Feeds

Sun kicks out VirtualBox 3.0 beta

Virtual SMP and graphics boost

Boost IT visibility and business value

Just after Oracle closes its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in about a month's time, one of the things it's going to have to sort out is a hodgepodge of virtualization products that Oracle and Sun have amassed. But in the meantime, Sun's VirtualBox development team is still at it, rolling out the first beta of VirtualBox 3.0.

According to the announcement made by Frank Mehnert, who heads up the VirtualBox product at Sun and who used to get his paycheck from Innotek before Sun acquired the small German software development company in February 2008, VirtualBox 3.0 will be "a major update."

The most significant change in VirtualBox 3.0 is support for multiple processors within guest virtual machine partitions riding atop of the VirtualBox hypervisor. The 3.0 release will, according to Mehnert, support guest partitions that span as many as 32 virtual processors on x64 processors. (A virtual processor in the VirtualBox lingo is one core, no matter how many threads it has it it supports simultaneous multithreading). The virtual SMP support for VirtualBox partitions coming in the 3.0 release will require VT-x features on Intel's Core and Xeon processors and AMD-V features on Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon and Opteron processors.

VirtualBox 3.0 also has experimental support for Direct3D 8 and 9 graphics support for applications and is particularly useful for games. If the phrases "experimental support" in a "beta program" are not a strong enough caution to you, Mehnert reminds everyone in the announcement that the beta release "should be considered a bleeding-edge release meant for early evaluation and testing purposes."

So by all means try this at home, but maybe not at the office where you are trying to get work done (presumably). VirtualBox 3.0 will support OpenGL 2.0 graphics for Windows, Linux, and Solaris guests as well. (The host OS and machinery has to support OpenGL 2.0 graphics for the guests to be able to use it). The updated VirtualBox also includes a bunch of bug fixes, which are detailed in the release notes. You can download the binaries of VirtualBox 3.0 beta 1 here.

The latest production-grade version of VirtualBox is 2.2.4, which was release on May 29. This was a maintenance release fixing bugs, not adding features. The last major release of VirtualBox was 2.2.0, which was delivered in early April as all of the IBM-Sun-Oracle shenanigans were going on. That release supported Windows 7 and Mac OS X "Snow Leopard" guests as well as expanding memory for VMs to 16 GB (up from 3.5 GB).

The 2.2 release also added Open Virtualization Format (OVF) to the VM formats already enabled in VirtualBox, which include VMware's VMDK and Microsoft's VHD virtual machine disk formats along with VirtualBox's own VDI native format. Sun has promised that live partition migration would be coming in a future release this year, but it is not clear if that will be with VirtualBox 3.0.

The big question, of course, is what Oracle will do with its Oracle Enterprise VM and Virtual Iron hypervisors and tools as well as Sun's xVM Server (based on Xen) as well as VirtualBox on x64 iron as well as LDoms and Solaris containers on Sparc iron. With Red Hat's KVM coming on strong, there may be another one that Oracle has to add to the list, which also includes both Oracle and Sun support for XenServer and ESX Server. There's a lot of overlap in there, and it is hard to believe that everything will make the cut. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts
Samba implementation? Time to get some devs on the job
Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes
Linux Foundation lights a fire under storage devs with new conference
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Gamma's not a goner! UK ISP sorts out major outage
Says BT is the root of the problem
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.