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12 Best Network Virtualization Software Shortlist

After assessing countless tools, I've curated the 12 best network virtualization software to address your specific challenges.

  1. VMware Fusion - Best for Mac users integrating Windows
  2. Nvidia Virtual GPU - Best for graphics-intensive virtual desktops
  3. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server - Best for mission-critical Linux workloads
  4. vCenter Converter - Best for P2V and V2V migrations
  5. Vultr - Best for rapid cloud server deployments
  6. Azure Virtual Machines - Best for integrated Microsoft cloud solutions
  7. Scale Computing Platform - Best for hyper-converged infrastructure needs
  8. VMware ESXi - Best for bare-metal virtualization
  9. VirtualBox - Best for desktop-based virtualization on various OS
  10. VMware vSphere - Best for robust virtual infrastructure management
  11. VMware Workstation Pro - Best for professionals needing VMs on-the-go
  12. Google Compute Engine - Best for scalable Google Cloud deployments

In the evolving landscape of enterprise networks, network virtualization software has become pivotal, offering software-defined solutions for provisioning and connectivity. By transforming physical hardware, such as routers and processors, into cloud-based platforms capable of hosting different operating systems, latency is minimized, and disaster recovery is enhanced.

I've navigated the world of network traffic, network security, and on-premises solutions, and I've seen how these tools, rooted in server virtualization and network functions virtualization, VPN gateways, can reshape routing and bolster security policies through segmentation. Whether you're diving into cloud computing or leveraging hardware virtualization, the right network virtualization solution can be a game-changer.

What is Network Virtualization Software?

Network virtualization software is a transformative technology that enables the creation of a simulated network environment, independent of the underlying physical hardware. By abstracting the complexities of physical network components, it allows IT professionals, network engineers, and businesses to design, deploy, and manage virtual network services swiftly.

These virtual networks are employed by enterprises to enhance agility, optimize resource usage, and improve operational efficiency, ensuring that the ever-evolving digital demands of an organization are met without being tethered to the limitations of physical infrastructure.

Overviews of the 12 Best Network Virtualization Software

1. VMware Fusion - Best for Mac users integrating Windows

VMware Network Virtualization Software
A screenshot of VMware Fusion installed on a sample device with Sonoma Beta 3, running the Arm version on a different brand.

VMware Fusion is the bridge that Mac users have longed for – a tool that flawlessly integrates Windows into their Mac environment. It offers a platform for Mac enthusiasts to run Windows applications side by side with their native macOS apps.

Why I Picked VMware Fusion:

In the vast sea of network virtualization software, the decision to single out VMware Fusion wasn't made lightly. I've spent a considerable amount of time comparing tools, and VMware Fusion frequently surfaced as the top choice for Mac users, especially when Windows integration was the priority. From its smooth performance to its user-friendly interface, it seemed evident to me why it's the "Best for Mac users integrating Windows."

Standout features & integrations:

VMware Fusion offers a robust platform that enables the direct launching of Windows apps from the Mac dock. Its Unity View Mode is particularly notable, which hides the Windows desktop, allowing users to run Windows apps just like Mac apps. As for integrations, Fusion plays well with VMware's broader ecosystem, such as vSphere, making it possible to extend the tool's capabilities further.


From $8/user/month (billed annually)


  • Intuitive interface for easy Windows-Mac integration
  • Unity View Mode enhances the integrated experience
  • Comprehensive compatibility with other VMware products


  • Might demand resources during heavy tasks
  • Occasional updates might require user adaptation
  • Integration depth might be overwhelming for casual users

2. Nvidia Virtual GPU - Best for graphics-intensive virtual desktops

NVidia Virtual GPU Virtualization Software
Here is a screenshot from NVidia Virtual GPU using GPU pass through citrix xenserver xencenter screen.

