Wednesday, July 30, 2008

VirtualBox – Simple and Sweet Virtualization

I have been experimenting with virtualization since quite sometime now. My interest towards hypervisors or virtualization was sourced from the need to enhance the productivity my development and testing staff, by enabling them to switch between multiple operating systems on the very same box, without having to reboot the entire system.

Although virtualization has been around since many years now, but my search for better and cost-effective hypervisors recently seems to have been complimented with a plethora of them available at zero cost.

VMware is finally giving away its Update 2 for VMware Infrastructure 3.5 along with a lightweight edition of its market leading hypervisor, ESX 3i, for free.

Read more about this new here.

Another competitive product is this segment is VirtualBox; which is a powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

My personal experience with VirtualBox so far has been good. VirtualBox is simple to configure and use. The best part of VirtualBox is that the images are very portable. Additionally, the VirtualBox snapshot technology provides the same basic functionality as the VMware, that is, they can be taken while the virtual machine (VM) is running or offline.

Here is a screenshot of what we achieved with VirtualBox; it depicts three operating systems instances (v.i.z. Windows Vista, Windows 95 and Ubuntu) running in parallel, right on the same box; wherein each of those instances could be distinctly accessed over the network.

(Click on the image to zoom)

The term "cost-effective"
doesn't necessarily always mean "free". Yesterday whilst chatting with Prashant, a friend and technology evangelist, I got introduced to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which is an amazing virtual computing solution that costs nominal. Further research on this topic lead me to an open source Google-code project, namely Scalr.

I’ve not yet had an opportunity to play with Scalr, but with the first look at it, i must say that i am impressed. I am looking forward have my hands on it soon and i would definitely share the experience here. So keep an eye on this blog, for more on virtualization in future.

Thats all for now... Hope you enjoyed reading this article. I’d love to read your feedbacks and details about your virtualization experiences, so please do take a moment and drop in a note.


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