Our Top Picks

Altaro-VM-Backup
Altaro VM Backup
  • Deployment: Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations

Altaro is a company that specializes in visualization services for companies, large organizations, and managed service contractors. One of these offerings includes the VM backup workload for Hyper-V and VMware. It also presents backup systems for Office 365 and Windows, but the aforementioned product focuses primarily on virtual machine software tools.

It has an efficient and effortless setup, promising that you’ll be up and running within 15 minutes. It removes the need for intense software configurations, learning curves, and dependencies. It’s a robust solution for any business that needs to replicate various operating systems in a single physical environment.

Features include:

  • Backup and replication
  • Restore and recovery
  • Full control
  • Technological support for multiple devices
  • Hyper-V server core

You’ll find two payment types, subscriptions and one-off fees. You pay for a specific number of virtual machines for the monthly plans, while the perpetual packages have unlimited VMs.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Encryption
  • Monitoring
  • Backup management

Cons

  • No VM migration
  • No reporting tools

Summary

Altaro-VM-Backup
Altaro VM Backup
  • Starting Price
    • Free version available
    • Subscription:
    • Standard Edition: $299/year/5 VMs
    • Unlimited Edition: $369/year/5 VMs
    • Unlimited Plus Edition: $446/year/5 VMs
    • Contact for more pricing options
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Backup Management
    Yes
Features
  • Deployment: Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations
Citrix-Hypervisor
Citrix Hypervisor
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), online
  • Includes integrations and reports

Citrix Hypervisor is at the forefront of the industry with its best virtual machine software.One of its primary focal points is the optimal migration of Office 365 and Windows 10 into the VM environment. It also offers teaching and certification, an aspect that many hospitals and clinics with virtual machine software find incredibly useful. By using the Citrix Hypervisor environment, you are promised an improved employee experience and accelerated productivity.

Features include:

  • Enhanced graphics
  • Hypervisor core functionality
  • Pool management
  • Networking connectivity
  • Infrastructure stability and resilience
  • Workload protection
  • Image caching
  • Security architecture

Unfortunately, Citrix isn’t up-front about Hypervisor’s payment plans. You can test a free demo, and there are several deployments you can use it on to access the VM. You’ll also find reporting tools at your disposal.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Mobile deployment
  • Migration
  • Encryption

Cons

  • No VM monitoring

Summary

Citrix-Hypervisor
Citrix Hypervisor
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
    iPhone / iPad
    Android
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Online
  • Backup Management
    Yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), online
  • Includes integrations and reports
Google-Cloud-Platform
Google Cloud Platform
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations and reporting

Google Cloud delivers virtualization with its Compute Engine technology and servers. It nests VM tasks and instances, while it can also perform live migration at any time. Even when your system requires maintenance, your operating systems and applications will continue to run.

One of the settings you can establish is the Sole-tenant node. While these are physical servers, it simplifies deployment when you integrate Bring-Your-Own-License (BYOL) apps. It lets you create and grant access to virtual machine instances and configurations.

Features include:

  • Nesting visualization
  • Encrypting disks with client keys
  • Automated image building
  • Instance life cycles
  • Live migration
  • Shielded virtual machines
  • Guest environments

There’s a generous 90-day free trial if you want to evaluate the VM system for an extended period. You’ll need to request a price that suits your budget and requirements.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 90-day free trial
  • Monitoring
  • Migration

Cons

  • Lacks backup management
  • No PC or mobile deployment

Summary

Google-Cloud-Platform
Google Cloud Platform
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    90-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Backup Management
    No
Features
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations and reporting
Microsoft Logo
Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Deployment: Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations and reporting

You may have noticed that Hyper-V appears many times in this article. That’s because it’s one of the primary architecture technologies that aids in creating the virtualization environment. Codenamed Viridian, Microsoft initially called it Windows Server Virtualization before it was released with the name we’ve all come to recognize.

There are a few differences in running Microsoft’s best virtual machine software on a Windows device or server. The most significant variance is how the memory management module works. It manages the Hyper-V memory with only VMs present using a Windows server, while a device expects additional software.