Nvidia Virtual GPU (vGPU) ensures users experience rich graphics in virtual environments. Designed with graphics-intensive workloads in mind, this software harnesses the power of Nvidia GPUs to supercharge virtual desktops and apps.

Why I Picked Nvidia Virtual GPU:

When I was determining the best options for virtualization technology, Nvidia vGPU consistently emerged as a front-runner. Its unique ability to leverage Nvidia's graphics prowess for virtual desktops set it apart. From my evaluation, the tool shines brightest when handling graphics-heavy tasks, making it undeniably the "Best for graphics-intensive virtual desktops."

Standout features & integrations:

Nvidia vGPU provides dynamic allocation of GPU resources, ensuring optimal performance. It also boasts of a unified management system using Nvidia's management tools. For integrations, the vGPU blends with a wide array of network virtualization software platforms, including VMware vSphere and Citrix Hypervisor.


From $20/user/month (billed annually)


  • Dynamic GPU resource allocation ensures peak performance
  • A unified management system simplifies administrative tasks
  • Broad compatibility with popular virtualization platforms


  • Requires compatible Nvidia GPU hardware
  • Initial setup can be complex for beginners
  • Might be overkill for non-graphics tasks

3. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server - Best for mission-critical Linux workloads

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Virtualization Software
This is the SUSE Linux Enterprise software on a sample device.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) offers a resilient, high-performance platform tailored for demanding Linux operations. Crafted to handle the rigors of mission-critical tasks, it's the Linux server solution that never backs down.

Why I Picked SUSE Linux Enterprise Server:

Selecting SLES wasn't just an arbitrary choice. In my journey of judging and comparing Linux servers, repeatedly demonstrated a remarkable capability for supporting high-stakes Linux tasks. With its stellar stability and enterprise-grade security, I'm convinced that SLES truly is the "Best for mission-critical Linux workloads."

Standout features & integrations:

SLES features optimized performance and scalability, ensuring it can adapt to any workload. The built-in security tools, like AppArmor, offer enhanced protection for applications. On the integration front, SLES works harmoniously with major cloud service providers, SAP applications, and other enterprise solutions.


From $15/user/month (billed annually)


  • Exceptional performance optimization and scalability
  • Inbuilt security tools safeguard applications
  • Integrations with enterprise and cloud solutions


  • Might be over-equipped for simple use cases
  • Requires a learning curve for non-Linux users
  • Licensing model might be complex for some users

4. vCenter Converter - Best for P2V and V2V migrations

vCenter Converter Platform Virtualization Software
This is vCenter Converter software, where Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) conversion takes place. 

vCenter Converter by VMware stands as a dependable solution for converting physical machines to virtual ones and vice versa. Catering specifically to P2V (Physical-to-Virtual) and V2V (Virtual-to-Virtual) migrations, it facilitates smooth transitions without the common headaches.

Why I Picked vCenter Converter:

In selecting tools for migrations, I spent considerable time judging each option's ease of use, reliability, and efficiency. vCenter Converter frequently came up as a top contender due to its unique specialization in P2V and V2V processes. Its adeptness in simplifying these specific migration types solidifies its position as the "Best for P2V and V2V migrations."

Standout features & integrations:

vCenter Converter is recognized for its centralized management, ensuring an organized and controlled migration. The tool supports a wide range of source physical machines, including Windows and Linux servers. In terms of integrations, it smoothly interacts with other VMware products, ensuring a cohesive ecosystem.


Pricing upon request


  • Centralized management offers streamlined migrations
  • Broad support for various source physical servers
  • Smooth integration with other VMware offerings


  • Might be more complex for novices to grasp
  • Tends to be more suitable for larger enterprises
  • Limited support for non-VMware virtual environments

5. Vultr - Best for rapid cloud server deployments

Vultr Network Virtualization Software
This is Vultr's powerful control panel, where users can spend less time managing their infrastructure.

