What is Virtualbox? 

VirtualBox is also the only x86 virtualization product to have been officially rated by VMware as a ” Passed ESXi Server Compatibility Program “. VirtualBox is a freeware virtualization software package for x86. It can run on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris operating systems. This free standalone application is very similar to commercial applications like VMware or VirtualPC but it doesn’t have any software or hardware restrictions. 

The Virtualbox suite is part of the Open Source project. A user of VirtualBox has the choice to either run all applications in a virtual machine or run them together with another active user that is in the same physical host machine. Each guest needs their independent virtualization technology, which they need to install separately. Additionally, they can install only the software for their operating system in separate partitions of a hard disk or their RAM disk. Alternatives are VMWare Player and VMWare Workstation.

VirtualBox was started by the company Innotek GmbH in January 2005 and was later purchased by Sun Microsystems, which then donated it to the Oracle Corporation. The VirtualBox project site itself has been hosted on Oracle’s servers since October 2008. On October 23, 2009, Sun Microsystems released all of its so-called derivatives of free software products under permissive licenses with no strings attached. Oracle announced a VirtualBox 3.2 version in December 2010 and a VirtualBox 3.2. 

Is Virtualbox Good?

Different versions of Windows (XP, Vista), Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), Ubuntu Linux 9. VirtualBox has a modular architecture that allows it to display different types of memory on guest operating systems. This allows the user greatly expandable memory for use with virtual machines. Virtual machine monitor (VMM) integrates this memory into other VMM’s. This feature allows other VMM managers to transparently share guest physical RAM with other running or running virtual machines within their management scope without changing the hardware interface of the host itself. The feature is called Integrated Memory Allocation (IMA). VirtualBox can be configured to allow “guest” operating systems to communicate with the host machine. It can thus use a real display, a virtual hard drive, a physical mouse, and a keyboard for this guest system.

VirtualBox is a hypervisor so it runs on top of other operating systems. The Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) runs below, which contains all the virtualization machinery for setting up virtual machines and other mechanisms. VirtualBox can run multiple guest operating systems, each with its virtual processors, virtual displays, virtual network cards, etc. Any number of guest systems may run on any combination of hosts. The hypervisor presents all these virtual systems to the respective operating systems as if they were physical hardware configurations. The host operating system itself is also isolated from these guests and cannot see or affect them in any way. Only resources that are explicitly shared between the different guests are shared.

VirtualBox does not have any proprietary source code and does not include a monitor or a device emulator. VirtualBox runs as a service in the operating system’s kernel. It offers a choice of virtualization technologies for each guest operating system:

Features of Virtualbox

  • Instant VM-to-VM migration: This technology allows the user to migrate the guest systems from one virtual machine to another without stopping them or shutting them down. In other words, it allows the users to split up their virtual machines into different VMs and move them from one host to another without pausing any of those guest systems. The user can now create as many VMs as necessary from this one large virtual hard disk image.
  • Snapshots: This technology allows the user to record a point-in-time snapshot of the virtual machine disk image. This snapshot can then be later used to revert the entire guest operating system to that particular state. VirtualBox can also create a compressed version of this snapshot that is not as large as the original but is significantly smaller.
  • Plug-and-play support: When new hardware is installed in a host, VirtualBox detects it and will automatically configure new devices for it. If the guest operating system runs kernel modules on this hardware, VirtualBox verifies that they are compatible with its implementation on these devices before allowing them to be used by the guest systems.
  • VirtualBox can create and use VMDK, VDI, and VHD disk images; the maximum size of a hard disk for a single virtual machine is 1 TB. The guest operating systems must support each of these technologies individually. This means that the host must support them as well to be able to combine them into a single virtual hard drive. VirtualBox can use its file format or that of another virtualization platform at the host level, such as QEMU/KVM, VMware, or VirtualPC.
  • VirtualBox also supports USB pass-through, which allows the user to access USB devices on virtual machines directly from the host machine. This way, it is possible to enable other operating systems that do not support USB directly to use USB devices. It should be noted that this feature does not work for devices that are currently in use by other applications on the host computer. VirtualBox supports up to 1394 controllers and 63 devices per controller.
  • VirtualBox supports many guest operating systems including Windows, Linux, BSDs, and several other versions of UNIX-like systems including Solaris/OpenSolaris x86, Linux/GNU variants (Ubuntu, Debian), and Apple Mac OS X.
  • VirtualBox can be used both to test new hardware before installing in production environments or to allow multiple operating systems (and applications) to execute simultaneously in the same system without overloading it. This is useful in virtualization when testing software because changes made when testing are not visible to others in the system; they only become visible when the software is released. The VirtualBox packages contain a set of utilities that allows users to start, stop and configure virtual machines on disk images, create bootable CD/DVD images, install operating systems onto disks, invoke guest operating systems remotely (with 1-click), etc.

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