Sun xVM VirtualBox 3.0: Virtual Developer's Delight

Windows 7 Ultimate RC 64-Bit Edition virtualized on Fedora 11, 64-Bit using Sun xVM VirtualBox 3.0With little fanfare, Sun Microsystems released version 3.

Sun xVM VirtualBox 3.0

Windows 7 Ultimate RC 64-Bit Edition virtualized on Fedora 11, 64-Bit using Sun xVM VirtualBox 3.0

With little fanfare, Sun Microsystems released version 3.0 of xVM VirtualBox, the Open Source and multi-platform desktop virtualization tool for Unix, Linux, Windows and Mac. The new release represents a culmination of hundreds of bugfixes and significant performance enhancements, including the ability for the product to permit guest OSes to use up to 32 virtual CPUs each. Under previous versions of the product, only one CPU core per guest OS was permitted.

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Also See: Sun xVM VirtualBox 3.0 Gallery

Also Read: Sun xVM VirtualBox versus VMWare Server

Also Read: VirtualBox 3.0 snapshot analysis (Dan Kusnetzky)

With the "Guest Additions" CD accompanying the release, VirtualBox 3.0 provides full integration for even the most recent Microsoft OSes, including 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, as well as for all of the major Linux distributions (Fedora/RHEL, SLES/OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Debian and TurboLinux)  and  Sun's own Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems.

In addition to support for multiple virtual CPU cores per guest OS, VirtualBox 3.0 provides experimental support for accelerated Direct3D 8/9 applications under Windows guests. OpenGL 2.0 is also supported for both Windows and Linux guest OSes. Sun has also significantly improved integration and performance enhancements for the Solaris OS as both a guest and a host for VirtualBox 3.0.

As with previous versions, VirtualBox 3.0 supports remote console capability thru a built in RDP server, so that Windows, Linux, and UNIX OSes can be remotely managed via the Windows Remote Desktop Connection client or any number of Open Source RDP clients. The software can run in a full GUI mode or in a "headless" server-only mode. VirtualBox also supports booting guest OSes from remote iSCSI targets. In addition to its own native .VDI format, VirtualBox also supports Microsoft VHD and VMWare VMDK VM disk formats.

The complete list of changes is chronicled on the VirtualBox Web Site.

As the beta test period was brief prior to Sun's release announcement, I was only able to test Version 3.0 on 64-bit OpenSolaris and Fedora 11 Linux host OSes. However, I was easily able to move VDI files between the systems for my virtual Windows 7 system. I would expect that like previous VirtualBox releases, the Windows and Mac installs should be fairly straightforward -- simply click on the install executable and follow the prompts. The Solaris install is currently provided in tarball format with an install shell script.

For Fedora and RHEL, the requirements for installing VirtualBox include installing the GNU GCC compiler and the kernel development packages in order to recompile the essential kernel modules for the virtual machine monitor and the virtual networking driver. For a quick overview of the process, a post at the official Fedora forums describes the procedure in detail.

For other popular Linux operating systems such as Ubuntu, Debian and OpenSUSE, VirtualBox also provides comprehensive documentation in its PDF manual.

What's your take on the latest xVM VirtualBox? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

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