Free Virtualization Software to Run Virtual Machines

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is the technology that enables you to create multiple virtual machines that run on the same hardware. Each of the virtual machines operates just like physical machines, you can install and run the operating system of your choice on each virtual machine. The virtual machines are managed by a hypervisor that allocates system resources for each virtual machine. Let us look at some free virtualization software that can be utilized in your environments:


What is Containerization?

Containerization has become so popular among DevOps groups around the globe. It is a different approach compared to virtualization. Containerization is an abstraction of the application layers meaning that each container simulates a different application. Multiple containers share the same operating system and each container runs isolated processes. Running software in a container uses fewer system resources than running software within different virtual machines.



Proxmox is a complete enterprise virtualization open-source platform with a built-in web interface that enables you to easily manage containers, virtual machines, high availability clusters, and software-defined storage. Proxmox Virtual Environment comes with plenty of features and makes it the ultimate open-source choice to virtualize your IT infrastructure. It allows you to easily virtualize the most demanding Windows and Linux application workloads and dynamically scale out your storage and computing as your organization’s needs grow.


Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)

KVM is a leading Linux virtualization solution. A kernel module that is merged into the mainline Linux kernel and runs close to native performance on hardware that supports virtualization. KVM can be used to run both Windows and Linux operating systems.

Container-based virtualization (LXC)

Containers are mainstream technologies in DevOps pipelines. It is a lightweight alternative to a full virtual machine offering less overhead. ProxmoxVE allows Linux users to easily create and manage systems or application containers with powerful API and simple tools.

Live Migration of Virtual Machines

Live migrations allow you to move running (live) virtual machines from one node to another without any required downtime or effect on end-users. Proxmox Systems Administrators can either initiate this process through scripting or web-based GUI.


If ever you need help with ProxmoxVE, well the community is just a click away. there are video tutorials available or for fast problem solving you have the option to choose an enterprise subscription that includes technical support by Proxmox experts.


Proxmox VE training is available in order to help you master the open-source server virtualization management as well as your high availability clusters.


Xen Hypervisor is a free open source a type-1 hypervisor such as VMWare ESX and Proxmox. It is used for a number of different commercial and open source applications such as virtualization, infrastructure as a server, desktop virtualization, security applications. Xen enables systems administrators to increase server utilization, consolidate server farms, reduce complexity, and decrease the total cost of ownership. Xen allows systems administrators to deploy any operating system such as Windows, Linux, and BSD Unix.



KVM is an open-source Linux kernel module that provides a framework for third-party tools to provide virtualization. Xen is similar to KVM from an end user’s perspective as it allows you to run any operating system. It only runs on hardware that supports virtualization. Making use of KVM you have the ability to run multiple virtual machines running unmodified Linux and Windows Operating System Images.


Virtual Box

Virtualbox is a free virtualization product that can be used in enterprise environments as well as home use. This software is actively developed with frequent releases and the list of features is ever-growing. It can host various guest operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Solaris, Macintosh and many more. This is the ideal choice for a beginner looking to experiment with different operating systems.


VMWare ESXi Free Edition

VMware ESXi is probably the leader in system virtualization globally running in multiple dat centers and enterprise environments. VMware vSphere is a type-1 hypervisor that enables companies to run virtual machines of guest operating systems over a bare-metal system. VMware ESXi is chosen by a lot of companies globally due to its reliability, simplicity, and robustness. If you have been working as a systems administrator in an enterprise environement you will find that VMware licensing can be very expensive and thus you have the option to make use of VMware ESXi free edition without purchasing vCenter. The free edition comes with limitations like no official VMware support, cannot be managed by vCenter, vStorage API is not available and you can only apply a maximum of 8 virtual CPUs per virtual machine. All that said and done VMware ESXi free edition is the ideal choice if you starting up a small business or research environment.

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Chad Crouch

Chad is a Software/DevOps Engineer with exposure and experience in various technologies and enterprise ICT environments. He has a huge passion for Technologies, specifically Linux and Open Source Software. If you enjoy our articles please support us and make a small contribution: Buy Us A Coffee