I have used Microsoft Virtual PC and VMware on software development projects but a recent project requirement was to use VirtualBox. Having used it now for the past couple of months, it is becoming my PC virtualization tool of choice in terms of features and price.

As an introdution, the below is from the VirtualBox site.
“VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). See “About VirtualBox” for an introduction.

Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD.”

Some of the recent features in version 3.1

  • VM states can now be restored from arbitrary snapshots
  • Live Migration of a VM session from one host to another (Teleportation)
  • 2D video acceleration for Windows guests
  • CD/DVD drives can be attached to arbitrary storage controllers
  • More than one CD/DVD drive per guest VM
  • The network attachment type can be changed while a VM is running
  • Performance improvements for PAE and AMD64 guests when using non-nested paging (VT-x and AMD-V only)
  • Experimental support for EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface)
  • Support for paravirtualized network adapters (virtio-net)

The only thing I’m missing so far is dragging and dropping files¬†between the host and guest but that seems to be in the works. Using the shared folders feature in VirtualBox works fine for that purpose.

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