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libvirt vs VirtualBox: What are the differences?
libvirt: An open-source virtualization API. It is an open-source API, daemon and management tool for managing platform virtualization. It can be used to manage KVM, Xen, VMware ESXi, QEMU and other virtualization technologies; VirtualBox: Run nearly any operating system on a single machine and to freely switch between OS instances running simultaneously. VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2.
libvirt and VirtualBox are primarily classified as "Virtual Machine Management" and "Virtualization Platform" tools respectively.
Some of the features offered by libvirt are:
- manage virtualization platforms
- accessible from C, Python, Perl, Java and more
- supports KVM, QEMU, Xen, Virtuozzo, VMWare ESX, LXC, BHyve and more
On the other hand, VirtualBox provides the following key features:
- No hardware virtualization required
- Guest Additions: shared folders, seamless windows, 3D virtualization
Pros of libvirt
- Low overhead2
- Built into most Linux distros2
- Native KVM and QEMU2
- Native hypervisor2
- Can fully manage via CLI or VirtManager2
- VirtIO direct hardware access2
- VirtIO direct hardware support1
Pros of VirtualBox
- Default for vagrant169
- Starts quickly73
- Running in background42
- Simple, yet comprehensive41
- Default for boot2docker27
- Extensive customization22
- Free to use3
- Mouse integration2
- Easy tool2