Q

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.

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This was first published in February 2013

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