What is Oracle VirtualBox? What can be done with it?
To create these virtual machines, we use a program called hypervisor. One of the most recommended hypervisors is Oracle's VirtualBox.
Computers have become so fast and powerful that you can run many other virtual computers using its internal resources. This idea is called virtualization, and although it may seem strange, virtualization has many uses. In addition, it can save you a lot of money on tasks that usually require a lot of computer power to perform.
To create these virtual machines, we use a program called hypervisor. One of the most recommended hypervisors is Oracle's VirtualBox. So what exactly can you do with VirtualBox? And why use it instead of other hypervisors?
What is VirtualBox?
VirtualBox is one of the most popular free and open source hypervisors that anyone can try out today. VirtualBox is a Type 2 hypervisor used to virtualize machines at a fast and reliable speed (depending on the host machine's hardware). Although completely free, VirtualBox still offers features that many other hypervisors do not have or require a paid subscription to use.
Because VirtualBox is a popular open source software, you can find many tutorials on how to use it, and it receives considerable support from its community. VirtualBox is also a cross-platform hypervisor, which means it can be installed on Windows, macOS, and many Linux distributions.
If you wonder if a hypervisor and a virtual machine are different, the answer is yes!
What does VirtualBox do?
VirtualBox is used in all sorts of tasks and applications that require one or more separate machines for you to use. Here are some of the most popular applications of VirtualBox.
1. Trial operating system
One of the most common uses for VirtualBox is to try out a new operating system. Let's say you're currently using Windows 10 and want to try Windows 11. Installing Windows 11 on VirtualBox allows you to experience Windows 11 without actually installing it on your hardware. This means that in case you don't like the new operating system, you can simply shut down VirtualBox and continue operating your computer as usual.
VirtualBox can boot all kinds of operating systems, whether it's Windows, macOS, or one of the many Linux distributions. As long as you have an ISO image for the operating system you want to try out, you can run it on VirtualBox. For example, you can install macOS in VirtualBox.
2. Test the site before deploying
Before deploying a website, you need to first test it on a sandbox environment where no one can view and tamper with the site. VirtualBox is a great way to host your own web server in a secure environment without any additional equipment.
3. Learn about network security
The best way to learn about cybersecurity is to apply your skills on a real machine. Virtualizing these machines is a cost-effective way to test your skills without paying for what online cybersecurity schools offer.
With VirtualBox, you basically have a free trial base to apply your skills. And since hacking tends to be tedious, VirtualBox makes it easy for students to take breaks by providing a Snapshot feature, which allows students to easily save their progress and resume whenever they feel ready. continue.
4. Multi-platform software development
Another common use of VirtualBox is cross-platform software development and testing. Whether you're developing apps for a certain platform or apps with cross-platform support, having VirtualBox emulate these different platforms saves time during testing.
Let's say you are using the Windows operating system and you plan to port an application to Linux. Instead of buying a Linux-specific test machine or dual-booting Linux, you can simply open Linux on a virtual machine using VirtualBox. The ability to emulate different platforms is especially important if you are planning to test cross-platform applications. Instead of shifting your attention to different devices, you can simply run several virtual machines and use keyboard shortcuts to switch between them.
5. Play old PC games
Another reason to use VirtualBox is the ability to play old games on your computer. While your modern PC may have the processing power to run any old game, it won't always be able to run on your PC. This is mainly due to a compatibility issue, as the game was originally developed for a specific platform and version.
With VirtualBox, you can install an older operating system that will solve game compatibility issues. For example, games for Windows XP may not run in Windows 11. Setting up a Windows XP virtual machine on VirtualBox will allow you to install the game in the virtual machine.
Why use VirtualBox instead of other hypervisors?
Hosted hypervisors like VirtualBox are becoming more and more popular as people learn about their usability. There are two types of hypervisors:
- Hypervisor Type 1 or Bare-metal is virtualization software that is installed on the host machine's hardware. These hypervisors are used on specialized machines commonly used to host servers for enterprise environments.
- Hypervisor Type or hosted hypervisor is virtualization software that is installed on operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. This makes them simple to operate and requires no additional specialized hardware to run. Hosted hypervisors are often used for smaller deployments and personal use.
So, unless you are working in an enterprise environment, using a hosted hypervisor like VirtualBox will suffice for all your virtualization needs. However, there are other hosted hypervisors that compete with VirtualBox, such as VMware Workstation. So why use VirtualBox? While VMware Workstation has its advantages, here are a few reasons why you might want to use VirtualBox instead:
- Free and feature-rich : Although free, VirtualBox still offers features like snapshot creation, software virtualization, and data encryption that are paid or premium features on other hypervisors like VMware.
- Open Source : VirtualBox is an open source software which not only means it's free for anyone to use, but it also offers other benefits. One benefit of being open source software is that you can view and even edit the source code in private, which allows for a high degree of customization and security.
- Popularity : Another big reason to use VirtualBox is that it's popular freeware. Since it's free and popular, there's a large community that will answer your questions and provide lots of tutorials online. With VirtualBox being such a popular and capable hypervisor, many IT departments use VirtualBox in their systems. So, knowing how to use VirtualBox will make it easier for you to integrate into a new company.
VirtualBox is a great virtualization tool that allows you to quickly and conveniently try out various operating systems, test websites, learn about cybersecurity, and develop cross-platform applications. It offers all the typical virtualization functions along with additional premium features like snapshots, software virtualization and data encryption - all for free! So, if you are looking for a free virtualization tool that offers premium features, then VirtualBox is the best choice.
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