Oracle Delivers Radically Overhauled New Version of VirtualBox

by Sam Dean - Jul. 20, 2011Comments (0)

It's interesting to watch which components of Sun Microsystems' portfolio of products--many of them open source projects--Oracle has chosen to embrace or jettison since its acquisition of Sun. Of course, it was clear early on that the Sun acquisition would throw OpenOffice into jeapordy, and sure enough Oracle handed OpenOffice off to the Apache Software Foundation. But it hasn't jettisoned VirtualBox, which it inherited from Sun, and now VirtualBox is even available in a new version 4.1. The open source hypervisor for desktop computers and servers runs on Windows, Linux, Solaris, and x64-based Mac OS systems.

Oracle's interest in VirtualBox is likely firmly targeted at servers. Servers running advanced 64-bit processors and VirtualBox can address more than a terabyte of memory, and virtual machines running off the server can be allocated virtual memory up to a terabyte as well. What does all that mean? It means that VirtualBox can facilitate heterogenous environments at the server level that allow for use of multiple operating systems and many virtualized users without substantial performance headaches.

Virtualization has been on the rise for years, and is a big topic in data centers and server rooms. Open source virtualization is also a huge trend, as we covered here, upon the formation of the Open Source Virtualization Alliance. 

The Register provides some good insight into what Oracle is claiming regarding the new version of VirtualBox:

"Oracle says that on a large x64 box with 1TB of physical memory, it can now support 'over a thousand VMs on a single host.' This will be particularly useful for Oracle's aspirations in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), since Solaris and Oracle's Red Hat clone, Oracle Linux, and VirtualBox are at the heart of Oracle's latest VDI Version 3.3 stack, announced two weeks ago. (VirtualBox was the hypervisor layer for the virtual PC images managed and served by the VDI stack from the beginning.)"

VirtualBox 4.1 can now also purportedly clone virtual machines from "existing guests or from snapshots of those guests," according to The Register. Oracle has said that there have been close to 50 million downloads over VirtualBox's lifetime, which makes it a force to contend with among hypervisors.

Between Oracle's plans, VMware's, Red Hat's, Citrix's, the Open Source Virtualization Alliance's,  and plans from other players, virtualization is becoming an ever more fragmented technology space.

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