What's in Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.1?

Another week, another VirtualBox release.

But unlike last week's maintenance release on our stable 4.0.x branch, today's 4.1 release introduces some exciting new cutting edge features:

VM clones

A clone is a copy of an existing VM. So when would you need to copy a vm?

Well, examples include when you want to give many people their own vm to use (e.g. teachers and students, or employees), or for backing up a vm (instead of snapshots), or for when you want to build a grid for, say, a Hadoop-type application.

A clone is an (almost) exact copy of a vm. We say "almost", because you can ask VirtualBox to assign a different MAC address to it so as not to confuse the network when you start 2 or more of them up.

In VirtualBox 4.1 we've made Cloning super easy. In the VirtualBox Manager simply right click on the vm and choose Clone.

Cloning

For the more intrepid, we also support Linked Clones, where the existing vm is the parent of the clone. These are faster to create and more space efficient but a little harder to understand. At the moment the ability to create linked clones is only available via the VBoxManage command line interface.

Larger system support

VirtualBox is used in many places and many ways. 

One example is that VirtualBox is used in another Oracle product, Oracle VDI to deliver a smarter way of running Enterprise desktops, namely by running them in vm's on the server, where they are more secure, manageable, and available from many devices.

Now some servers are pretty big nowadays, not only in terms of CPU horsepower but also in the amount of RAM they can support. So with 4.1 we've enhanced VirtualBox to work great on all sizes of systems, even up to systems with 1 Terabyte of RAM.

Improved remote access

If your vms are running on another machine, VirtualBox provides a way to access them remotely via a service which is Microsoft RDP compatible. We've enhanced this service in a couple of ways:

  • Security: VRDP now supports TLS and server authentication to prevent, for example, Man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Multiple Monitors: VRDP now supports multiple monitors on your client so your vm's can see and display on your multiple monitors.

Windows 7 Aero

We've developed a new WDDM driver for Windows Vista and 7 guests as part of the VirtualBox Guest Additions on these platforms. Using this driver the Windows guests can use transparency and other effects.

Note that this driver is relatively immature and so we've attached the "experimental" tag to it for now.

Here's an example of what it looks like on a Mac host:

Cloning

Latest platform support

VirtualBox 4.1 is ready for the latest Linux platforms, even when using cutting edge features such as Unity or Gnome 3.

Ubuntu 11.04

And one of these days we expect Apple to release Lion (the newest Mac OS X) and we're ready for that too.

New Networking Mode

VirtualBox already supports a powerful range of networking options from NAT (vm's IP address is translated in communications) to bridged (the vm is a full network citizen with it's own publicly accessible IP address) to host-only and internal networking (where vm's sit on a virtual network inside the host machine).

This latter model is extremely useful for test setups because you don't need to involve system administrators at all. But the downside is that maybe you can't fit all your running vm's in the same host.

UDP Tunneling is a new feature introduced in 4.1 which allows you to interconnect virtual machines running on different hosts.

And lots more...

There are so many more improvements and fixes throughout VirtualBox 4.1 ranging from :

  • features for the mere mortal: an updated Virtual Media Manager, maintaining aspect ratio when in scale-view mode, proxy support for the update checker and an updated USB stack;
  • features for specific constituencies: Crossbow and shared folder automount support for Solaris hosts;
  • advanced features for the very brave: experimental support for SATA disk hotplugging and PCI passthrough.

So there should be something there for everyone :-)

To get the full list of changes, as always checkout the ChangeLog, or download and kick the tires yourself.

- FB 

Comments:

Really impressed with some of the new features that were integrated int 4.1. Just installed and still having the high CPU usage issue (Win 7 - 64 bit host). Workaround is to create a dummy 4mb DOS machine to reduce the CPU usage.

Posted by Martin Giffy D'Souza on July 19, 2011 at 08:32 AM BST #

Looks like another great VBox release. What constraints are there limiting to 1 terabyte RAM e.g. why can't you support 2 TB RAM?

Posted by guest on July 19, 2011 at 08:32 AM BST #

is there a gui for teleportation already?

Posted by The_mentor on July 19, 2011 at 01:24 PM BST #

No gui for teleportation at the mo. Standalone VirtualBox is single node only but other incarnations of VirtualBox (e.g. Oracle VDI may introduce teleportation UI at some point.

- FB

Posted by Fat Bloke on July 19, 2011 at 01:50 PM BST #

I had high CPU problem and I fixed it by not enabling nested paging. System > Acceleration tab has this setting. I was very eagerly waiting for the new release, but still the issue wasn't seemed fixed issue. Tried other setting and running a dummy VM too... none worked. Disable nested paging solved the persistent issue.

Posted by guest on July 19, 2011 at 11:07 PM BST #

The high CPU usage problem makes it very questionable IMHO. Suffering from the same problems. Not sure why they are not adressed by Oracle. Until then I prefer to use my very old VMWare license.

Posted by Frank on July 20, 2011 at 01:40 AM BST #

Frank,
VirtualBox is extremely efficient of system resources so something sounds amiss here. Have you dug into what the guest is doing to cause high CPU load?

One issue I personally know of involved a rogue javaws process in a Windows vm.
I killed the process (Task Manager), then did a Windows Update, and everything is now as it should be.

Cheers,
-FB

Posted by Fat Bloke on July 20, 2011 at 01:55 AM BST #

In this moment, it's not possible install VM VirtualBox directly in the iPad and run the image on it, isn't it ?

Instead of run only the client, sometimes we still need the windows platform to check something (some custom apps and ....) and we need open the laptop...

Posted by guest on July 20, 2011 at 05:13 AM BST #

No VirtualBox does not run on the iPad.

Posted by Fat Bloke on July 20, 2011 at 05:21 AM BST #

very nice :-)
but, how can we use the new function for crossbow with solaris 11 ?
i have sol 11 express with b151 kernel, and i would like test this new function.
do you know where can i founf docs about it ?

regards, fax

Posted by fax on July 22, 2011 at 06:33 PM BST #

VirtualBox 4.1 for Solaris hosts Error log

Jul 21 12:27:56 home vboxdrv: [ID 694835 kern.notice] NOTICE: kthread_t::t_preempt at 42
Jul 21 12:27:56 home vboxdrv: [ID 694835 kern.notice] NOTICE: cpu_t::cpu_runrun at 232
Jul 21 12:27:56 home vboxdrv: [ID 694835 kern.notice] NOTICE: cpu_t::cpu_kprunrun at 233

Posted by guest on July 22, 2011 at 09:43 PM BST #

I have been using the previous version of VirtualBox . Why isn't that we can't allocate system resources while the guest OS in running? Also I have issues with the display when applications such as games change the host display configuration.

Posted by guest on July 30, 2011 at 11:15 PM BST #

Is the ability to import a VMware image into Vbox included in Vbox 4.1? Thought I read that somewhere.

Posted by Chuck Talk on August 01, 2011 at 11:15 AM BST #

Can you go into any detail on the new SSD support?

Posted by guest on August 05, 2011 at 03:23 PM BST #

Can you go into more detail about the performance enhancements for SSD drives?

Posted by cowmix on August 06, 2011 at 01:44 AM BST #

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