Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 Now Available

Oracle VM 4.0

Delivering on Oracle’s commitment to open source, Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 is now available, further enhancing the popular, open source, cross-platform virtualization software.

“Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 is the third major product release in just over a year, and adds to the many new product releases across the Oracle Virtualization product line, illustrating the investment and importance that Oracle places on providing a comprehensive desktop to datacenter virtualization solution,” says Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president, Linux and Virtualization Engineering, Oracle. “With an improved user interface and added virtual hardware support, customers will find Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 provides a richer user experience.”

Part of Oracle’s comprehensive portfolio of virtualization solutions, Oracle VM VirtualBox enables desktop or laptop computers to run multiple guest operating systems simultaneously, allowing users to get the most flexibility and utilization out of their PCs, and supports a variety of host operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, most popular flavors of Linux (including Oracle Linux), and Oracle Solaris. Supporting an extensive range of host and guest operating systems, the popularity of Oracle VM VirtualBox is evidenced by its more than 26 million downloads.

Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 delivers increased capacity and throughput to handle greater workloads, enhanced virtual appliance capabilities, and significant usability improvements. Support for the latest in virtual hardware, including chipsets supporting PCI Express, further extends the value delivered to customers, partners, and developers.

Highlights of Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0 include:

Enhanced Usability

  • A major revamp of the VirtualBox Manager with features such as VM Preview, an orderable VM list, and optional attribute panes, allows admins or power users to customize the interface to make it as simple or as comprehensive as they require.
  • Easy shortcut creation enables users to launch vm’s from their Desktop, Start Menu, or from scripts, without the need to start the VirtualBox Manager.
  • The new scaleable display mode allows users to accommodate more virtual displays on the same amount of physical screen real-estate.

Increased Capacity and Throughput

  • New Asynchronous I/O model for networked (iSCSI) and local storage delivers significant storage related performance improvements, especially over 1GB LANs.
  • Improved ability to run larger vms on smaller 32-bit hosts. This enables large vms, for example, Oracle datacenter-class products, to run on desktop systems such as 32-bit Windows hosts

Powerful Virtual Appliance Sharing Capabilities

  • Strongest support for the Open Virtualization Formats in industry. This release strengthens Oracle’s commitment to standards, with the adoption of ovf and now ova format appliances
  • Version 4.0 also provides easier direct sharing of vms too, with a new configuration storage model. This new configuration storage model holds all information about a virtual machine, such as virtual hardware, virtual disk files, snapshots and saved state files into a single folder.
    vm's in a folder
  • This means that, for the first time, suspended vm’s and vm’s with snapshots can be transferred.

Support for Latest Virtual Hardware

  • By offering a new, modern chipset supporting PCI Express, VirtualBox can support the most demanding of virtual workloads.
  • High Definition Audio devices deliver fantastic sound quality for both output and input (microphones) devices.
  • Hardware offloading for virtual networking increases throughput via virtual NICs.
  • Powerful port-forwarding rules allow the user to run server vms on their desktop device using NAT networking. This means that user can run, say an Apache web server in a vm and connect to it via a host port.
    Port Forwarding
    Port Forwarding

Open Source Packaging and Licencing

  • Fully Open Source base product. No longer will there be any confusion about separate editions of VirtualBox. For the first time there is an OSS licensed binary meaning partners do not need to build and maintain their own source tress. This lowers a barrier and is expected to spark increased interest in VirtualBox virtualization solutions.
  • Flexible Extension Pack mechanism for add-on functions. By delivering a pluggable Extension model in the style of Firefox Extensions, Oracle are providing a way for ecosystem partners to offer value-add functionality in an elegant and powerful way.
  • The first Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack will offer high-speed USB 2.0, Remote Display Services and Network booting features. This will be licensed under the same free for Personal Use and Evaluation License as previous versions.

There is much, much more going on under the hood too, such as API changes and the introduction of an event driven model for API users, that you can find out at the official Oracle VM Virtualbox page. Suffice to say, this is a really improved version and we hope that 4.0 will boost Virtualbox further. Download here and let us know what you think…