Oracle’s Senior Vice President, Linux and Virtualization Engineering, Wim Coekaerts and I recently discussed the release of VirtualBox 5.0.
New releases and updates come out frequently and the updates typically address important issues.
What is VirtualBox?
VirtualBox.org describes the virtual machine software in the following way:
“VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2.
Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4, 2.6 and 3.x), Solaris and OpenSolaris, OS/2, and OpenBSD.”
What’s new in VirtualBox 5.0?
Here’s how Oracle described the improvements found in VirtualBox 5.0:
“Paravirtualization Support for Windows and Linux Guests:Significantly improves guest OS performance by leveraging built-in virtualization support on operating systems such as Oracle Linux 7 and Microsoft Windows 7 and newer.
Improved CPU Utilization: Exposes a broader set of CPU instructions to the guest OS, enabling applications to make use of the latest hardware instruction sets for maximum performance.
Support of USB 3.0 Devices: Guest operating systems can directly recognize USB 3.0 devices and operate at full 3.0 speeds. The guest OS can be configured to support USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0.
Bi-Directional Drag and Drop Support for Windows: On all host platforms, Windows, Linux and Oracle Solaris guests now support “drag and drop” of content between the host and the guest. The drag and drop feature transparently allows copying or opening of files, directories, and more.
Disk Image Encryption: Data can be encrypted on virtual hard disk images transparently during runtime, using the industry standard AES algorithm with up to 256 bit data encryption keys (DEK). This helps ensure data is secure and encrypted at all times, whether the VM is sitting unused on a developer’s machine or server, or actively in use.”
I always enjoy my conversations with Coekaerts. He sticks to the facts when he’s discussing technology. Seldom does he rely on hyperbole about the technology being “the best” or “crushing the competition.”
VirtualBox has been the mainstay of developers for client, server and cloud-based applications. It is quite easy to use, offers amazing amounts of power for the price (a free download), and supports quite a number of different operating environments.
I’ve also have spoken with developers at large organizations that are encapsulating corporate applications and data in VirtualBox virtual machines so that they can be safely deployed on staff, consultant or customer owned equipment.
The improvements found in version 5.0 are likely to be seen as useful by the VirtualBox audience. The BYOD crowd is going to be very happy about the speedy full disk encryption capabilities of the product. End users are going to be pleased by the drag and drop capabilities which will make it far easier to move data into and out of virtual machines.
Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll find it both powerful and useful.