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VirtualBox Upgraded

Sun’s VirtualBox 2.1 hypervisor has quietly passed an important milestone in its maturity. The bridged networking that most VMware folk take for granted in a hypervisor is now built-in. This makes it much easier to put a VM onto the same network as the host. Before, VirtualBox required the use of the VBoxManage command to create a bridged interface for guest provisioning.

Now, it could not be more seamless. In the case of Windows hosts, the new VirtualBox host interface networking driver (bound to the adapter) performs this important function. The prior bridging functionality on Windows hosts implemented a spanning tree algorithm by using the Windows network bridge, so this is a welcome upgrade for network administrators. This feature is long overdue for VirtualBox, as the spanning tree implementation may have put many off at first.

This is big news for the free hypervisor, as fundamental features are the perfect layup for bigger solutions. I recently mentioned how Sun is positioning their VDI 3.0 product for a strong end-to-end presence, and VirtualBox is a big part of the solution. The 2.1 release ushered in other features such as additional 64-bit support and full VMDK and VHD file support, including snapshot features.

I have always liked VirtualBox, for a number of reasons. It's free, the installation footprint is small, and the feature set is in line with the competing products. The networking topic was my biggest issue, and now that is corrected.

It's good news that this feature has landed in VirtualBox, even if it was late to arrive. Let me know your thoughts on VirtualBox if you have used it in any capacity.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 02/17/2009 at 12:47 PM


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