Features include:

  • Live migration
  • System replication for backups
  • SR-IOV networking
  • Virtual Fiber Channel
  • VM gallery
  • Quick-create functionality

If you’re wondering what the VM software costs or if there’s a free trial or demo, you’ll have to ask the support team. You can download a PC client, but no mobile app exists.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • VM encryption
  • Monitoring
  • Backup management

Cons

  • Lack of pricing and demo information

Summary

Microsoft Logo
Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Not provided
  • Deployment
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Backup Management
    Yes
Features
  • Deployment: Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations and reporting
Oracle-VM-VirtualBox
Oracle VM VirtualBox
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Includes reporting

If you’re a business with developers looking for a free, open-source virtual machine software system, then Oracle VM VirtualBox may be what you need. Since the VM architecture lets you run multiple operating systems, you can produce coding faster on several platforms using a single device. It cuts the time needed to deploy solutions on any server on a site or to the cloud.

This feature is handy when a business contracts you with facilities containing computers that have old operating systems. It has a robust user interface with clearly defined graphics and rules. If your workload includes up to 32 VM CPUs, your teams can consolidate it for greater efficiency.

Features include:

  • Automated cloud deployments
  • Quality assurance
  • Remote working with secure access
  • Desktop application
  • Community participation

You won’t pay anything to install it, and you can download it for Windows and Mac devices.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free
  • Monitoring
  • Backup management

Cons

  • No migration
  • No integrations
  • Only physical deployment

Summary

Oracle-VM-VirtualBox
Oracle VM VirtualBox
  • Starting Price
    • Free
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
  • Support Options
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Backup Management
    Yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Includes reporting
Parallels-Desktop
Parallels Desktop
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations

This system provides centralized management of virtual machines that supports cross-platform integration of popular apps. There are the basic Desktop mode, a Professional Edition, and a complete Business package. Whether you're running Windows or Mac operating systems at any given time, it gives you the complete life cycle management toolkit for effective VM management.

The one-touch functionality grants you the ability to clean virtual disk drives, take images or screenshots, encrypt files, and download videos. If you have a massive team of IT admins and specialists, you can perform a mass deployment. The software is so versatile you can even run Windows on a Chromebook device.

Features include:

  • Infrastructure agility
  • Seamless integration
  • Coherence mode
  • Touch bar
  • One-click tuning
  • Installation assistant

Three payment plans exist, with annual subscriptions that increase with the number of features included. The Pro and Business Editions are the same price, and you’ll value how many support options there are.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 24/7 live support
  • VM encryption and monitoring
  • Numerous deployments

Cons

  • No mobile deployment
  • No reporting tools

Summary

Parallels-Desktop
Parallels Desktop
  • Starting Price
    • Parallels Desktop: $79.99
    • Parallels Desktop Pro Edition: $99.99/year
    • Parallels Desktop Business Edition: $99.99/year
  • Free Trial/Demo
    14-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Backup Management
    Yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations
QEMU
QEMU
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Includes integrations and reporting

The Software Freedom Conservancy is a nonprofit organization providing admin and legal advice to open source projects. QEMU is a member of this entity, which is why it doesn't cost anything to install or download. It makes use of dynamic translations to create VM instances in your network’s physical environment.

To achieve virtualization, it executes any guest code you insert into the host computer. Many IT technicians believe this feature is the reason QEMU has such excellent native performance. It also supports establishing a virtual machine in Linux with a KVM kernel module or a Xen hypervisor.

Features include:

  • User-made emulation
  • Xen and KVN virtual machines
  • Dynamic translations
  • Online community support

As with Oracle VM VirtualBox, QEMU is entirely free. There are fewer deployment options, and you can only receive support online. However, you’ll receive plenty of handy integrations and reporting tools.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free
  • VM encryption

Cons

  • No monitoring or migration
  • Few support options

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Free
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free
  • Deployment
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    Online
  • Backup Management
    No
Features
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Includes integrations and reporting
V2 Cloud Logo
V2 Cloud
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations

The V2 Cloud virtual machine software does everything in its power to make cloud desktop management easier to control. Whether your network consists of 10 or thousands of VMs, its intuitive interface and robust design carve the way towards reducing your workload. You can maintain numerous instances simultaneously, which cuts down the time your IT teams waste handling each device.

The above benefits lead to effective provisioning, granting the opportunity to plan your resources, applications, and digital structural integrity before deploying across all your VMs. You can enforce compliance, issuing new security policies to all employees while monitoring who isn't complying with a few clicks. There are also some operations you can manage on the software, such as tracking inventories, viewing virtual machine usage, forecasting future demand, and handling new resources across your network.

