Thursday, September 10, 2009

VirtualBox 3.0.6 released

The latest update to VirtualBox, version 3.0.6, just got released. As mentioned before, this is good news for the Web Console project as it comes with several fixes and enhancements required for smooth operation.

Once you've updated to 3.0.6, check out the VirtualBox Web Console as described here. Within some minutes, you should be up and running. Still a lot of work to do but there are some useful features that you can enjoy today:

  • Browse your virtual machines and inspect their settings
  • Start virtual machines in headless mode
  • Pause/resume VMs
  • Save the state of running VMs
  • Terminate VMs (hard power off or ACPI)
  • Remote control your VMs using the integrated RDP Web Control
A lot of limitations still like no authentication for the RDP viewer. You will also find a Create VM wizard which is not fully done yet but gives you an idea of what to expect in the near future.

The VirtualBox Web Console is a community project and we are looking for contributors. In an earlier post I talked about the architecture and the mailing lists for developers and users.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

VirtualBox 3.0.6 BETA 1

Sun has quietly released VirtualBox 3.0.6 BETA 1. The list of changes is quite long and many outstanding issues were addressed.

The good news for the VirtualBox Web Console is that with VirtualBox 3.0.6 BETA 1, it actually becomes usable. The architecture of the Web Console was pushing the VirtualBox Python API to its limits and quite a few issues were detected. Often, event processing got stuck and you had to kill and restart VirtualBox. Luckily, all those issues got fixed in the development version of VirtualBox (called 3.0.51 but not recommended for general use) and now also applied to the stable 3.0 series.

The VirtualBox developers also addressed one important feature request from the Web Console project: automatic RDP port assignment. When running multiple virtual machines on a host, each VM has to bind to a different port for its RDP functionality. With the old API, this was difficult to accomplish. Basically the Web Console would have had to scan ports and find a free port, assign the port to the VM and then hope that the VM could actually bind to the port. The new API allows the Web Console to specify a whole range of ports (even multiple ranges) and the RDP server will try all of those ports and bind to the first available.

If you've been following the Web Console project, you've seen that various bits and pieces got added and that there is steady progress. Still a lot of work to do so no big announcements yet. Once the basic functionality is there and VirtualBox 3.0.6 leaves the beta phase, we're planning to make a public announcement.

PS: The VirtualBox Web Console project is still looking for contributors! Join the Developer Mailing List, check out the code and see what you can contribute!