Release: Sun VirtualBox 2.2

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Yesterday Sun released a new minor update of its desktop virtualization product: VirtualBox.

The new build introduces support for the just ratified OVF 1.0 standard.
Additionally, VirtualBox 2.2 introduces new, welcome features like:

  • support for 3D graphics acceleration for Linux and Solaris applications using OpenGL
  • support for Apple Mac OS X codename Snow Leopard
  • support for up to 16GB vRAM per virtual machine
  • support for host-interface networking mode

Anyway there are a couple of other things that make the press announcement quite interesting:

  1. Sun dropped the word xVM from the product name.
    Sun included VirtualBox in its xVM product family immediately after the innotek acquisition in February 2008.
    So far Sun has been very careful about its naming convention so this is unlikely a mistake.
    Maybe the company doesn’t want to promote a virtualization portfolio that seems unable to release, or maybe it’s thinking about some name changes.
  2. Sun started to use the word hypervisor to describe VirtualBox
    It’s not clear if Sun is doing so to change the users perception about its product (now that it’s sold as a valid platform for VDI environments) but for sure VirtualBox is not a type-1 virtual machine monitor (VMM), aka hypervisor.
    It’s a type-2 VMM pretty much like VMware Player/Workstation/Server, Parallels Workstation/Desktop/Server for Mac or Microsoft VirtualPC/Virtual Server. 
    Messing with the technical terminology just confuses the customers which may lose the trust in the vendor, a mistake that Parallels did as well in the past.

Update: VirtualGuru published an interesting insight about the new virtual hardware that this release introduces.
It seems that the compatibility between VirtualBox 2.2 and VMware 5.x (and ESX) is now very high.