Oracle, in an escalating battle with VMware in its effort to gain more control over virtualized IT systems, on Sept. 13 said it has upgraded its freely downloadable, open-source, cross-platform VM VirtualBox virtualization control package to make it more user-friendly.
In updating its key data center virtualization control platform to v4.2, Oracle has added a feature it calls VM Groups, which are designed to streamline management, improve network capabilities, and provide support for new host and guest operating system platforms.
Due to the ever-increasing number of similar virtual machines now being deployed on a daily--even hourly--basis in many IT systems, maintaining control of them all has become a problem that continues to spiral up. Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2 enables administrators or users to operate on any number of VMs all at once, through a graphical user interface, APIs and command line tools.
"Groups allow you to organize your VM library in a sensible way, e.g., by platform type, by project, by version, by whatever," an Oracle Virtual Box engineer wrote in his blog.
VMs that don't need user interaction can now be started within Oracle VM VirtualBox the same way as standard VMs. Virtual machines of all types can be set to start automatically after the host system is booted, allowing virtual machines to be managed similarly to other host services.
There are also a few networking improvements in VirtualBox 4.2. Oracle described them as such:
- With an increase in the maximum number of network cards per VM from eight to 36, Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2 can be used to simulate complex networks without the need to procure costly hardware.
- New network bandwidth controls have been added, and are designed to prevent any VM from taking more than its allocated share of network traffic.
- The virtual network card in Oracle VM VirtualBox now supports VLAN tagging, allowing VMs to participate in VLAN environments.
Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2 also adds support for Windows 8, Mac OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion," and Oracle Linux 6.3.
"VirtualBox 4.2 is the only free, open-source virtualization software that supports Windows, Mac, Linux and Oracle Solaris platforms, users can install Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2 on their preferred host platform and run a huge variety of guest operating systems in virtual machines," said Wim Coekaerts, Oracle senior vice president of Linux and Virtualization Engineering.
You can download Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2 free of charge here.