Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content.

Should you consider VirtualBox for server virtualization?

On desktops, VirtualBox offers many core virtualization features, such as OS testing and VM creation. Could it function as a hypervisor alternative?

Is VirtualBox a valid hypervisor alternative for server virtualization?

Oracle VM VirtualBox is an x86 virtualization software package originally developed by Sun Microsystems. It offers basic virtualization functions, but also provides remote access and the ability to run an operating system from a USB drive. The latest version, 4.2, brings automatic virtual machine (VM) start and more network resource controls. With that in mind, some people have wondered whether it's feasible to use VirtualBox for server virtualization.

More resources on VirtualBox

Headless servers with VirtualBox

Comparing VMware workstation and VirtualBox

Sander van Vugt: To put it bluntly, VirtualBox is not a good hypervisor alternative. First of all, it needs a host operating system. Other hypervisors can stand on their own, which simplifies installation, configuration and management. If budgetary concerns have you wondering whether VirtualBox could replace another hypervisor, you should know the open source KVM virtualization platform is also free. VirtualBox will not offer as many management features as other hypervisors, and its host-oriented management interface falls short of Web-based management platform capabilities.

Bottom line: VirtualBox offers much in the way of desktop virtualization, but its capabilities fail to meet the standards of hypervisor alternatives.

Do you have a question for our experts? Submit your own! Email the editors at SearchServerVirtualization.com: editor@searchservervirtualization.com.

This was last published in February 2013

Dig Deeper on Virtualization vendor comparisons



Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Have a question for an expert?

Please add a title for your question

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

You will be able to add details on the next page.

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Do you agree that VirtualBox should not be used for server virtualization?
should use a Type I hypervisor for server virtualization/cloud workloads not a type II hypervisor...Remember GSX?
It may perfectly be suited for some, sure it lacks some of the bare-metal features of other hypervisors, but it is not better that what is happening with HyperV, although it can be installed on bare metal, people choose to use it within Win2008R2 installs. In my view, everything goes based on requirements and needs. Debate in NOT to deem some tool "deserving" of being called X or Y, but HOW creative users come around challenges by using it.
Should, could, may? Now we are playing judge? If it suits your needs why not ?
Use a slim linux distro, not much overhead, lots of commands via commandline interface. All about using the product that satisfies the requirements
For less intensive computing needs, VirtualBox can work quite well. When paired with a remote management tool such as PHPVBox, it is remarkably easy to use. I personally manage a VirtualBox system that currently provides 14 guest machines on a single host, a mix of desktop and server-class operating systems. The system is stable, robust, and easy to manage.
Depends on the need. Is this a technical article or a sales advertisement?
VirtualBox doesn't install at kernel level, so a host OS crash leads to a crash of all VMs. This is very bad for a Server virtualization infrastructure.
It's a valuable tool in the process; develop using VirtualBox, then deploy on VMware.
Definitely. Although perhaps better for desktop virtualization than server, we have had excellent results. Simple, fast, effective and powerful features.