Sun Brings 'Teleportation' to VirtualBox Virtualization Software

Version 3.1 of Sun's VirtualBox enables users to move running virtual machines between disparate physical hosts, including systems running different operating systems or different processors, such as Intel and AMD chips. In addition, the VMs can be moved between servers and clients. The announcement is the latest virtualization-focused news coming from Sun in November.

Sun Microsystems is continuing to push its virtualization capabilities, this time with a new version of its VirtualBox software that lets users move running virtual machines between a variety of different host systems.

VirtualBox 3.1, introduced Nov. 30, offers what Sun officials call "teleportation" capabilities. The software enables businesses to move a running VM between hosts that are running different operating systems, are different classes of computers-including moving from a server to a client-and running different processors, such as chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

The VMs can be moved uninterrupted when a physical host needs to be brought down.

In addition, VirtualBox 3.1 offers enhanced execution speed-including a 30 percent improvement in memory handling over the previous version of VirtualBox-upgraded network performance that offers better throughput and reduced CPU cycles through a new high-speed, paravirtualized network driver, and a new two-dimensional video acceleration feature for Windows VMs. It also includes better snapshotting features, according to Sun officials.

The teleporting capabilities are particularly important, given the growing demand for always-available, always-running computer service, according to Jim McHugh, vice president of data center software marketing at Sun.

"The ability to teleport running virtual machines from one computer to another allows system administrators to perform essential maintenance with zero downtime of their IT systems," McHugh said in a statement. "As a cross-platform hypervisor, VirtualBox allows customers to easily evaluate and deploy virtualized systems, using their existing x86 hardware, operating systems and skill sets."

VirtualBox can be downloaded for free here.

Oracle is attempting to buy Sun for $7.4 billion. The deal is being bogged down by concerns from European regulators around MySQL.

In recent weeks, Sun has added to its virtualization offerings. On Nov. 23, Sun teamed up with Ashbourne Technology Group on a cloud-based desktop-as-a-service offering. Two weeks earlier, Sun launched its Sun Ray Software 5, aimed at the virtualized desktop environment.