Vultr is renowned for its cloud infrastructure services, offering users the means to swiftly deploy cloud servers. Tailored for businesses that prioritize rapid deployments, this platform ensures projects get up and running without unnecessary delays.

Why I Picked Vultr:

I arrived at the decision to include Vultr after evaluating various cloud providers in terms of deployment speed and efficiency. Vultr distinguished itself with its emphasis on speed, boasting a user-friendly interface that expedites server setups. Given its fast-track nature, it's evident that Vultr is undoubtedly the "Best for rapid cloud server deployments."

Standout features & integrations:

Vultr offers a vast array of pre-configured applications and development stacks, ready for instant deployment. The platform also supports various operating systems from Linux distributions to Windows versions. Integration-wise, Vultr provides API access for developers, enabling automation and syncing with other network virtualization software systems.


From $2.50/user/month


  • A broad range of ready-to-deploy applications
  • Supports a diverse set of operating systems
  • Comprehensive API access for enhanced flexibility


  • Limited advanced networking features
  • Might be overwhelming for beginners
  • Pricing can escalate with increased resources and additional features

6. Azure Virtual Machines - Best for integrated Microsoft cloud solutions

Azure Virtual Machine Virtualization Software
This is an image capture from Azure Virtual Machine's dashboard for event viewers.

Azure Virtual Machines (VM) is a part of Microsoft's cloud services, enabling users to deploy virtualized computing resources. It's particularly adept for businesses already immersed in the Microsoft ecosystem, seeking to integrate their cloud solutions.

Why I Picked Azure Virtual Machines:

Upon assessing various cloud platforms, Azure Virtual Machines emerged as a clear choice for those entrenched in Microsoft's suite of tools. The deep integration with Microsoft's products and its robust cloud capabilities make it distinctive in the market. Its strong alignment with Microsoft's ecosystem makes it the "Best for integrated Microsoft cloud solutions."

Standout features & integrations:

Azure VMs come with various machine types tailored to different workloads, from compute-optimized to memory-optimized configurations. They also boast persistent disk storage, ensuring data durability. Integration is a forte, with Azure VMs melding effortlessly with Microsoft services such as Office 365, Dynamics, and even non-Microsoft solutions.


From $13/user/month (billed annually)


  • Extensive customization options for different workloads
  • High durability with persistent disk storage
  • Integration with a plethora of Microsoft services


  • Can have a steeper learning curve for newcomers
  • Pricing can become complex with multiple configurations
  • Might not be the first choice for non-Microsoft-centric organizations

7. Scale Computing Platform - Best for hyper-converged infrastructure needs

Scale Computing Platform Virtualization Software
This is a simple web interface for local management of the cluster and its workloads using the Scale Computing Platform.

Scale Computing Platform caters to organizations by offering hyper-converged infrastructure solutions. Companies aiming to simplify their IT operations by amalgamating storage, computing, and virtualization into one system will find this platform especially beneficial.

Why I Picked Scale Computing Platform:

In my journey of determining the best hyper-converged solutions, the Scale Computing Platform stood out. Its holistic approach to integrating key IT components into a unified system was a determining factor in my choice. This unique consolidation justifies its position as the "Best for hyper-converged infrastructure needs."

Standout features & integrations:

The platform emphasizes scalability, allowing businesses to grow their infrastructure as needs evolve. It's also known for its self-healing capabilities, minimizing downtime. Integration-wise, the Scale Computing Platform works effectively with various virtualization tools and storage solutions.


Pricing upon request


  • Offers significant scalability options
  • Self-healing capabilities enhance system reliability
  • Effective integration with major virtualization and storage tools


  • Might be overkill for smaller businesses
  • Requires understanding of hyper-converged concepts for maximum benefits
  • The pricing structure might not be transparent for all

8. VMware ESXi - Best for bare-metal virtualization

VMware ESXi Network Virtualization Software
This is a screenshot from VMware ESXi on the arm fling dashboard.

