Join Scott Simpson for an in-depth discussion in this video What is VirtualBox?, part of Learning VirtualBox.
VirtualBox from Oracle is an application that lets you run an operating system inside of your operating system. You can download the installer from VirtualBox.org VirtualBox uses technology called virtualization, where a software called the hypervisor provides a sandboxed, protected space, for an operating system to run. This protected space, or virtual machine, looks, and works, just like a real computer to the operating system running inside of it. And it keeps the data and activity of the operating system inside of it, which is called the guest operating system, separate from your regular operating system, which is called, the host operating system.
Using VirtualBox, we can share a portion of the host's resources with one or more guests, including CPU resources, memory, storage, and communications. VirtualBox is available for free and it can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Inside of the virtual machines, the most commonly installed operating systems, are Windows, and Linux. Because virtual machines allow us to create protected spaces, and to install whole operating systems, using virtual machines with VirtualBox is extremely common in learning situations, software development processes, and testing environments.
Virtual machines are excellent for learning about software and operating systems because any change made inside them doesn't affect the host's system. So mistakes, or learning opportunities, are isolated from the host. Software developers use a virtual machine frequently, often in order to separate their workspace from a system, or in order to work on a different operating system entirely. If your company gives you a Mac or Windows computer and you need to develop for Linux, you can just start up a Linux virtual machine and get work done that way. In the world of testing, it's important to make sure that software, or web pages, work on the systems that your customers will use.
Not everyone uses the same platform and version of the platform that you do. VirtualBox lets you test your software in Windows Server, Windows 7, 8, and 10, Fedora, Ubuntu, and more. All from the comfort of your MacBook Pro, or your Microsoft Surface, or your Linux workstation. VirtualBox is a flexible tool with a lot of really useful features.
- Installing the software
- Allocating resources for guest systems
- Installing Windows 10 and Linux in VirtualBox
- Forwarding ports for services
- Exploring the virtual machine window
- Command-line options
- Networking with VirtualBox
- Modifying disks and memory