Virtualization With VirtualBox

Virtualization is basically a term used to describe the creation of a computer in software. The main benefits of which are that if you want to try out an operating system or test client server communications you don't have to get multiple computers. You can simply create a few computers virtually, which will act just like the real thing.

There are quite a few virtualization products available, some are free and some cost quite a bit of money. After messing about with quite a few different virtualisation products other the past few weeks I have uncovered a great bit of software called VirtualBox from Sun Microsystems.


After installing VirtualBox it took me only a few minutes to set up a new virtual machine. I decided that I wanted to create a virtual machine with Ubuntu installed on it, so I selected the options that optimise VirtualBox for this system. Note that this doesn't set up a virtual machine with Ubuntu already installed, you have to go and download it yourself! Here is a screenshot of the main interface, which is very easy to understand.

VirtualBox interface

Using virtual machines in the past I have found that to install anything can take a very long time. Installing Ubuntu took not more than 30 minutes, at which point I was presented with the bootup screen.

VirtualBox Ubuntu Boot

Here is another shot of the operating system fully loaded.

VirtualBox Ubuntu Loaded

VirtualBox also supports the creation of snapshots, so if you have a fresh install of an operating system that you want to mess about with (or break) then you can create a snapshot of the virtual machine before you begin. This way, after you trash the system, you can revert back to a snapshot of the system before you started messing about.

The only trouble I had was figuring out how to interface the virtual machine properly with my network, but after reading the documentation this all became very clear.

Overall VirtualBox is a great bit of software, with a detailed and comprehensive manual. I just can't believe that this software is free!


A really interesting green computer technology I found is desktop virtualization. It's where multiple people can use the same computer at the same time each with their own monitor, mouse and keyboard. This saves a lot of electricity and e-waste. A company called Userful recently set a virtualization world record by delivering over 350,000 virtual desktops to schools in Brazil. They have a free 2-user version for home use too. Check it out:
Great blog, keep up the work. I have just started my own blog and I love checking out others to see what can be done.

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