Sun VirtualBox Virtualization Ready for Data Center

Sun's VirtualBox virtualization platform, which until now could only run on a single x86 CPU and was good only for desktop applications, can now create and support up to 32 virtual CPUs in a single virtual machine, making it capable of handling server workloads like databases, and putting it in closer competition with virtualization technology from VMware, Citrix and Microsoft. In addition, Sun has improved the graphics capabilities in VirtualBox for desktop applications.

Sun Microsystems' VirtualBox virtualization platform is now ready for the data center.

VirtualBox 3.0, released by Sun June 30, can now run multiprocessor virtual machines for high-end workloads, according to company officials. Where the product in the past could only run on a single x86 processor, the new version can host up to 32 virtual CPUs in a single virtual machine, enough to accommodate such server-based workloads as databases and Web applications.

VirtualBox, which takes advantage of virtualization technology in x86 processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, can now work in the data center as well as the desktop.

"The rapid evolution and proliferation of VirtualBox software continues," Jim McHugh, vice president of marketing for data center software at Sun, said in a statement. "With each new version, VirtualBox software delivers more innovation, performance and power. And as virtualization continues to gain momentum in the market, the world's developers and IT decision makers are turning to VirtualBox en masse."

The new capabilities bring Sun's virtualization platform into the realm of those from VMware, Citrix Systems and Microsoft.

Sun, which gained the VirtualBox technology through its 2008 acquisition of Innotek, has rapidly ramped the platform's capabilities, rolling out beta versions less than a month ago.

Along with the new server capabilities, Sun engineers have enhanced the platform's desktop features, including improved graphics through added Microsoft Direct3D support for Windows guests. In addition, VirtualBox 3.0 supports Version 2.0 of the OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) standard, enabling high-performance Windows, Linux, Solaris and OpenSolaris graphical apps to run software that normally would need graphical hardware acceleration.

VirtualBox 3.0 also supports a wider range of USB devices, including storage devices, Apple iPods and cell phones.