DevOps 101 - Introduction to Virtualization - Part 3

Introduction to Virtualization: The Ultimate Guide to Oracle VirtualBox

Oracle VirtualBox is a free and open-source hypervisor that allows you to run multiple operating systems on a single physical computer. It is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Testing and development: VirtualBox can be used to test and develop software on different operating systems without having to install them on your physical computer. This can save you time and resources, and it can also help you to avoid problems that can occur when running different operating systems on the same physical hardware.
  • Learning: VirtualBox can be used to learn about different operating systems without having to install them on your physical computer. This is a great way to try out new operating systems without having to commit to them.
  • Troubleshooting: VirtualBox can be used to troubleshoot problems with operating systems. If you are having problems with an operating system, you can create a virtual machine with that operating system and then try to reproduce the problem in the virtual machine. This can help you to identify the source of the problem and to fix it.
  • Security: VirtualBox can be used to create isolated environments for running security-sensitive applications. This can help to protect your physical computer from malware or other security threats.

VirtualBox runs on top of the host operating system. The host operating system is responsible for managing the physical hardware, such as the CPU, memory, and storage. VirtualBox then uses the host operating system’s resources to create virtual machines. Hence, VirtualBox is a type 2 hypervisor. A type 2 hypervisor is a hypervisor that runs on top of a host operating system.

Benefits of VirtualBox

Here are some of the benefits of using a type 2 hypervisor like VirtualBox:

  • Ease of use: Type 2 hypervisors are typically easier to install and use than type 1 hypervisors. This is because they do not require direct access to the physical hardware.
  • Portability: Type 2 hypervisors are portable, meaning that they can be installed on a variety of host operating systems. This makes them a good choice for users who want to run virtual machines on different computers.
  • Cost: Type 2 hypervisors are typically free or low-cost, making them a good option for budget-conscious users.
Type 1 vs Type 2 Hypervisor
Type 1 vs Type 2 Hypervisor

How to Install Oracle VirtualBox

Oracle VirtualBox is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. To install VirtualBox, you can download the installer from the VirtualBox website:

Once you have downloaded the installer, run it to start the installation process. The installation process is straightforward and should only take a few minutes.

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VirtualBox Download Website
VirtualBox Home Screen
VirtualBox Home Screen

Creating a Virtual Machine

Once you have installed VirtualBox, you can start creating virtual machines. A virtual machine is a software emulation of a physical computer. It has its own operating system, memory, and storage space.

To create a virtual machine, open VirtualBox and click the New button. In the New Virtual Machine wizard, enter a name for the virtual machine and select the operating system that you want to install.

You will also need to specify the amount of memory that you want to allocate to the virtual machine. The amount of memory that you need depends on the operating system that you are installing.

Once you have specified the name, operating system, and memory, click the Create button. VirtualBox will create the virtual machine and start downloading the necessary files.

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VirtualBox Creating VM

Installing an Operating System

Once the virtual machine is created, you can start installing an operating system. To do this, you will need to boot the virtual machine from an installation media. This could be a CD, DVD, USB drive, or ISO file.

Once the virtual machine is booted from the installation media, you will be able to follow the on-screen instructions to install the operating system.

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Using VirtualBox

Once you have installed an operating system in the virtual machine, you can start using it. You can access the virtual machine by double-clicking on it in the VirtualBox window.

When you are using the virtual machine, it will appear as if it is a physical computer. You can install software, run applications, and access the internet just like you would on a physical computer.

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Starting a VM in VirtualBox

VirtualBox vs Others

FeatureVirtualBoxVMware WorkstationParallels DesktopQEMUHyper-V
LicensingFree and open-sourceCommercialCommercialFree and open-sourceCommercial
PlatformsWindows, macOS, LinuxWindows, macOS, LinuxmacOS, WindowsWindows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSDWindows Server, Windows 10 Pro
ComplexityEasy to useComplexComplexComplexComplex


Oracle VirtualBox is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. It is a free and open-source software, so you can use it without having to pay any licensing fees.

If you are looking for a way to run multiple operating systems on a single physical computer, then Oracle VirtualBox is a great option. It is easy to use and it is very versatile.

I hope this guide has helped you to get started with Oracle VirtualBox. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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