Skip to content

Sun buying VirtualBox – Desktop Virtualization and Virtual Labs

I will admit, I don’t know much about what innotek’s (probably not these guys) VirtualBox does, but Sun just acquired them.

As the press release says, they’re buying it to fortify their Sun openxVM brand by getting a “virtual lab” component. As always, a blog post – here, Sun’s Steve Wilson’s – is the best “press release” on this account:

Where xVM Server is competitive with something like VMware ESX Server, VirtualBox is more like VMware Workstation/Fusion or Parallels Desktop. Except of course, that VirtualBox supports more host platforms than any of these products, and is open source and free!

Also, see Sun AR’s post on the topic.

Sun is a believer in customers digging (and buying) it’s entire stack, from metal, to middleware, to UI. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but something like VirtualBox seems like developer tooling. Indeed, much of the early success of virtualization as we know it today came from developers needing to run many different machines on one box. That is, instead of having a physical lab for all of their testing and development, they had “virtual labs.”

As someone who used to hoard old boxes under my desk for DIY labs – the companies I worked for where always shockingly cheap and tedious to deal with when it came to getting equipment for testing – you can just have one beefy box with a virtual lab running on it. Of course, there’s all sorts of benefits for testing (getting a clean setup quickly) and debugging (looking over snap-shots of virtual machines for problems) with virtual labs as well.

So, from a “I’ve read a bunch of press releases and blog posts” perspective: it’d seem that Sun now has their “server virtualization” check box ticked off, as well as their “desktop virtualization” check box.

Hopefully they’ll get a bunch of Solaris image up and ready to go online as well so I don’t have to install them in Fusion. I’m still looking for a server to hook my orphaned Sun Ray up to.

Disclaimer: Sun is a client. Thanks for the pointer to Steve Wilson’s from Chris Kanaracus and some background from Matt Ray.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Categories: Companies, Programming, Systems Management.

Comment Feed

3 Responses

  1. From all the comments I've read, it seems like I outta try out this virtual box thing. Then again, I have VMWare Fusion, and it's doing a-OK.

  2. As a VirtualBox user, perhaps I can comment that you are right – a VMWare Workstation built following the opensource model. It works – very well – despite its relatively short gestation (I believe it was released from Beta about a year ago). Not entirely, though to all intents and purposes, free – it comes as a standard Ubuntu package in the “free” form which saves all that tedious compilation.

    Anecdotally it also runs a lot faster than VMWare Workstation, but I haven’t seen any concrete evidence of this.

    Will this make Sun a virtualisation “player”? that remains to be seen – I still believe the real battleground will be in dynamic orchestration, and we’re a while away from that yet. Still, VirtualBox is a pretty good product, so its as good a hat to throw into the ring as any.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] more open source topics, we start out discussing Sun’s acquisition this week of VirtualBox. We both agree that we haven’t heard an incredible amount about VirtualBox until now, but […]