Sun Microsystems opens VirtualBox 3.0 beta program

The latest beta version of the VirtualBox virtualization platform includes virtual SMP and graphics enhancements.

If there are any questions as to what Oracle has in store for Sun's VirtualBox virtualization platform, that hasn't stopped Sun's development team from moving forward with a major new release of the product.

With the latest news coming out about Oracle's "plans" for Virtual Iron's future (or lack thereof), one has to wonder what Oracle has in mind for Sun Microsystems' virtualization portfolio.  There are so many unknowns right now when it comes to Oracle's virtualization strategy.  The company already developed its own Xen-based solution, Oracle Enterprise VM.  And they also announced the acquisition of Virtual Iron and that company's Xen-based virtualization platform.  So then the big question is, of course, what will Oracle do with Sun's xVM Server, Solaris Containers, and VirtualBox virtualization solutions?

[ Also in InfoWorld's Virtualization Report: Read about the official release version of Sun's VirtualBox 2.2 added OVF support and the showdown between VMware Workstation and Sun VirtualBox ]

We're seeing now that the company probably isn't interested in a whole lot of overlap offerings.  So which products will make the grade?  We'll have to see.  In the meantime, developers of the hosted virtualization solution called VirtualBox are ready to move forward with a 3.0 beta version offering the following new features and updates:

  • The most significant change is the support for multiple processors.  Guest SMP with up to 32 virtual CPUs has been added (with VT-x and AMD-V support only).
  • Experimental support has been added for Direct3D 8 and 9 graphics for games and applications on Windows guests.
  • Graphics support has been added for OpenGL 2.0 on Windows, Linux, and Solaris guests.
  • New performance improvements for certain PAE guests (e.g. Linux 2.6.29+ kernels) have been added.
  • Additional support has been added for Windows 7 RDP client.
  • Support for high-speed isochronous endpoints has been added. Read-ahead buffering is performed for input endpoints (currently Linux hosts only) which should allow additional devices to work, most notably webcams.

You can read the VirtualBox beta User Guide for more information.  And you can now join the beta program to download VirtualBox 3.0 beta 1.

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