VirtualBox 3.2 is released!

Big news ! A new release of VirtualBox packed full of innovation and improvements.Let’s whet your appetite with the headline descriptions of its new features.

To start with, we should point out that this is the first Oracle-branded version.

Version 3.2 moves VirtualBox forward in 3 main areas ( handily, all beginning with “P” ) :

performance, power and supported guest operating system platforms.

Let’s take a look:

  • Latest Intel hardware support – Harnessing the latest in chip-level support for virtualization, VirtualBox 3.2 supports new Intel Core i5 and i7 processor and Intel Xeon processor 5600 Series support for Unrestricted Guest Execution bringing faster boot times for everything from Windows to Solaris guests

  • Large Page support –
    Reducing the size and overhead of key system resources, Large Page support delivers increased performance by enabling faster lookups and shorter table creation times

  • In-hypervisor Networking – Significant optimization of the networking subsystem has reduced context switching between guests and host, increasing network throughput by up to 25%.

  • New Storage I/O subsystem – VirtualBox 3.2 offers a completely re-worked virtual disk subsystem which utilizes asynchronous I/O to achieve high-performance whilst maintaining high data integrity;

  • Remote Video Acceleration – The unique built-in VirtualBox Remote Display Protocol (VRDP), which is primarily used in virtual desktop infrastructure deployments, has been enhanced to deliver video acceleration. This delivers a rich user experience coupled with reduced computational expense, which is vital when servers are running hundreds of virtual machines;

  • Page Fusion – Traditional Page Sharing techniques have suffered from long and expensive cache construction as pages are scrutinized as candidates for de-duplication. Taking a smarter approach, VirtualBox Page Fusion uses intelligence in the guest virtual machine to determine much more rapidly and accurately those pages which can be eliminated thereby increasing the capacity or vm density of the system;

  • Memory Ballooning- Ballooning provides another method to increase vm density by allowing the memory of one guest to be recouped and made available to others

  • Multiple Virtual Monitors – VirtualBox 3.2 now supports multi-headed virtual machines with up to 8 virtual monitors attached to a guest. Each virtual monitor can be a host window, or be mapped to the hosts physical monitors

    Multiple Virtual Monitors

  • Hot-plug CPU’s – Modern operating systems such Windows Server 2008 x64 Data Center Edition or the latest Linux server platforms allow CPUs to be dynamically inserted into a system to provide incremental computing power while the system is running. Version 3.2 introduces support for Hot-plug vCPUs, allowing VirtualBox virtual machines to be given more power, with zero-downtime of the guest;

  • Virtual SAS Controller – VirtualBox 3.2 now offers a virtual SAS controller, enabling it to run the most demanding of high-end guests;

  • Online Snapshot Merging – Snapshots are powerful but can eat up disk space and need to be pruned from time to time. Historically, machines have needed to be turned off to delete or merge snapshots but with VirtualBox 3.2 this operation can be done whilst the machines are running. This allows sophisticated system management with minimal interruption of operations;

  • OVF Enhancements – VirtualBox has supported the OVF standard for virtual machine portability for some time. Now with 3.2, VirtualBox specific configuration data is also stored in the standard allowing richer virtual machine definitions without compromising portability;

  • Guest Automation – The Guest Automation APIs allow host-based logic to drive operations in the guest

  • USB Keyboard and Mouse – Support more guests that require USB input devices

  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.5 – Support for the latest version of Oracle’s flagship Linux platform

  • Ubuntu 10.04 (“Lucid Lynx”) – Support for both the desktop and server version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution;

    And last but not least, “just one more thing” …

  • Mac OS X Server (experimental) – On Apple hardware only, support for creating virtual machines run Mac
    OS X Server.

All in all this is a pretty powerful release packed full of innovation and speedups.

So what are you waiting for?

Try it out!