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:

Oh boy, it is a Red Letter Day! I've been using VirtualBox for over 4 years now, even before the times I started working with Oracle products, and this just might be the 'next big thing' in desktop (and server) virtualization. In the beginning, for me, the big reason to start using VirtualBox was the small footprint and the fact that it was supported on a wide variety of host OS's. This is, hopefully, still the case. Thanks for the heads up. I'll post something if I've done a little testdrive! Regards, Douwe Pieter

Posted by Douwe Pieter van den Bos on May 18, 2010 at 06:07 PM PDT #

Hi there, (again..) Does Oracle offer some .vdi downloads? If yes, where could I find those? And if no, isn't this a missed opportunity for servicing the OTN community? Just asking... Regards, Douwe Pieter van den Bos

Posted by Douwe Pieter van den Bos on May 19, 2010 at 06:31 AM PDT #

You're right. This is a great opportunity for distributing pre-built vm's but shipping .vdi's is not the right distribution medium as it is just a virtual disk, whereas you really need both the disk and the vm configuration data too. The correct solution would be to adopt the emerging OVF standard which VirtualBox supports today! (See File Import Appliance from the GUI, or File Export Appliance to create your own). I'm guessing you would want a pre-built appliance that contains: - Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 - Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Enterprise Edition - Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database Cache - Oracle XML DB - Oracle SQL Developer - Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler - Oracle Application Express - Oracle JDeveloper - Hands-On-Labs (accessed via the Toolbar Menu in Firefox) If so, visit http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/virtualbox/appliances/index.html for more info. For other appliances, there are also community sites such as http://virtualboximages.com/OVFAppliances Hope you have fun, -FB

Posted by Fat Bloke on May 19, 2010 at 06:15 PM PDT #

Thanks for the info! This is a great start. Do you know of any plans to incorporate OVF's into OTN downloads? Or possibly for the Partner Network. This could create a new impulse in demo'ing, developing etc of Oracle Software. Without the hassle of installing and deploying it first hand... Regards, Douwe Pieter van den Bos PS: I've played with the OVF's yesterday and it works like a charm, even on different host environments. A great new possibility!

Posted by Douwe Pieter van den Bos on May 19, 2010 at 08:46 PM PDT #

Douwe, The Database stack appliance was a successful experiment. You will soon see similar examples for SOA, Application Grid, etc.

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on May 20, 2010 at 01:48 AM PDT #

I'm wondering if Oracle has any long-term plans for expanding VirtualBox beyond desktop virtualization. In my experience VirtualBox has better performance than Xen (the engine used in Oracle VM Server) and is on par with KVM or even VMWare ESX. As far as the virtualization engine, it also seems to surpass KVM and is on par with VMWare ESX for features (as far as OS support, guest tools, a method for communicating with the guest outside of network access, running on non VT/VMX enabled hardware, etc). The point is, I think VirtualBox would be the best choice to replace Xen as the engine in Oracle VM Server. All it needs is the management tools around it (such as a web interface for managing machines, live migration, viewing performance data, and viewing the virtual guest's console). I also think including a VNC server (only in the OSE version) is a big step and something the community has been wanting very much for a long time. I personally prefer to use a vnc console rather than rdp. This would also makes the most sense as it would consolidate the development efforts. Oracle would only have to maintain one virtualization engine - the VirtualBox engine - rather than VirtualBox and Xen.

Posted by James on May 24, 2010 at 08:42 PM PDT #

Hi FB, I'm an oracle and VBox fans. Im having Fedora 11 with Oracle 11g as guest on a Windows XP as host.. Whats I want to know is how to access the database from the host... Imagine I.using sqlplus or oracle sql developer i will need to enter an IP , user and pass... but I really dont know how to set up that kind of connection .. if you could help me ill appreciated. Thx Paul

Posted by Paul on May 26, 2010 at 01:11 AM PDT #

Paul, VirtualBox supports different Networking modes. The easiest and the default mode is NAT (Network Address Translation) which is great when your vm is a client, but not so good when it needs to be a server. If you want to connect into your guest you should configure the networking mode as Bridged (if you want to connect into it from any other client on your network) or Host-only (if you only want to connect from your host). This way you'll get an IP address that you can connect into. See http://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch06.html#networkingmodes for more details. -FB

Posted by Fat Bloke on May 26, 2010 at 01:28 AM PDT #

I am new to the Oracle/Sun virtualization technologies (we currently use VMware ESXi). I am interested in using the Oracle VM Templates that Oracle have released (http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/vm/templates/index.html) but I cannot currently dedicate a whole server to run Oracle VM. So my question is: can Virtualbox run Oracle VM Templates?

Posted by Barry Gooodsell on May 26, 2010 at 04:38 PM PDT #

Barry, The current generation of Oracle VM templates will not run on VirtualBox because they tend to use a modified (paravirtualized) Linux kernel. This is under review. -FB

Posted by Fat Bloke on May 26, 2010 at 05:25 PM PDT #

I like the Oracle/Sun Virtual Box it is actually behaving better than VM Ware Server. Virtual Box had no problem recognizing all the devices and the performance has defiantly improved better than VM Ware and Hyper V. As soon as I have my bench marks I will post them on the blog. Right now it is in Lab but we are looking to move it into our production environment by July 1. Question? Is there a tool to convert VM Ware virtual slice to a Oracle Virtual Box? Or will it Virtual Box recognize it?I hate to waste time rebuilding virtual machines. Thx Fox

Posted by Bill Fox on June 03, 2010 at 11:59 PM PDT #

Bill, We look forward to your numbers ;-) Regarding migration from VMware, here are a couple of blogs that may prove useful (one of them is still warm!): - http://blogs.sun.com/fatbloke/entry/moving_a_vmware_vm_to - http://blogs.sun.com/fatbloke/entry/migrating_from_vmware_to_virtualbox Cheers, -FB

Posted by Fat Bloke on June 04, 2010 at 12:03 AM PDT #

i have laptop with windows 7 64 bit. i have installed this software but yet not installed win2000 as guest OS. tell me plz, can i also install oracle 8i and forms 6i on this guest OS?

Posted by Usman on June 29, 2010 at 08:08 PM PDT #

Usman, You can certainly try and will probably work. Note that it may not be a commercially supported configuration though. - FB

Posted by Fat Bloke on June 29, 2010 at 08:13 PM PDT #

It seems we still can't use the VM template with the latest VBOX. How long do we need to wait to get this feature? Vobx is very used and would be useful to benefit from the VM templates. Dani

Posted by Dani C on April 20, 2011 at 01:30 AM PDT #

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