Features include:

  • Virtual asset management
  • Bulk VM instance control
  • Provisioning
  • Security and compliance
  • Large network capabilities
  • License management

There are several payment plans, increasing in price for more users and higher technical specifications. It has deployment over numerous platforms, including mobile devices.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Backup management
  • VM encryption
  • Monitoring

Cons

  • No reporting tools

Summary

V2 Cloud Logo
V2 Cloud
  • Starting Price
    • The Intern Basic: $ 40 /month/user
    • The Intern Business: $60/month/user
    • The Doer Basic: $ 70 /month/user
    • The Doer Business: $105/month/user
    • Contact for more pricing options
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
  • Support Options
    Online
  • Backup Management
    Yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations
VM-Explorer
VM Explorer
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations and reporting

If you have a virtual machine network with servers running on Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware ESX/ESXi technology, VM Explorer can replicate your digital datacenters, VM clusters, and stand-alone systems. With some of the best backup platforms, you’re able to restore any VM enterprise with a single click. The effortless maintenance needed to keep it running smoothly voids any training requirements.

Since VM Explorer’s primary objective is backups, it extends its services to replicating your virtual machines to various cloud platforms. A few of these include Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, OpenStack, and Rackspace. While there may not be any official VM migration, the automated data storage tiering lets you seamlessly move backup sets between the cloud, disks, and tapes.

Features include:

  • VM data security
  • Single-click restore
  • Backup onto any tape, disk, or cloud
  • Intuitive management
  • Self-service portals
  • Effortless licensing

There are two payment plans: Professional and Enterprise. Each has a specific set of CPU sockets and features, so you’ll need to see which one suits your business better.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • VM encryption
  • Backup management

Cons

  • No VM migration
  • Lacks monitoring

Summary

VM-Explorer
VM Explorer
  • Starting Price
    • Professional: As low as $699 includes 4 x CPU sockets
    • Enterprise: As low as $1799 includes 6 x CPU sockets
  • Free Trial/Demo
    15-Day Free Trial
    90-Day Free Trial for Enterprise
  • Deployment
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Backup Management
    Yes
Features
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations and reporting
VMware-Workstation-Player
VMware Workstation Player
  • Deployment: Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations and reporting

If your best virtual machine software isn’t running on Microsoft’s Hyper-V core technology, chances are it’s using VMware instead. While you can choose any of the providers in our list for additional functionality over VMware’s standard services, nothing stops you from using the Workstation Player. It creates VMs in the same way, and you can configure it to your business and IT needs.

The software lets you create restricted virtual machines, too. You can disable specific functions, such as copy and paste, sharing folders, drag-and-drop, and USB access. If you’re worried about unauthorized access to private data, you can set up VM encryption.

Features include:

  • Top-notch support
  • Industry-leading solutions
  • Intuitive design and operation
  • Runs across several operating systems and platforms
  • Transparent sharing of pages

Please note that all commercial companies must have a commercial license to install and run VMware Workstation Player. If you run a nonprofit organization or you’re using it for home or academic studies, you can receive the software free of charge.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 24/7 live support
  • 30-day free trial
  • VM migration

Cons

  • No mobile deployment

Summary

VMware-Workstation-Player
VMware Workstation Player
  • Starting Price
    • Free version available
    • VMware Workstation Player: $149
    • License upgrade to Workstation Player: $79.99
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Backup Management
    Yes
Features
  • Deployment: Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), phone during business hours, online
  • Includes integrations and reporting

How We Chose the Best Virtual Machine Software

Virtualization has become a significant aspect of the digital world. It lets companies and private users install various operating systems on a single physical device. You can use it to install apps from one platform that would otherwise be impossible, such as Mac software on a Windows PC.

Finding the right product or provider can be a daunting task in today’s technologically saturated online world.  Here’s the methodology we applied in finding the best virtual machine software of 2021.

Virtual Machine Features

There are different types of virtualizations, such as network, storage, and server. Our primary focus is on software virtual machines that emulate multiple computer systems on one device. For that purpose, we evaluate specific features linked to these platforms.

  • VM encryption
  • Migration
  • Monitoring
  • Backup management

Integrations

Ideally, we’re looking for the best virtual machine software that integrates with other apps and systems in a  unified way. It may automate functions or streamline device processes. Since you’re installing the platform to make use of another operating system’s applications, the medium should allow you to do so with various options.

Integrations you may find include:

  • Copy requestors
  • Data exchanges
  • Service interface
  • System health monitor
  • PowerShell management

Reports

In some cases, you can draw valuable insights and reports that let you measure your virtual machine software’s performance. It lets you host and virtualize details on the resource or report manager. Here are a few records you may have access to:

  • Host and guest summary
  • Virtual disk information
  • Virtual machine statistics
  • Virtual network list
  • Orphaned VM report