my notebook is quite convenient. I consider my current corporate notebook an upper middleclass one. It’s a Dell Latitude 7480 with 2 cores, an SSD disk and 16 GB memory running Windows 10. Not too shabby but also not extremely powerful.

After having used VirtualBox for years, recently an opportunity came up to become a bit more familiar with Hyper-V, because one of our customers insisted to use only that for a team training. Yes, I’m a bit biased towards VirtualBox. Why do i prefer it over Hyper-V? Because it’s way faster for what I do with it. Especially, I observed that Hyper-V consumes much more CPU resources for the VMs than VirtualBox does. And that slows down everything of course.

For example, when I do an Exasol cluster node installation, it takes more than 30 Minutes with Hyper-V compared to 5 Minutes with VirtualBox! And the setup is the same for both: On my notebook, I create 4 VMs: 1 license server with 1500 MB memory and 3 data nodes each with 2500 MB memory. Each VM gets 1 virtual core. That’s no problem for VirtualBox but Hyper-V struggles and raises the CPU utilization on my notebook to 100% or close during the whole install.

In general, both Hyper-V and VirtualBox can do the same or very similar things. I’m sure there are use cases where Hyper-V performs well on a notebook too, and probably it’s better suited for dedicated virtualization servers than for a notebook anyway. So don’t get me wrong: I do not say VirtualBox is better than Hyper-V overall.

But if you want to run database sandboxes on your notebook, I strongly recommend to use VirtualBox instead of Hyper-V.