VMware ESXi is a type 1 hypervisor, designed to be deployed directly on physical servers without requiring an underlying operating system. Given its capacity for bare-metal deployment, it proves ideal for businesses seeking optimal performance from their virtualization infrastructure.

Why I Picked VMware ESXi:

While comparing different virtualization solutions, VMware ESXi quickly became a prime candidate. The fact that it offers direct deployment on hardware, eliminating the need for an OS layer, made it particularly attractive. This unique capability solidifies its position as the "Best for bare-metal virtualization."

Standout features & integrations:

VMware ESXi emphasizes performance and security. It allows for resource management with features such as Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and vMotion. In terms of integrations, VMware ESXi works in tandem with other VMware solutions like vCenter Server, enhancing manageability.


From $7/user/month (billed annually)


  • Provides high performance by bypassing the OS layer
  • Enhanced security features reduce vulnerability risks
  • A rich ecosystem with other VMware products


  • The steeper learning curve for those new to virtualization
  • Licensing costs can accumulate with advanced features
  • Limited to VMware's ecosystem for certain integrations

9. VirtualBox - Best for desktop-based virtualization on various OS

VirtualBox Virtualization Software
This is a view from VirtualBox's dashboard.

VirtualBox is a versatile type 2 hypervisor that runs on multiple operating systems including Windows, macOS, Linux, and Oracle Solaris. With its broad OS support and user-friendly interface, it's tailored for those wanting desktop-based virtualization.

Why I Picked VirtualBox:

In selecting a tool for desktop virtualization, my decision gravitated towards VirtualBox due to its OS flexibility and accessibility. Its capacity to cater to various operating systems and its ease of use differentiates it in the market. This diversity in application is what defines it as the "Best for desktop-based virtualization on various OS."

Standout features & integrations:

VirtualBox offers features such as snapshot functionality, allowing users to revert to a prior state. It also supports a variety of virtual disk formats. Integration-wise, it can work with tools like Vagrant for development environments.


From $0 (Free for personal use)


  • Multi-platform support ensures a broader reach
  • User-friendly interface simplifies virtualization tasks
  • An active open-source community fosters continuous improvement


  • Performance may not match type 1 hypervisors
  • Advanced configurations might require technical expertise
  • Features may lag behind commercial solutions

10. VMware vSphere - Best for robust virtual infrastructure management

VMware vSphere Virtualization Software
Here is an image from VMware vSphere's dashboard for profile configuration.

VMware vSphere is a leading virtualization platform designed to optimize and manage computing, storage, and networking resources for multiple VMs. This solution is integral for organizations aiming for solid and comprehensive management of their virtual infrastructure.

Why I Picked VMware vSphere:

After evaluating various virtualization platforms, I determined that VMware vSphere stood out due to its holistic approach toward infrastructure management. I judged it to have a mature and refined set of features compared to competitors. This comprehensive management capability makes it the "Best for robust virtual infrastructure management."

Standout features & integrations:

VMware vSphere delivers automated load balancing, business continuity, and advanced application monitoring. As for integrations, it pairs well with other VMware products and services, offering a synchronized virtual environment.


From $50/user/month (billed annually)


  • Consolidated virtual infrastructure management
  • Scalable to accommodate growing business needs
  • Wide range of features promoting operational efficiency


  • Complexity can be daunting for newcomers
  • Licensing model can get expensive for large deployments
  • Heavy reliance on VMware's ecosystem

11. VMware Workstation Pro - Best for professionals needing VMs on-the-go

VMware Workstation Pro Virtualization Software
An image captured from VMware Workstation Pro's dashboard.

VMware Workstation Pro allows users to run multiple operating systems on a single Windows or Linux PC. For professionals who require virtual machines irrespective of their location, this tool is indispensable.

Why I Picked VMware Workstation Pro:

I selected VMware Workstation Pro based on its dynamic adaptability for professionals. The ability to swiftly switch between various OS on a singular workstation makes it distinct. This portability and flexibility define its edge as the "Best for professionals needing VMs on the go."

