VirtualBox 3.0: An easy way to mix and match operating systems
If you want to tinker with multiple operating systems, VirtualBox 3.0 is fast and easy to use.
Computerworld - Whether you prefer Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X, you can probably get almost everything you need done with your chosen OS. However, sometimes a task demands an OS that you are not currently using. That's where virtualization programs like Sun Microsystem's VirtualBox 3.0 come in.
What is it? VirtualBox is an open-source virtualization program which lets you run guest operating systems with your native desktop operating system. For instance, if you need Windows to run Quicken, but prefer Linux for all your other work, VirtualBox enables you to bring up Windows and Quicken without leaving your Linux desktop.
What you get is an adjustable window containing the guest operating system floating on the host system. So, for example, you could have a Windows XP guest instance entirely hiding its Linux host system.
There are currently two editions: a full package that is free for personal use (enterprises should contact Sun directly); and the Open Source Edition (OSE), which lacks a few features such as USB support and an easy installer, but comes with complete source code. Both are free.
What does it do? VirtualBox runs on four host operating systems: Windows (through Windows 7), Mac OS X, Linux and OpenSolaris. It can handle a lot more guest operating systems.
VirtualBox itself installs as a standard application in its host operating system. To install a guest operating system, you simply press the "New" icon and follow the wizard's instructions to install the VM (Virtual Machine). You then click the Start button to install your guest operating system on your new VM.
One nice feature is that, besides using the usual CD/DVDs or USB flash drives to install the guest system, you can also use ISO image files on your PC .
I installed VirtualBox 3.0 on three different systems running three different platforms: SimplyMEPIS 8.0, a Debian Linux distribution; Windows XP SP3; and Windows 7 Release Candidate 1. In every case, it installed without a hitch within five minutes.
Once it was in place, I used VirtualBox on MEPIS to run an instance of XP within Linux. I also ran Ubuntu 9.04 within XP and, to try something really out of the ordinary, OpenSolaris 2009.6 within Windows 7. All of these "guest operating systems" ran great using VirtualBox.
What's cool about it? With VirtualBox you can mix and match operating systems depending on your needs. It also gives you an easy way to test out operating systems before deploying them.
Other virtualization programs can let you do that as well, but, in my experience (which goes all the way back to IBM's mainframe virtualization applications) VirtualBox is the easiest to use. Other VM software makes you jump through a variety of hoops to run your guest operating system. VirtualBox makes your guest operating system look and act more like it's simply another application on your desktop.
- Review: 3 personal HD video cameras offer high def at low cost
- Review: Office 2010 Technical Preview -- no 'wow,' just solid improvements
- Hands on: Posterous simplifies posting to multiple online services
- VirtualBox 3.0: An easy way to mix and match operating systems
- Hands on: Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro packs a punch
- Accelerating the Delivery Microsoft Office 365 Many organizations use Office 365's cloud-based mail, collaboration and communication services as the dominant workload. However, as services move to the cloud, data...
- Four Little-Known Ways WAN Optimization Can Benefit Your Organization Read this white paper to learn how far WAN optimization has come, and how to make this most of your investments by using...
- 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant Report For the 7th year in a row, Riverbed is in the "Leaders" Quadrant of the 2014 Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization Controllers. In...
- Secure, Intelligent WAN Op for Exchange Server 2013 Improve productivity and reduce WAN impact & costs allowing you to consolidate exchange servers. Test results show that Riverbed Steelhead appliances accelerate email...
- Live Webcast How to serve up a Grand Slam with a scalable IT Infrastructure for cloud, big data and advanced analytics Register today to attend this webcast, and see examples of how The U.S. Tennis Association, Wimbledon and U.S. Golf Association are using the...
- Live Webcast Security Vulnerabilities Associated With Having Local Administrator Privileges Viewfinity will demonstrate how removing admin rights and granularly managing privileges at the application level reduces the attack surface.
- Live Webcast IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope... All Topic Center White Papers | Webcasts