Veertu, the OS X hypervisor available from Mac App Store (Updated)

Published on January 14, 2016 in Articles — 1 min read
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When is comes to virtualization solutions on OS X, the available options are the usual suspects: Parallels, VMware Fusion and the free Virtualbox. They offer different features and come in different pricing tiers, but you won’t find them in Mac App Store.

Those apps to provide virtualization on OS X require extending the kernel by installing proprietary (often closed-source) modules. This brings a more direct interaction with the hardware, thus bypassing OS X power management and security checks. For example, they run outside app sandboxes and offers their own options to optimise battery life and performance. In custom kernel modules lays also the reason of the varying benchmarks you read in reviews.

A new player

Today, thanks to this post, I’ve discovered Veertu, a new player in town that aims at changing the game. You’ll find it’s another kind of animal since installation time. You can download it straight from the store, hence not requiring root access to be installed. Also, It weighs just 20 MB!

But why is it different? It uses the Hypervisor.framework, a new virtualization API Apple has introduced in El Capitan. Using operating system-level API means it runs into a sandbox like any other app from the Mac App Store for enhanced security. Also, power management is left up to the OS, so features like timer coalescing and compressed memory are used.

Conclusions

It’s clear that Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion are milestones for virtualization on OS X environment and still offer a lot more features, but Veertu looks very promising. I guess it will start a new era. Last but not least, it comes with a free option and costs less than half the price of its competitors if you want for full access.

Thanks for reading.


UPDATE: Added name and link to documentation of Apple’s new hypervisor API and specified when it was shipped.

UPDATE 02/15/2016: Veertu now allows you import VMs of other vendors and change location its library (version 1.0.5).



I’m not affiliated in any way to Veertu. I’m just passionate about technology, software and programming.



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