Version 5.0 of the open-source virtualization software VirtualBox was released on July 9, 2015. This is the first major release of VirtualBox since 2012, and it contains substantial improvements. This latest release by Oracle, demonstrates its commitment to the software, which was acquired as part the purchase of Sun Microsystems in 2010, and enables organizations and developers to more easily and flexibly create and deploy on premises and cloud applications.
Oracle VirtualBox 5.0 brings in a range of useful changes and improvements that truly justify a whole integer increment. On paper, the list of new features is impressive and useful. Some of it is geared toward home users, some toward server deployments, and all of it toward having a good and powerful virtualization product.
Oracle VirtualBox 5.0 release supports the latest guest or host operating systems including: Mac OS X Yosemite, Windows 10, Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris, other Linux operating systems, and legacy operating systems. New capabilities in Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0:
- Paravirtualization Support for Windows and Linux Guests: Significantly improves guest OS performance by leveraging built-in virtualization support on operating systems such as Oracle Linux 7 and Microsoft Windows 7 and newer. Possibly the biggest change in VirtualBox 5.0 bringing higher performance and time-keeping accuracy to supported guest operating systems (Hyper-V on Windows and KVM on Linux). Support is now included for NDIS6 driver API, which is used by default on Windows starting with Vista. Also, VirtualBox has a new audio backend for better support.
- Improved CPU Utilization: Exposes a broader set of CPU instructions to the guest OS, enabling applications to make use of the latest hardware instruction sets for maximum performance.
- Support of USB 3.0 Devices: Guest operating systems can directly recognize USB 3.0 devices and operate at full 3.0 speeds, via the Extension Pack. The guest OS can be configured to support USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0. Previously, support for even USB 2.0 devices had been a pain point, as devices would operate far slower than expected.
- Bi-Directional Drag and Drop Support for Windows: On all host platforms, Windows, Linux and Oracle Solaris guests now support “drag and drop” of content between the host and the guest. The drag and drop feature transparently allows copying or opening of files, directories, and more. Although previous versions contained some level of support for drag and drop support, bidirectional drag and drop support has been vastly improved.
- Disk Image Encryption: Data can be encrypted on virtual hard disk images transparently during runtime, using the industry standard AES algorithm with up to 256 bit data encryption keys (DEK), with the installation of the VirtualBox Extension Pack. This helps ensure data is secure and encrypted at all times, whether the VM is sitting unused on a developer’s machine or server, or actively in use.
Some further improvements include HiDPI support with an improved interface for HiDPI displays and of course newer instruction set extensions are now available to guest operating systems when using hardware-assisted virtualization (Intel VT-x, AMD-V, or VIA VT) and nested paging. The additional instruction sets include SSE4.1, SSE4.2, and AES-NI, as well as POPCNT, RDRAND, and RDSEED. Support depends on the host processor implementing the necessary instructions on the silicon. Generally speaking, most processors introduced in the last five years support SSE4.2. AES-NI support was added to Intel processors starting with Westmere, and starting with Bulldozer on AMD.
Further GUI improvements:
- VM guest-content scaling support (including 3D acceleration)
- New User Interface settings page for customizing status-bar, menu-bar and guest-content scaling
- New Encryption settings tab for customizing encryption options for disk images
- HiDPI support including application icons and optional unscaled HiDPI output on Mac OS X (including 3D acceleration)
- Hotplugging support for SATA disks
- Improved HID LEDs synchronization for Mac and Windows hosts
- Take the guest screen aspect ratio into account for the preview window
- Provide direct access to storage media in the VM selector
A key tool for developers and users creating cloud and local applications without the overhead of using a full server environment, Oracle VM VirtualBox runs on standard x86 desktop and laptop computers. It allows users to set up multi-platform virtual machine environments for software development, testing, and general purpose operating system (OS) virtualization, with optional runtime encryption. Software engineers can develop for cloud technologies such as Docker and OpenStack from within Oracle VM VirtualBox VMs directly on their Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Oracle Solaris machines, making it easier to create multi-tier applications with just a standard laptop. Oracle VM VirtualBox also enables users to create and update virtual machines locally, including the OS and applications, and then package them into an industry standard file format for easy distribution and cloud deployment in conjunction with Oracle VM Server, or other server virtualization solutions. Oracle VM VirtualBox allows users to run nearly any standard x86 OS to run applications that are not available natively on their systems.
If you need further details, please refer to Official Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0 data sheet, User Manual or head at Oracle VM VirtualBox and www.virtualbox.org.
Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0 is free of charge for personal and evaluation purposes. Download it here. Commercial licenses for Oracle VM VirtualBox can be found here.
Keep tracking updates on virtualbox via https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Changelog