Standout features & integrations:

Features like 3D graphics support, high-resolution display support, and cross-compatibility are prominent. Integration with other VMware products ensures an interconnected virtual ecosystem.


From $15/user/month


  • Supports a myriad of operating systems
  • High-quality virtual performance
  • Beneficial for developers and IT professionals


  • Requires significant system resources for smooth operation
  • Limited to Windows and Linux host systems
  • Costlier compared to some desktop virtualization solutions

12. Google Compute Engine - Best for scalable Google Cloud deployments

Google Compute Engine Network Virtualization Software
This is a screenshot from Google Compute Engine's dashboard for monitoring CPU and memory details.

Google Compute Engine offers virtual machines running in Google's innovative data centers and global fiber networks. For businesses keen on leveraging the power of Google Cloud while maintaining scalability, this tool is a clear choice.

Why I Picked Google Compute Engine:

When it came to cloud solutions with an emphasis on scalability, Google Compute Engine was my obvious choice. Having compared its capabilities with other cloud providers, I found its scale and integration with Google's ecosystem unmatched. Such prowess designates it as the "Best for scalable Google Cloud deployments."

Standout features & integrations:

Key features include custom VMs, preemptible VMs, and live migration of VM instances. It also integrates with other Google Cloud services, fortifying a cohesive cloud environment.


Pricing upon request


  • Integrated with Google's robust infrastructure
  • Offers both fixed and custom machine types
  • Flexible pricing with sustained use discounts


  • Initial setup can be complex for those unfamiliar with GCP
  • The pricing model requires close attention to control costs
  • More suited for larger enterprises than small businesses

Other Noteworthy Network Virtualization Software

Below is a list of additional network virtualization software that I shortlisted, but did not make it to the top 12. Definitely worth checking them out.

  1. IBM Power VM - Good for enterprise-level virtualization stability
  2. Citrix Hypervisor - Good for comprehensive workload management
  3. Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets - Good for scaling Azure applications
  4. Vagrant - Good for consistent development environments
  5. IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions - Good for VMware deployments on IBM Cloud
  6. Microsoft Application Virtualization - Good for Windows application virtual delivery
  7. Red Hat Virtualization - Good for open-source enterprise virtualization
  8. SQL Server on Virtual Machines - Good for SQL Server hosting in Azure VMs
  9. Proxmox VE - Good for combined virtualization solutions
  10. antsle Private Cloud - Good for personal cloud infrastructure
  11. Paperspace Core - Good for GPU-powered virtual workstations.

Selection Criteria For Choosing Network Virtualization Software

In the realm of network virtualization software, I've dived deep into the nuances of what makes one tool stand out from another. I've tested each of these tools, evaluated their strengths and weaknesses, and researched them exhaustively. Through all of this, I've managed to narrow down the critical criteria that truly matter when choosing virtualization software. Here's what I looked out for:

Core Functionality:

  • Virtual Machine Management: Ability to create, modify, and terminate virtual machines (VMs).
  • Resource Allocation: Efficient distribution of CPU, RAM, and storage resources among VMs.
  • Isolation & Security: Ensuring VMs are isolated from one another to avoid any potential security breaches.
  • Snapshot & Backup: Capability to take snapshots of VMs and back them up for easy recovery.

Key Features:

  • Live Migration: Allows VMs to move between host servers without any downtime.
  • Storage Virtualization: Manages and pools physical storage from multiple network storage devices.
  • Fault Tolerance: Automatically creates a live shadow instance of a VM to ensure continuous availability.
  • API Integration: Ensures the software can integrate with other systems, enhancing its utility and efficiency.
  • Hardware-Assisted Virtualization: Uses hardware capabilities from the host system to improve VM performance.


