Virtualization @ Oracle (Part 7: Oracle VM VirtualBox)
By uwes on Jun 22, 2012
After discussing several aspects of resource management and network virtualization in the previous articles, let us go back now to another Oracle Virtualization Product – a Type 2 Hypervisor,
Oracle VM VirtualBox
Type 2 Hypervisor, what does that mean again… ? Remember the picture we used in the first articles of this series to position the different ways of virtualization:
To run a type 2 Hypervisor, you need an Operating System running underneath. For Oracle VM VirtualBox it has to be an already running Host Operating System on your x86-based desktop, laptop or server. Install your Hypervisor Software Oracle VM VirtualBox on top of that. Then you can simultaneously run multiple operating systems inside Oracle VM VirtualBox (multiple virtual machines). The Host OS can be Windows, MacOS, Linux or Solaris. Many OS are supported as guests (see https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch03.html#idp18337920 for the complete list). For example, run Windows and Linux as guests on your Mac, Windows Server 2008 and Solaris as a guest on your Linux server, run Linux as a guest on your Windows PC, and so on, all alongside your existing applications. You can install and run as many virtual machines as you like – the only practical limits are disk space and memory.
The screenshot shows VirtualBox, installed on a Microsoft Windows 7 System, running Windows XP and Ubuntu as a guest.
Oracle VM VirtualBox is separated into 3 parts.
- The first part is the base software package that is available for each supported host operating system.
- The guest additions can be installed into the installed guest and add shared folder support, seamless window integration and 3D support.
- Additionally VirtualBox extension packs can be installed to extend VirtualBox functionality. For the Oracle provided extension pack this is the support for USB 2.0, the VirtualBox Remote Desktop Protocol (VRDP) and the PXE boot ROM.
Data can be transferred to and from the guests through external iSCSI-storage, with shared folders from the Host or via network services. There are different options to connect VirtualBox guests with the Host or the outside world:
- NAT Networking: with NAT address translation for clients on a VirtualBox-private LAN
- Bridged Networking: to bridge guests to the Host network and makes them full network citizens
- Internal Networking: to bind guests to an isolated network, which is independent and separated from the Host
- Host-only Networking: as Hybrid between Bridged and Internal Networking to connect the isolated private network with the Host
There are different interfaces to use VirtualBox like a Command-line interface with “VBoxManage”, a Python interface “vboxshell.py” and a Web-services API “phpvirtualbox”. This enables a very flexible use and administration of Oracle VM VirtualBox and if you need a configuration option, that you can not find in the GUI, check the VirtualBox Manual and the various additional “VBoxManage” options.
With its graphical user interface, the way to install and manage
guests or the capabilities to take and manage snapshots, VirtualBox
is seen as very easy to use and gained rapidly a high popularity.
As an example Oracle uses VirtualBox to pre-build Developer-VMs. These pre-build VMs can be used by developers to learn Oracle Technologies without having the hassle of installing an OS or Application Software. Just download the VM, import it into your VirtualBox installation and you are done. Ready to start your development work. (see http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/community/developer-vm/index.html for several pre-built Developer VMs). Oracle VM VirtualBox is also used in Oracle’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (see our next planned article).
Having all this in mind, it is fair to say Oracle VM VirtualBox is the coolest, easiest to use and most feature-rich personal desktop virtualization product. It can be used for various purposes like desktop virtualization, training, testing, developing and personal lab.
We now close this article on Oracle VM VirtualBox and hope we've kept you eager to read the ones coming up in the following newsletters.
This series already had the following articles:
- December 2011: Introduction to Virtualization (Matthias Pfützner)
- January 2012: Oracle VM Server for SPARC (Matthias Pfützner)
- February 2012: Oracle VM Server for x86 (Matthias Pfützner)
- March 2012: Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers (Detlef Drewanz)
- April 2012: Resource Management (Detlef Drewanz)
- May 2012: Network Virtualization and Network Resource Management (Detlef Drewanz)
The series will continue as follows (tentative):
- July 2012: Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) (Matthias Pfützner)
- August 2012: OpsCenter as Management Tool for Virtualization (Matthias Pfützner)
If you have questions, feel free to contact me at: Detlef Drewanz
|<<< Part 6: Network Virtualization and Network Resource Management||>>>> Part 8: Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure - OVDI