Introduction to Virtual Box

Oracle’s Virtual Box is an imperative tool for any developer.  Here are the primary reasons I make the claim:

  1. You can run a variety of configurations all from a single computer.  This is critical for development and testing.
  2. It’s very easy to take a point-in-time snapshot and to roll-back to that snapshot if things don’t work as expected.  In fact, this feature is what prompted me to explore and adopt virtual machines many years ago.  I was tasked with building an installation application and I need to test changes to the install program.  However, the program would make changes and it was a pain to keep a lab full of pristine machines to test with and so virtual machines were the solution.  With VMs, I could snapshot a new, pristine machine and then roll back to that state to test each change in my install program.
  3. It’s easy to test with a variety of resources and limitations.  For example, I could test a small machine by configuring the virtual machine guest to only use 1GB of RAM and perhaps only one virtual CPU.  This would be running on  monster machine with many CPUs/Cores and lots of RAM; but still give a reasonable test.
  4. With a single developer machine host machine, with enough CPU and RAM, I could run a virtual data center with one VM hosting the database, another the Web Sever, and others the client.  Again, just one machine with one attached keyboard and mouse.

OK, so let’s get started.  Using the link above, download and install Virtual Box.  In the next lesson, we’ll use it to build our primary development System (the guest) running Linux Mint