Oracle releases VirtualBox 4.3

VirtualBox has a dedicated community that swear by this open source software's price, capabilities and performance. Does the release of a new version of the software mean that it is time for your organization to use it?

A while ago, I received a note from one of Oracle's PR people that let me know that the company had released a new version of its product, Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.3. The capabilities of this new version of VirtualBox appear to be worthy of consideration.

The key elements of the announcement

4.3 introduces a virtual multi-touch user interface, new virtual devices and utilities and tools to support both webcams and session recording capabilities. The multi-touch interface works with Microsoft's Windows 8.1, by the way.

Operating systems from Microsoft, Apple, the Linux community, and, of course, Oracle's own Solaris allowing the product to be used on both traditional and new devices.

Operating system support includes Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, Mac OS X 10.9 in a virtual environment. Improved 3D acceleration technology has been added to support the translucent effects found in both Ubuntu and Fedora Linux distributions. Multi-monitor supported has been added making it possible for applications running in a virtual environment to drive multiple screens.

A new virtual USB webcam device supports video conferencing applications such as Skype and Google Hangouts to run inside of a virtual machine.

Networking capabilities have been improved as well. A new network address translation (NAT) option has been added allowing virtual machines running on the same host to communicate quickly and efficiently with one another. The remote display server that is included with Oracle VM VirtualBox has the capability to work with RDP connections over either IPv4 and IPv6 networks.

Snapshot analysis

There are a number of virtual machine software products that get the lion's share of industry attention including technology from VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and the Xen open source community. Oracle's VM VirtualBox is often not included in that list even though it has a dedicated community of users.

If one just considers the capabilities, features and functions offered by VirtualBox, it really ought to be on the short list. What's missing is a strong attention to helping the market become aware of VirtualBox, tools designed to help those who are aware to consider the software and examples of successful users to help prospective users to feel comfortable adopting the technology. In short, VirtualBox is getting lost in the Oracle software portfolio.

Will the release of version 4.3 change this? That is not yet clear. What is clear is that the features and capabilities of this software deserve attention.