I believe 2010 is going to be a year of virtualization and cloud computing. To read more about free cloud computing alternative please read my articles about JoliCloud and Icloud. There are lots of free Desktop Virtualization alternatives available online, but none of them can come near Virtual Box for a free desktop virtualization tool. Virtual Box is special because it is the only alternative which gives all the standard enterprise features to home users for free!
Virtual Box is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Virtual Box is developed and maintain by Sun Microsystems as part of its Sun xVM virtualization platform. VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, OpenSolaris and Ubuntu. It supports a large number of guest operating Systems including but not limited to Windows (NT, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), Open BSD, Open Solaris, Fedora etc.
Virtual Box supports both Intel’s Hardware virtualization VT-x and AMD’s AMD-v. By default VirtualBox provides graphics support through as custom virtual graphics card. With Guest Additions for Windows, Linux, Solaris comes with a special video drive which allows better performance and share folders, cursor with windows.
Some of the popular features of Virtual Box are:
- Guest Additions for Windows, Linux and Solaris.
- Shared Folders: you can exchange the data between host and guest OS.
- The configuration settings for virtual box are stored in XML so they are independent of local machines and easily ported to other computers.
- Supports Remote desktop protocol
- Can connect USB devices to your virtual machines without installing device specific drivers.
- ISO images can be mounted as CD/DVD drives. So no need to burn the disk.
- 64 bit guest OS support
- Snapshots support
- Special drivers and utilities to facilitate switching b/n systems
- 3D virtualization support
- Remote display
- NCQ support for SATA disk and partitions.