Softpedia Editor's Review for Oracle VM VirtualBox
A powerful virtualization software
Written by Giorgiana Arghire on November 6th, 2012
Read an in-depth analysis in our professional review for Oracle VM VirtualBox
Whether you are a professional software tester or you simply like to evaluate a large array of apps before choosing the one that best suits your necessities, you probably know that a virtualized environment can save you a lot of trouble: you can install any app without worrying it might mess up your previous settings and you can get rid of it just as easily. And if you want to test the same app on several operating systems, Oracle VM VirtualBox can be quite helpful.
The application comes with an intuitive interface that allows users to add a new virtual machine and choose the OS they prefer (be it Solaris, Windows, Linux, BSD or Mac OS X), as well as the exact version. The next steps include assigning the new virtual machine the amount of RAM and HDD space it will take, as well as the type of storage, dynamic or fixed, it is to occupy on the PC.
In order to launch any virtualized OS, you simply need to press the Start button - once it is running, you can pause, reset or close your virtual machine, or even clone it or create a dedicated desktop shortcut to help you open it whenever you need it.
If you are an expert user, you can also benefit from specialized functions of Oracle VM VirtualBox, such as shared folders, seamless windows, 3D virtualization, multigeneration branched snapshots, remote machine display and modularity.
Oracle VM VirtualBox also features versatile hardware support, so that you can create virtual machines that have up multiple virtual CPUs (regardless of how many cores you have physically on your PC), that recognize USB devices or ones that come with multiscreen resolutions, integrated iSCSI support and PXE network boot.
To wrap it up, it is safe to say that Oracle VM VirtualBox can come in handy to both novices and experts: while the former can get their virtual machines up and running in no time, the latter can customize their virtualized environment to the tiniest details.
Oracle VM VirtualBox description
Here are some key features of "Oracle VM VirtualBox":
· Modularity. Oracle VM VirtualBox has an extremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a client/server design. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once: for example, you can start a virtual machine in a typical virtual machine GUI and then control that machine from the command line, or possibly remotely. Oracle VM VirtualBox also comes with a full Software Development Kit: even though it is Open Source Software, you don't have to hack the source to write a new interface for Oracle VM VirtualBox.
· Virtual machine descriptions in XML. The configuration settings of virtual machines are stored entirely in XML and are independent of the local machines. Virtual machine definitions can therefore easily be ported to other computers.
· Guest Additions for Windows and Linux. Oracle VM VirtualBox has special software that can be installed inside Windows and Linux virtual machines to improve performance and make integration much more seamless. Among the features provided by these Guest Additions are mouse pointer integration and arbitrary screen solutions (e.g. by resizing the guest window).
· Virtual USB Controllers. Oracle VM VirtualBox implements a virtual USB controller and allows you to connect arbitrary USB devices to your virtual machines without having to install device specific drivers on the host.
· Remote Desktop Protocol. Unlike any other virtualization software, Oracle VM VirtualBox fully supports the standard Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). A virtual machine can act as an RDP server, allowing you to "run" the virtual machine remotely on some thin client that merely displays the RDP data.
· USB over RDP. With this unique feature, a virtual machine that acts as an RDP server can still access arbitrary USB devices that are connected on the RDP client. This way, a powerful server machine can virtualize a lot of thin clients that merely need to display RDP data and have USB devices plugged in.
· Shared folders. Like many other virtualization solutions, for easy data exchange between hosts and guests, Oracle VM VirtualBox allows for declaring certain host directories as "shared folders", which can then be accessed from within virtual machines.
What's New in This Release: [ read full changelog ]
· VMM: fixed a Guru Meditation on putting Linux guest CPU online if nested paging is disabled
· VMM: invalidate TLB entries even for non-present pages
· GUI: Multi-screen support: fixed a crash on visual-mode change
· GUI: Multi-screen support: disabled guest-screens should now remain disabled on visualmode change
· GUI: Multi-screen support: handle host/guest screen plugging/unplugging in different
· GUI: Multi-screen support: seamless mode: fixed a bug when empty seamless screens were represented by fullscreen windows
· GUI: VM manager: vertical scroll-bars should be now updated on content/window resize
· GUI: VM settings: fixed crash on machine state-change event
· GUI: don’t show warnings about enabled or disabled mouse integration if the VM was
· restored from a saved state
· Virtio-net: properly announce that the guest has to handle partial TCP checksums
· Storage: Fixed incorrect alignment of VDI images causing disk size changes when using
· Audio: fixed broken ALSA & PulseAudio ...