VirtualBox 3.2 is released! A Red Letter Day?

Big news today! A new release of VirtualBox packed full of innovation and improvements. Over the next few weeks we'll take a closer look at some of these new features in a lot more depth, but today we'll whet your appetite with the headline descriptions.

To start with, we should point out that this is the first Oracle-branded version which makes today a real Red-letter day ;-) 

Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2

Oracle VM VirtualBox

Version 3.2 moves VirtualBox forward in 3 main areas ( handily, all beginning with "P" ) : performance, power and supported guest operating system platforms.  Let's take a look:

Performance

  • New Latest Intel hardware support – Harnessing the latest in chip-level support for virtualization, VirtualBox 3.2 supports new Intel Core i5 and i7 processor and Intel Xeon processor 5600 Series support for Unrestricted Guest Execution bringing faster boot times for everything from Windows to Solaris guests;

  • New Large Page support – Reducing the size and overhead of key system resources, Large Page support delivers increased performance by enabling faster lookups and shorter table creation times.

  • New In-hypervisor Networking – Significant optimization of the networking subsystem has reduced context switching between guests and host, increasing network throughput by up to 25%.

  • New New Storage I/O subsystem – VirtualBox 3.2 offers a completely re-worked virtual disk subsystem which utilizes asynchronous I/O to achieve high-performance whilst maintaining high data integrity;

  • New Remote Video Acceleration – The unique built-in VirtualBox Remote Display Protocol (VRDP), which is primarily used in virtual desktop infrastructure deployments, has been enhanced to deliver video acceleration. This delivers a rich user experience coupled with reduced computational expense, which is vital when servers are running hundreds of virtual machines;

Power

  • New Page Fusion – Traditional Page Sharing techniques have suffered from long and expensive cache construction as pages are scrutinized as candidates for de-duplication. Taking a smarter approach, VirtualBox Page Fusion uses intelligence in the guest virtual machine to determine much more rapidly and accurately those pages which can be eliminated thereby increasing the capacity or vm density of the system;

  • New Memory Ballooning– Ballooning provides another method to increase vm density by allowing the memory of one guest to be recouped and made available to others;

  • New Multiple Virtual Monitors – VirtualBox 3.2 now supports multi-headed virtual machines with up to 8 virtual monitors attached to a guest. Each virtual monitor can be a host window, or be mapped to the hosts physical monitors;

    Multiple Virtual Monitors

  • New Hot-plug CPU's – Modern operating systems such Windows Server 2008 x64 Data Center Edition or the latest Linux server platforms allow CPUs to be dynamically inserted into a system to provide incremental computing power while the system is running. Version 3.2 introduces support for Hot-plug vCPUs, allowing VirtualBox virtual machines to be given more power, with zero-downtime of the guest;

  • New Virtual SAS Controller – VirtualBox 3.2 now offers a virtual SAS controller, enabling it to run the most demanding of high-end guests;

  • New Online Snapshot Merging – Snapshots are powerful but can eat up disk space and need to be pruned from time to time. Historically, machines have needed to be turned off to delete or merge snapshots but with VirtualBox 3.2 this operation can be done whilst the machines are running. This allows sophisticated system management with minimal interruption of operations;

  • New OVF Enhancements – VirtualBox has supported the OVF standard for virtual machine portability for some time. Now with 3.2, VirtualBox specific configuration data is also stored in the standard allowing richer virtual machine definitions without compromising portability;

  • New Guest Automation – The Guest Automation APIs allow host-based logic to drive operations in the guest;

Platforms

  • New USB Keyboard and Mouse – Support more guests that require USB input devices;

  • New Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.5 – Support for the latest version of Oracle's flagship Linux platform;

  • New Ubuntu 10.04 (“Lucid Lynx”) – Support for both the desktop and server version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution;

    And as a man once said, "just one more thing" ...

  • New Mac OS X Server (experimental) – On Apple hardware only, support for creating virtual machines run Mac OS X Server.

    All in all this is a pretty powerful release packed full of innovation and speedups.

    So what are you waiting for

    -FB 

Comments:

1. Does Aero work in 3.2 ? All other VM softwares have Aero support except VirtualBox.

2. Does this version have an easy way to export .VDI files to .VMDK or some other format, so I can switch to VMware Fusion?

Posted by Jash Sayani on May 30, 2010 at 03:37 PM BST #

Jash,

1. No, VirtualBox doesn't currently support the Aero effects.
2. You can use OVF export.

- FB

Posted by Fat Bloke on May 31, 2010 at 04:01 AM BST #

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