Virtualization Technology News and Information
Another Open-Source Virtualization Solution Arrives

InnoTek VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use. With its large feature set and small footprint, VirtualBox has long outgrown its initial purpose of a specialized virtualization solution. As a result, the company is now making VirtualBox generally available as a standalone solution for enterprises of any size -- as  well as developers who have so far been unable to find a professional, yet flexible and open virtualizer. 

In addition, they have now opened, which -- among others -- hosts the VirtualBox Open Source Edition (OSE) with complete source code. This makes VirtualBox the only professional solution for full virtualization that is also open source.

"In any case, if you require enterprise software support, InnoTek will live up to its battle-tested repu­tation for delivering high-quality software at very competi­tive prices. We make no exception for VirtualBox: Our highly stream­lined software development pro­cess allows us to be faster and more responsive to customer de­mands than traditional infrastruc­ture software providers – meaning higher development productivity that translates into high respon­siveness to customer demands. For services beyond product use and defect support, InnoTek maintains relationships with skilled business partners which can assist you with planning and implementing a VirtualBox based solution."

Full virtualization, professional quality

VirtualBox has all the features you have come to expect from a professional full virtualization product. VirtualBox is therefore optimally suited for all the standard scenarios in which virtualization has proven to be useful:

  • Server consolidation. Since the full performance of today's servers is rarely needed full-time and servers typically run only at a fraction of their maximum performance, you can save a lot of hardware costs by packing your servers as virtual machines onto a few powerful hosts and balance the loads between them.
  • Desktop consolidation. With VirtualBox, you can also streamline the desktops of your enterprise. Transfer the operating systems and software of your desktops into virtual machines and let the desktops run the virtual machines remotely, simply by use of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) which is directly builtin to VirtualBox. With VirtualBox, you can even plug USB devices into the desktop, and the remote virtual machine can operate them as if they were local to the server.
  • Testing and disaster recovery. With VirtualBox's snapshots, you can experiment freely with any computing environment without worrying that something may go wrong. By running a system in a virtual machine and saving its state as a snapshot, if the system does become inoperable, simply switch back to the snapshot and avoid the need of frequent backups and restores.
  • Operating system support. Run Windows software on Linux, or vice versa, without having to reboot. VirtualBox runs on Windows machines as well as all major Linux distributions. In virtual machines, Windows, Linux, OpenBSD and many others are supported as guest operating systems, with optimized drivers for Windows and Linux to make integration seamless. Windows Vista is fully supported both as a host and as a guest.

Targeted at the enterprise, but open

What makes VirtualBox truly stand apart from the competition is its clean client/server design, lucid architecture, and high security.

  • Flexibility. VirtualBox was designed for the enterprise from the beginning. While VirtualBox does have a standard graphical user interface to control and display virtual machines, it can be operated entirely from the command line as well. In addition, it has front-ends for specific purposes, such as a full-screen-only interface without the  baggage of point-and-click graphics, as well as an RDP-only server for enterprise consolidation.
  • Programmability and openness. VirtualBox has long had its internal interfaces neatly exposed for full programmability. For that, InnoTek has developed a unique solution that can use COM on Windows and XPCOM on Linux -- all from the same source code. On top of that, with VirtualBox now being Open Source Software, the source code of nearly all components can be inspected and extended.
  • Customization. Should you need a specific feature that is not yet part of VirtualBox, InnoTek will live up to its long history of adapting to customer requests. We can easily and efficiently adapt the product to meet your specific needs. And with the Open Source Edition, you can now even look at the source code as well. 
  • Cross-platform support. With its clean internal architecture, VirtualBox can be easily ported to new target platforms. Currently ports to Mac OS X and 64-bit support are being worked on.
  • Security. Designed for high-security scenarios, VirtualBox has been in use by military organizations for years to isolate virtual machines from each other and from their host systems. Even a special version for embedded μ-kernel systems is available.

Ideal foundation for integrated solutions

Thanks to its modular design and openness, VirtualBox is the best suited platform for ISVs and companies wishing to integrate and build upon virtualization. Other professional products limit you in many ways and you have to rely on their behavior and interfaces. VirtualBox gives you complete freedom and a dedicated company behind the technology that is willing to assist you to customize and extend VirtualBox to suit your needs.  

More details? 

For very detailed information about VirtualBox, do visit, which has screenshots, user and developer documentation, as well as download links.

Published Monday, January 15, 2007 1:12 PM by David Marshall
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