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Configuring VirtualBox Options to Run Three Operating Systems on a PC

written by: Steve Mallard•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 2/27/2009

Virtualization allows for the running of multiple operating systems on a single computer. This article examines the options needed to operate these operating systems on a host computer. There are many reasons why virtualization can be used by individuals, programmers and beta testers.

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    Sun's VirtualBox

    Like many virtualization programs, Sun's VirtualBox is powerful yet simple to install and operate. Sun's Virtual box allows for the operation of an operating system inside of an operating system. This process, known as virtualization, has many benefits and allows system administrators to consolidate servers by using a relatively powerful server or host system to operate as multiple systems.

    VirtualBox also offers multiple options that allow for the sharing of the host hardware. When planning on implementing virtualization, individuals need to plan on how to share this hardware. While there are many other virtualization programs available, the focus in this article will be on VirtualBox.

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    Resource Usage with Three Operating Systems, Apache, Flow Matrix and SQL Running

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    VirtualBox Options and Testing

    VirtualBox's options allows for the sharing of resources from the host computer. When planning to implement a virtualization environment and setting, administrators or end users should plan on sharing the memory, CPU and hard drive of the host computer. Planning for IDE, SATA or SCSI drives depends on the individual use of the virtualization application. Hard drive response time plays another key role in response time of the operating systems.

    Generally the host computer will operate on 1 gigabyte of RAM. With today's computers hard drives are inexpensive and processors are generally multi - core. Although 1 gigabyte of RAM will operate two operating systems, more RAM will yield better performance. Because the CPU is shared, adding more RAM takes the load off of the CPU. The Settings tab for the indivdual operating system allows for the adjustment of memory. With the example above, Windows 7 and Windows XP operated with a given 512 megabytes of RAM each. Each operating system performed smoothly and with little hesitation. The Windows Vista host system operated Flow Matrix, Apache and SQL while using NMAP and UMIT to scan the operating systems on a network for vulnerabilities.

    The options and settings supports up to four individual network adapters allowing for the adapters to be split among the operating systems. Planning and supporting the USB options and CD/DVD hardware has to be decided during the planning stages.

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    VirtualBox Options

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    Although this example was on a laptop, workstations (desktops) and servers are an excellent way for individuals to test software, program, network or store information in different (or the same) operating systems. Virtualization is not just for data centers. Virtualization and programmers are a perfect match. Software companies can test their products on different operating systems and home users can keep different operating systems if they have games and programs that work in an older OS. With Virtualbox's Remote Desktop connection, users can switch between screens and operating systems in an instant. Virtualization is truly changing the face of computing.

    Sun's Virtual Box

    Installing Windows 7 Beta on VirtualBox