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VirtualBox for workstation virtualization

So most of my experience has been with enterprise level virtualization products (VMware ESX, Xen and OracleVM), but recently I found myself in need of some virtualization software for my laptop, so that I could run linux and WinXP on my Vista machine.  So I began my search with VMware where I found their Workstation product to be very robust, but cost $189 per machine, a little more than I wanted to spend (about $189 more than I wanted to spend), so I kept searching, and everywhere I turned there were free products, but of course they didn’t run on Vista or they didn’t run on 64-bit or something or another.  I eventually ran across VirtualBox http://www.virtualbox.org (also known as Sun xVM), which had a 64-bit version (even though it’s listed as AMD64 on thier download site, it works on Intel64 as well).

So installation was very simple and the look and feel is just like any other virtualization console, very intuitve and easy to use.  Building a VM is wizard based or you can do like I did and download a pre-built image (open source operating systems) from http://virtualbox.wordpress.com where a few techies have got together and built numerous open source OS images for use in Virtualbox and they even provide a python installer, so you don’t have to do anything but execute the script and viola.  So I downloaded Cento 5.1 image and after download I had it up and running within 3 minutes, that’s what I call easy.  Obviously the WinXP was a little more involved as I had to install from CD, but it works fine as well.

I’m still getting into the details of Virtualbox, but initial feedback is really good for a free product.  I need to get into using the operating system add-ons to get better performance out of mouse and display, but for 2 hours invested, the result was well worth.

Stay tuned for more on Virtualbox as I continue to use it and find additional features (or issues), I’ll post them here.

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