Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Virtualization in a box

I’ve been using virtualization for many years now, mainly for testing, but for compatibility reasons either. MS VirtualPC was the most convenient for me for Windows clients, but I discovered Sun xVM VirtualBox recently. It is as powerful as clean, it’s easy to set up and to use.

imageSome of the supported features are:
- HW virtualization;
- shared folders;
- Seamless Mode;
- 3D acceleration … and many more.

At installation it configures a virtual network for the clients, with 1 or more virtual cards, DHCP server and everything. Clients communicate with the LAN or the internet through this tunnel.


But the funniest and coolest feature is called the Seamless Mode. If you install Guest Additions on the guest system, you get some bonus features, including mouse movement integration with the host … and the possibility of Seamless Mode. Turning it on your guest system will break out of its prison; the desktop background will disappear, only the taskbar(s) and the program windows will exist on the host’s desktop. It’s just unbelievable :-).


I think a similar solution will be Microsoft’s Virtual XP Mode in Windows 7, with a little more integration (including even the Start menu), but Seamless Mode works between Windows and Linux systems as well.

Another great thing is, that you can find completely prepared, ready-to-run .vdi images on the net, and try new operating systems with just a few clicks. You have to pay for some of them, but a great amount of the library is free, so you can start experimenting.

You can find the software on the project’s webpage:
http://virtualbox.org/ .

You can download .vdi images from here:
http://virtualboximages.com/ .

In the near future I’ll show you some interesting OS’s I’ve tried.

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