Release: Oracle/Sun VirtualBox 3.0

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Last week Sun released the third generation of its hosted virtual machine monitor (VMM) called VirtualBox, acquired from the German company innotek in February 2008.

Sun put a serious effort on this product, launching two major updates in less than 18 months, plus several minor releases.
Sometimes the company strategy is concerning as it seems to suggest that its hosted VMM can compete with a bare-metal VMM like ESX, XenServer or Hyper-V, or that its product can run a virtual desktop infrastructure. Nonetheless Sun has executed very well on the engineering side of this project.

The new version 3.0 introduces the following new features:

  • support for up to 32 vCPUs (as long as you have an Intel VT or AMD-V powered CPU)
  • support for OpenGL 2.0 on all guest OSes (Windows, Linux and Solaris)
  • experimental support for Direct3D 8 and 9 for Windows guest OSes

For now VirtualBox remains open source and free of charge for Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X. The customers are still wondering if this will continue after Oracle will have completed the Sun acquisition.