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VirtualBox 3.2 is released! A Red Letter Day?

Guest Author

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 

Join the discussion

Comments ( 15 )
  • Douwe Pieter van den Bos Wednesday, May 19, 2010
    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
  • Douwe Pieter van den Bos Wednesday, May 19, 2010
    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
  • Fat Bloke Thursday, May 20, 2010
    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
  • Douwe Pieter van den Bos Thursday, May 20, 2010
    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!
  • Justin Kestelyn Thursday, May 20, 2010
    Douwe,
    The Database stack appliance was a successful experiment. You will soon see similar examples for SOA, Application Grid, etc.
  • James Tuesday, May 25, 2010
    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.
  • Paul Wednesday, May 26, 2010
    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
  • Fat Bloke Wednesday, May 26, 2010
    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
  • Barry Gooodsell Wednesday, May 26, 2010
    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?
  • Fat Bloke Thursday, May 27, 2010
    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
  • Bill Fox Friday, June 4, 2010
    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
  • Fat Bloke Friday, June 4, 2010
    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
  • Usman Wednesday, June 30, 2010
    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?
  • Fat Bloke Wednesday, June 30, 2010
    Usman,
    You can certainly try and will probably work.
    Note that it may not be a commercially supported configuration though.
    - FB
  • Dani C Wednesday, April 20, 2011
    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
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