OK. So you understand what virtualization is, and you sometimes wonder why they don't let humans do that. Walk around with several Virtual Minds (VM's) in a single brain (hardware), and switch from one to the other via Google Glass or some other Heads-Up Display (HUD):
/dev/hud% vmboxmanage startvm most-interesting-man-in-the-world
But you never got around to playing with VirtualBox because you thought it was just for those pesky developers who walked around with laptops and penguin T-shirts. So, when Albert, your smarter than average 10-year old nephew, walks up to you and says, "Uncle Bart, can you show me how to use VirtualBox?" what are you gonna do, tell him to go play in traffic?
by Pradyumma Dash
Packt Publishing and Pradyumma Dash feel your pain. They gathered the essential info you need to get going, and left out the rest. The book shows you how to install, configure, and manage VirtualBox on your system. And then how to have some fun with it.
Don't confuse Pradyumma's book with a lightweight overview that just regurgitates what you already know. As in, "a carburetor controls the air fuel mixture on an engine." Even my grandmother knows that. Pradyumma focuses on getting you rolling. As in, "The first step to tuning your carburetor is removing it from the engine. Begin by shutting off the petcock and running the engine until it stalls."
Pradyumma shows you how to create and manage the virtual machines (VMs), including how to use snapshots, clones, and groups. There's plenty more, including guest additions, using shared folders, memory management techniques and, best of all, virtual networking. I work at Oracle, so I get to listen to explanations of virtual networking all the time. I would have kept a lot more of my hair if I'd read Pradyumma's explanation, first. Here's how he explains the different virtual networking modes available on VirtualBox:
Not attached: This mode implies that the guest VM has an Ethernet card but no network connection. It's like an Ethernet cable that is not connected to the network card.
Network Address Translation (NAT): This is the default networking mode, and it requires no configuration on either the host or the guest VM. This is great if you just want to browse the web within the guest.
Host-only: In this mode, the guest VM's can interact with each other as well as with the host, but they cannot talk to the outside world. In this mode, a virtual interface is created on the host, which provides connectivity across the guest VM and the host.
Bridged networking: This networking mode helps you to set up routing between the guest and the rest of the network. It does so by using a virtual network interface, which filters data from the physical network adapter, so that the guest and the host can talk to each other, and also with other VMs on the network and in the outside world.
Internal networking: This mode is similar to a bridged network mode when it comes to communication with the other VMs on the same host, but it is more secure and does not let you communicate with an external network.
I posted links to Oracle VirtualBox resources below, including the documentation. You'll get more out of them, not to mention have a lower likelihood of embarrassing yourself in front of your nephew, if you read Pradyumma's book, first.
Photograph of 2012 Harley Davidson Softail Heritage taken by Rick Ramsey on the front range of Colorado.