Sun Launches VirtualBox 2.2 Virtualization Software

Sun is adding support for the Open Virtualization Format standard to its VirtualBox virtualization software. With the OVF standard incorporated into VirtualBox 2.2, users can not only build virtual machines, but also export them from a development situation and import them into a production environment. Sun also is adding greater hypervisor optimization, 3D graphics acceleration for Linux and Solaris applications, and support for Apple's upcoming 64-bit Snow Leopard platform.

Sun Microsystems is putting support for the new Open Virtualization Format into its VirtualBox 2.2 virtualization software.

Sun announced the availability of VirtualBox 2.2 April 8, less than a month after unveiling the beta of its virtualization offering.

Incorporating support for the Open Virtualization Format, or OVF, was important, according to Sun officials. The standard is part of the DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force) initiative. The OVF enables virtual machines or appliances-essentially preinstalled and preconfigured virtual machines-to be imported and exported.

Due to the combination of the standard with VirtualBox 2.2, users can build virtual machines and then export them from a test and development situation and import them into a production environment, Sun officials said. It also increases the interoperability between VirtualBox 2.2 software and any other technologies that support the OVF standard.

"VirtualBox has always been a fantastic tool for developers to [use to] create multiple virtual machines, network them together and deploy them using nearly any operating system," Jim McHugh, vice president of data center software marketing at Sun, said in a statement. "Now, with the new import and export features of the VirtualBox 2.2 release, users can quickly and easily put their development environments into production, on the desktop, the server or even in the cloud."

Other new features of VirtualBox 2.2 include ramping up the speed of the software through hypervisor optimizations, and three-dimensional graphics acceleration for Linux and Solaris applications using the OpenGL standard, which enables use of a new class of applications that can be run in a virtual machine.

There also is support for Apple's upcoming 64-bit Snow Leopard platform, an increase in maximum memory size of guests to 16GB and a new host-interface networking mode, which makes it easier for users to run server applications in virtual machines, Sun officials said.

Sun touted the growth of the use of VirtualBox, which has had more than 11 million downloads worldwide since October 2007. During that time, there also were 3.5 million registrations, Sun said.

The VirtualBox software is free for personal use, although for wider enterprise deployments subscriptions start at $30 per user per year.

To download VirtualBox, go here.