After releasing a beta beginning this month, Oracle has now announced the general availability of version 4.0 of VirtualBox. Virtualbox is a desktop virtualization solution also known as a type-2 Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM). VirtualBox can be installed on top of Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris and Linux and it can run Windows, Linux and Solaris as guest.
The product was initially developed by innotek, which was acquired by Sun in February 2008, Sun rebranded the product to Sun VM VirtualBox. In April 2009 Sun on its turn was acquired by Oracle, which rebranded the product to Oracle VM VirtualBox.
Version 4.0 is a so called major-release, the main package is now released under GPL, introducing besides bugfixes the following changes:
- Improvements on the GUI, now called the VirtualBox Manager, including VM Preview, orderable VM list and optional attribute panes.
- Support for more than 1.5/2GB guest RAM on 32-bit hosts.
- Shortcut creation ablility to start VM’s without launching VirtualBox Manager
- Scaleable display mode allowing users to accommodate more virtual screens on Linux and Solaris on the same amount of physical screen real-estate.
- New asynchronous I/O model for iSCSI and local storage
- Improvements on running large VMs like Oracle datacenter class products on 32-bit Windows hosts.
- Support for Open Virtualization Formats (OVF) and Open Virtualization Archive (OVA)
- The ability to limit VMs CPU and I/O bandwidth.
- Resizing VDI and VHD images
- New configuration storage model, meaning that all information about a VM is kept within a single folder, providing the ability to transfer suspended VMs and VMs with snapshot.
- The virtual hardware now offers a new chipset (Intel ICH9) supporting PCI Express, Intel High Definition Audio, Hardware offloading for virtual networking.
- Port-forwarding rules, allows running server VMs using NAT networking.
- Extension pack mechanism, providing a way for ecosystem partners to offer value-add functionality. Oracle itself now provides the VM VirtualBox Extension Pack which offers USB 2.0, Remote Display Services and Network booting features.