VirtualBox 1.6 at Community One

Hmm. Always wondered if I could write a blog entry "live" from a conference session. Since I'm writing this entry "live", I'll apologise ahead of time for muddling my tenses as I move more into the present tense!

I'm here at community one listening to Joost Pronk and Achim Hasenmueller talking about the latest improvements and coolness in VirtualBox. Achim's team has just released version 1.6, which has an impressive list of features that can be found in the changelog right here.

  • Hey, Jonathan just dropped by to say hello before the talk begins.
  • Now Joost is explaining the context i.e. the different virtualization technologies that Sun offers and where VirtualBox fits in the picture.
  • Next, Achim is introducing the core technology, the history, the design, how it's being used.
  • Christoph Schuba is now doing a demo of Trusted Solaris multi-level security with Windows Vista running in VirtualBox, which is a neat combination of the Zones technology on which Trusted Solaris is based, and the VirtualBox type 2 hypervisor.
  • Oh and Christoph is also running OpenSolaris native on a MacBook - because, as Christoph says, OpenSolaris runs on lots of machines. Very, very, nice demo.
  • Now Achim is walking through configuring and running OpenSolaris on VirtualBox. Oh cool, now he's showing off the latest guest additions for OpenSolaris, which means things like mouse pointer integration and seamless mode now work too.
  • Now we're delving into the architecture a little, and Achim's talking about the new WSDL/SOAP interface to VirtualBox that's a part of 1.6 to allow other management tools to manipulate the hypervisor and its guests. The default graphical UI and the command line UI already use that interface; now the API is available to allow developers to do what they want with it.
  • Achim's also particularly happy about the virtual SATA controller that's new for 1.6
  • VirtualBox now runs on Solaris 10U4 and OpenSolaris too. Some nice integration with zfs and zpools, with integrated iSCSI support. Oh and VirtualBox is Zones aware too, and it can be used simultaneously in multiple zones.
  • Mac support is getting better, but there's still more in the pipeline.

Now the Q&A begins

  • Q: Virtual Machine migration tools?
  • A: Better support for VMDK formats in the pipeline
  • Q: Older hardware?
  • A: Tend to run out of memory if you want to run modern guests! Otherwise, anything that's Pentium III or above works.
  • Q: Compare and contrast with Xen?
  • A: Xen is a type 1, VirtualBox is a type 2, Xen emphasis on paravirtualization, VirtualBox focus on usability.
  • Q: What kind of shared storage for live migration
  • A: No specific restrictions at this point - files, devices, or iSCSI targets

Now some roadmap items that are being worked on

  • Memory ballooning
  • 64-bit guests
  • Live migration
  • 3D virtualization
  • More portable snapshots
  • VMDK support
  • VHD support
  • Nested paging for AMD-V and VT-x
  • Next generation seamless windowing with better desktop integration
  • Paravirtualization using VMI and Windows Enlightenments

You can download VirtualBox 1.6 by following the downloads link from virtualbox.org.

Technorati Tag: VirtualBox
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