  • Intuitive Dashboard: A clear and concise dashboard that displays VM health, resource allocation, and active tasks.
  • Role-Based Access: A system that allows easy configuration of user roles, ensuring that users only access what they need to.
  • Training & Onboarding: Availability of a comprehensive learning library, tutorials, or training programs to help users get started and resolve any issues they encounter.
  • Efficient Support Channels: Offers multiple avenues of support, be it through chat, email, or phone, ensuring prompt response to queries and issues.

Most Common Questions Regarding Network Virtualization Software (FAQs)

What are the benefits of using network virtualization software?

Network virtualization software offers a range of advantages for organizations and IT professionals. Five key benefits include:

  1. Flexibility & Scalability: Easily adapt to changing workloads by adjusting virtual network resources without the need to modify physical infrastructure.
  2. Isolation & Security: Virtual networks are isolated from each other, reducing the risk of security breaches and unauthorized data access.
  3. Cost-Efficiency: Reduces the need for physical hardware investments and can lead to lower operational costs in the long run.
  4. Centralized Management: Manage all your network resources from a single dashboard, streamlining administrative tasks and improving operational efficiency.
  5. Rapid Deployment: Create, modify, or remove virtual networks quickly without significant downtime or manual intervention.

How much do these tools typically cost?

The cost of network virtualization software varies widely based on features, scalability, and brand reputation. Prices can range from as low as $10/user/month to upwards of $1000/user/month for enterprise-grade solutions.

What are the pricing models for these tools?

Most network virtualization software tools offer several pricing models:

  • Subscription-Based: Monthly or annually recurring fees.
  • Perpetual Licensing: One-time purchase with potential costs for updates or support.
  • Usage-Based: Fees are based on the amount of data or number of virtual networks created.
  • Freemium: Basic features are free, with a fee for advanced features or more extensive usage.

Which software is considered the cheapest?

While prices fluctuate and depend on specific needs and configurations, Vagrant is one of the more affordable options available, especially for smaller setups or individual users.

Which software is considered the most expensive?

Enterprise solutions like IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions and Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum due to their comprehensive feature set and scalability options.

Are there any free options available?

Yes, some tools offer free versions with limited functionality. For instance, Vagrant and VirtualBox provide free versions, though they might lack some advanced features available in their paid counterparts.

Is it worth investing in a paid tool if there are free options available?

While free options can be great for beginners or those with limited requirements, investing in a paid tool often brings enhanced security, better support, advanced features, and scalability that can be vital for businesses or complex projects.

Do these tools come with a trial period?

Many network virtualization software options offer trial periods, typically ranging from 14 to 30 days. This allows users to test the tool's capabilities and see if it aligns with their needs before committing to a purchase.


Choosing the best network virtualization software is a crucial decision that can impact an organization's flexibility, security, and operational efficiency. Through the exploration of various tools in this guide, it's evident that while many solutions offer a rich set of features, the right choice depends on the specific needs, scale, and budget of the user.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Define Your Needs: Before diving into options, have a clear understanding of your requirements. Are you looking for a solution that emphasizes security? Or maybe one that's particularly scalable for growing operations? Your specific use case will greatly influence your ideal choice.
  2. Consider Total Costs: While initial pricing is essential, it's vital to consider other potential costs. These can include training, setup fees, ongoing maintenance, and costs related to scaling up as your organization grows.
  3. Prioritize Usability & Support: A tool's user interface and the quality of customer support can make or break the user experience. Ensure that your chosen solution is intuitive and backed by a reliable support team, especially if you're investing in an enterprise-grade solution.

What do you think?

While I've done my best to compile and present a comprehensive list of leading network virtualization software, the tech landscape is vast and ever-evolving. If you're using a tool or know of one that should have made the list, I'd love to hear from you. Sharing your experiences and suggestions not only helps me but also aids fellow readers in making informed decisions. Please drop your recommendations in the comments below or get in touch directly. Let's keep this guide as up-to-date and useful as possible.

By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.