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In the process of testing the web products, it’s very useful and sometimes even crucial to use various virtual machines and special emulators, which help to simplify the process of software testing.

It is a good possibility to test the functionality of the websites, web systems using numerous devices and operating systems, which are daily used by end-users of the developed products.

Their value can’t be overrated while performing testing on the basis of various mobile devices and systems since it’s impossible to have access to all possible mobile devices and web components.

And even from the economic side, it’s inappropriate to have constant access to such devices (even to a list of low-cost devices and systems).

Using virtual machines and emulators helps to test even the most dangerous and risky actions without consequences. It also saves time for test execution, makes configuration and backups simpler regardless of the used test environment.

And, for sure, using emulators and virtual machines is very convenient when a team is working from different locations when there is a possibility to instantly give personal access to a virtual machine.

Obviously, using virtual machines and emulators has its drawbacks or even difficulties.

No emulation absolutely reflects the work of a real physical device. You should always have real devices and systems, for performing final testing, at least the most popular and actual models and systems.

There may also be drivers conflicts.

Every virtual machine needs sufficient operating resources, it works much slower and has some limitations. As a result, some test results may be distorted.

Difference between the visualization and emulation

The processes of emulation and virtualization are quite similar but there are some functionality differences.

If a client needs to work with an older operational system inside the modern technical architecture, he will choose only emulation.

At the same time, all virtual systems function regardless of the used basic equipment.

What’s the difference between them?

The emulation means that one system can technically emulate another one.

For example, if a structure of software works in a system A but doesn’t work in system B, we create an emulation of the system A inside system B. As a result, the software emulates the system A.

This example may be used for visualization, which has not only system A but is also divided into 2 allocated servers (B and C).

Both servers are independent technical containers with personal access to program resources – RAM, CPU and memory storages – they can be easily rebooted independently of each other. Their behavior is completely identical to the behavior of the real software.

Every technology has its advantages and disadvantages.

Emulation

Used for above-mentioned example, emulation plays the role of a special placeholder for hardware – creating a special technical environment which functions as hardware.

Emulation can be very efficient while performing the following use cases:

  • Launching the operating system which was primarily made for another system hardware (launching a console game on PC, working with Windows on Mac OS);
  • Launching the outdated version of the software when the equipment compatible with it has been already outdated.

Also, the processes of emulation are useful while creating some software for more than 1 system simultaneously. The process of writing the program code can be performed on one device, and the process of emulation – on some operating systems (everything functions simultaneously and with no serious failures.)

Virtualization

The main advantage of virtualization is that it interferes directly with the hardware.

The main advantages of such a way of interfering with software components can be:

  • Excellent system compatibility with the architecture of processor x86 used now;
  • The function of displaying the work of a physical device as for allocated part of hardware and software;
  • Autonomy on any stage of its usage.

By the way, emulation and virtualization are equal since such processes help to perfectly analyze the work of any software.

Next, we will talk about virtual machines and operating emulators which can help while performing testing and also will stop on their main advantages and disadvantages.

VMWare

VMWare Workstation is a very popular and easy virtual machine used on a professional basis.

Benefits of the product:

  1. There is a non-commercial version – VMWare Workstation Player which can be used as a demo version;
  2. Simple and user-friendly graphical interface;
  3. Installation of new OS is greatly simplified, comparing to the installation of a traditional version of the software on PC;
  4. The program helps to make screenshots of the operating system, which help to restore a previous mode of the system;
  5. Excellent technical reliability and stability of work;
  6. Fast work and good performance;
  7. The function of adding a password on used virtual machines;
  8. Stable support of 3D graphics.

Drawbacks:

  1. VMWare Workstation Player is a paid product for commercial use;
  2. VMWare Workstation Pro can be used only after subscribing to it;
  3. Some components function with different operating systems.

Virtual Box

It’s a quite popular virtual machine with a good list of useful technical functions.

Advantages:

  1. Virtual Box allows interfering with many operating systems either for direct installing the Virtual Box or installing guest products;
  2. There is a function of making the screenshots of the operating system, which help to restore the previous system mode;
  3. It’s freely distributed through the Internet together with the open program code and also together with GPLv2 license;

Drawbacks:

  1. The product can’t be considered as very efficient as compared with other, paid equivalents;
  2. There are many errors, various bugs, crashes and serious crashes;
  3. Low technical support of 3D graphics;
  4. It has a very complex graphical interface as compared with paid programs and components.

Hyper-V

This product was primarily considered as direct substitution of Microsoft Visual PC.

Advantages:

  1. It goes together with numerous variations of Windows 10 systems;
  2. It supports the process of installing guest operating systems and also all old versions of the Windows operating system;
  3. It has the function of installing the guest FreeBSD and Linux operating systems.

Drawbacks:

  1. There is no possibility to launch it on earlier and older version versions of the Windows operating system;
  2. The product can’t be installed on Mac OS;
  3. It has not very comfortable and user-friendly graphical interface as compared with the components of Virtual Box and VMWare.

Boot Camp

It’s a specialized product, designed only for Mac computers, which can help to install Windows.

Advantage:

  • It goes together with the purchased Mac computer.

Drawbacks:

  • You can launch Windows only as a guest system;
  • Sometimes it works not properly with some system components such as motion sensors and others;
  • There may be some operating errors with editing the size of a used tab.

Parallels Desktop

It’s a special virtual machine used for Mac computers to interfere with Windows operating components.

Advantages:

  • A user can easily use the previously created data and components of Boot Camp product;
  • It supports different operating systems such as Linux, Windows, different versions of Mac Os, etc.

Drawbacks:

  • Works only with Mac OS;
  • It is a paid product but there is a free 14-day demo version.

Nox

It’s a specialized emulator of Android OS.

Advantages of the product:

  • Quite a free program;
  • The Nox product is very light and technically fast;
  • Specialized mapping of the buttons, which simulates the actions on Android;
  • It’s thoroughly configured.

Drawbacks:

  • It needs the installation of other applications and components;
  • It can be used only for working with Android system.

BlueStacks

It’s a modern emulator of Android OS.

Advantages:

  • It’s a quite free product which has a demo version;
  • Various parameters for easy configuration;
  • Easy installation of the applications;
  • Function to interfere on the tabs with the possibility to quickly switch between them.

Drawbacks:

  • Designed to work only with guest Android;
  • Many ads and third-party applications;
  • Consumes much RAM and therefore it can easily impede not very powerful and weak computer.

Appetize.io

It’s an Internet-emulator of Android and iOS.

Advantages:

  • There is a free version (100 minutes in 1 month and one active user);
  • Numerous applications and systems to reproduce emulations of the most popular devices and technical components.

Drawbacks:

  • More than half of the available functionality is only in a paid version of the product.

Andy OS

It’s a specialized emulator of Android OS

Advantages:

  • It’s freely distributed through the Internet;
  • It’s very easy to use. And it has a user-friendly functionality;
  • Has options to control the size of a screen;
  • Has parameters of quick synchronization with modern mobile devices.

Drawbacks:

  • It can be used only for working with Android products;
  • Not all 3D games are supported properly;
  • There are occasional crashes;
  • The permanent appearance of ads;
  • Some versions contain non-official functions and parameters which help the malware to be distributed.

Obviously, it’s not all. We mentioned above only the most popular products and their main features and you can choose something good from them.

Virtual machines and emulators still have strong and weak sides and this doesn’t allow to consider them the same as common ways of functional and performance testing of the developed software.

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