I have a question. Has anyone tried to set up a webserver (debian) using Virtualbox (x64) ?

Right now i have few servers in KVM (x64) but i think it works slowly...

Can i get something more (faster, performance) using Virtualbox (x64)? On my home installation it looks very fast.

Should i move to vbox against KVM?

I'm looking for answer from someone who has in Virtualbox (x64) a real server (can be headless) (debian/ubuntu) not windows xp or other home user things ;) I also have XP, 2k3, Ubuntu in Virtualbox (x86) and for me its looking faster than KVM(x64). But it's hard to say anything without real tests done by multiple users not just one.


I will actually switch from VirtualBox to KVM.

VirtualBox is good as a desktop virtualization. It is fairly easy to install and to use. However, I would stick with KVM for server virtualization.

Since Debian Lenny came out, I have been using VirtualBox 1.6.6 to run 5 virtual servers and I have found that every now and then my servers hang. The 4 servers with little traffic have only hung once or twice and they stayed up for more than 6 months. However, my most frequently used server is typically hanging once every month. This does not mean that the problem is with VirtualBox, I have actually never found any real conclusive reason in log files why the servers hang, yet I have a suspicion that VirtualBox is not stable enough to run production servers. This may have improved in later versions though.

KVM uses paravirtualization, whereas VirtualBox uses full virtualization. Paravirtualization means that the guest knows it is running as a virtual machine, whereas in full virtualization it appears that the guest is running on a real physical machine. Conceptually, full virtualization is cleaner, yet it is also less efficient. KVM would theoretically be faster than VirtualBox (although the overhead of full virtualization can be reduced to only a couple of % of execution time) and also does not require you to explicitly install drivers in the guest operating system to achieve optimal performance. In VirtualBox, you have to install the guest additions for optimal performance. On the other hand, KVM can only be used if your host operating system is Linux, VirtualBox can run on any operating system.

KVM is fully open source and integrated in the Linux kernel. VirtualBox is mostly open source, yet some parts are proprietary.

I am prefering KVM over VirtualBox for the following reasons:

  • it would be more stable
  • it would be more efficient
  • I do not have to install guest additions for guest servers
  • I do not mind having that my host operating system has to be Linux (I am using Debian anyway)
  • I prefer a full open source license over a mostly open source license.
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from personal experience, Virtualbox.

However, it would help if you could run your VM on another hard disk, as it is usually the performance bottleneck for virtual machines.

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On a server, you should simply use VMWare Server. It's free to use. (Outperforms VBox easily. And this VM software is actually designed for servers, not like VBox which is clearly a 'somewhat-desktop-app' (works or not)))

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  • I try use VMware server and left it... KVM work faster ;) So i don't want do DOWNGRADE :) – marc Jun 6 '10 at 14:43
  • Strange thing for sure, but well... (you can't downgrade from a linux kernel .. :)) | So ..well..then guess you can use VBox? Where is the question? :) – Apache Jun 6 '10 at 15:04
  • Yes, i can. But i will make some "downtime" when migration. When i do it, (move to vbox) and it won't help, users will kill me ;) From few day's im playing with Vbox. I had installed PROXMOX (for OPEN VZ) inside VM and working very fast. But as i said, it's hard to give sentence about few hours. That's why i'm asking for opinion. I don't want make mistake :) – marc Jun 6 '10 at 17:03

KVM uses FULL VIRTULIZATION. Xen uses Paravirtualization and Linux has gone for KVM from kernel release 2.16.20 on.

It is true that paravirtualization is a bit faster that full virtualization, but full virtualization is currently more used because no kernel modifications are required and guests are portable among different underlying architectures.

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  • 1
    -1: KVM uses Paravirtualization, and the asker never asked about Xen. – Wuffers Jan 16 '11 at 16:26

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