As you can see from the image above,
VMware Fusion* uses the macOS look and feel and has been built using the native Apple Cocoa Framework.
Now let’s look at Oracle VM VirtualBox.
You’ll notice the VirtualBox UI is not as good as Fusion. That’s because it has been created with Qt, not the Apple Cocoa Framework.
If you’re an Apple user that only runs native apps,
VMware Fusion* is the best option for you. If you’re not bothered about software following Apple’s human interface guidelines, so long as it works well, let’s find out if VirtualBox has Fusion beat on features.
Fusion vs VirtualBox Features
The main feature of the virtualization software you choose is it should support a wide range of operating systems. At a minimum, it should let you create Windows, Linux, macOS, and BSD virtual machines.
Both products are capable of this, but if you want to create vSphere labs, you’ll want to use
VMware Fusion* because vSphere ESXi doesn’t support the VirtualBox network adapters.
Take a look at the table below showing what features are available for each of the products.
As you can see from the table above, both programs support most features. However, if you want to create VMware vSphere labs, you should use VMware Fusion.
Another thing worth mentioning is the 3D acceleration is experimental in VirtualBox, so if you have an application or game that requires advanced GPU features, Fusion is a better choice.
What about the cost?
VirtualBox is open source and free for commercial use. However, you’ll have to decide if it has all the features you require from the table above. And don’t forget, even though it’s free, you still need to pay Oracle when you need support.
Fusion Player is free for non commercial use, so if you just need virtualization software for playing Windows games and creating labs for personal training, then use Fusion Player.
To conclude, VMware Fusion has more features, supports more guest operating systems, and has a user interface that Apple users are familiar with.
I can think of few reasons why you’d want to use VirtualBox over Fusion. One reason, is if you need to virtualize a workload for commercial purposes and don’t want to pay. Another, is if you need to create clones and don’t want to pay for Fusion Pro.