If you're looking to not only virtualize an x86 environment at reasonable speeds, but also want to test software on SPARC, ARM, PPC and MIPS platforms, QEMU can help. The multi-arch emulation capabilities are decidedly hit or miss and can be rather sluggish, but no other VM software is capable of this feat currently. If you prefer not to deal with the command-line, a companion app called QEMU Manager can be downloaded and used on top of QEMU to manage VM instances in an easy to use GUI.
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An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Customer Success Professional for Ultimate Software in Santa Ana, California.