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Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

By now I am sure many have heard the word virtualization, Virtual Machine, VMware and maybe Virtual Box.  Virtualization has revolutionized the server industry by lowering the hardware costs and allowing the same hardware to be used to emulate multiple “virtual” machines that can be used as a server for web hosting, exchange, etc. all on one computer. Another way that many small business owners can utilize virtualization as a test bed to test software and network configurations without having to buy multiple computers, switches and licenses for software. 

You might have heard a few competing software solutions for virtualization such as VMWare , Oracle VirtualBox and QEMU.   I have personally used all three of these virtualization options and I as well as many others will agree the best one out there is the Oracle VirtualBox. It’s one of the easiest to use high performance virtualization option with the smallest footprint and many advanced network features. The best part about VirtualBox is its ABSOLUTELY FREE for personal use!

So lets get started, this guide will show you step by step how to download and install VirtualBox and configure network adapters for your virtual machine to access the internet, the host computer and internal virtual network so each virtual machine can communicate with each other.
STEP 1 – INSTALL

Download the software and install http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads You can leave the default settings when installing unless you want to change the location of install.

install virtualbox Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

Open up VirtualBox and click on the New box in the top left corner, what we are doing is creating a new virtual machine or virtual space where we are going to install an operating system.

install create new virtualbox virtual machine Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

You will get to the box where you are asked to pick your operating system, and naming the Virtual computer that you are creating. The way this works is you have to have an .ISO image file of the operating system you wish you install, or an actual CD.

install operatingsystem virtualbox2 Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

After you click Next, you will be asked to allocate RAM to this particular virtual machine. I suggest to stick with default levels as it usually puts them at minimum requirements and if you lower this too much your virtual machine will run sluggish, on the other hand if you allocate too much memory your entire computer will run sluggish when launch thisvirtual machine.

install picking RAM virtualbox3 Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

The next step we are going to create a file for a virtual hard drive. This basically allocates the maximum size that this drive can get to, BUT ONLY expands as needed. This means that if you allocate 20GB of space, it won’t take 20GB right away but might expand up to 20GB as needed.

install hard drive virtualbox4 Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

When you click next you will be prompted with a wizard to create the virtual hard drive, you can simply click next, next and finish. After you are done this is what your screen should look like, with 1 Virtual machine reading to go!

install6 Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

STEP 2 – CONFIGURING CD ROM TO INSTALL OS

After the install right click on the new virtual machine we just created right click on it and click Settings…

configure installing operatingsystem virtualbox Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

We will first start with setting up the CD Rom drive so we can install an operating system.

Click on the Storage tab on the left.

configure virtualbox cdrom image Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

On the right side either select the Host Drive (which is your computer’s physical CD rom drive where the Operating System CD is located) OR select the folder next to the drop down to select an .iso image  that will function as a virtual CDROM drive.

STEP 3 – CONFIGURING NETWORK

We move to the Network tab next. We see 4 network adapters.

We are going to use this VirtualBox for:

1. Connect to the internet

2. Host a server

3. Communicate with other VirtualBox machines installed on an internal network

By default VirtualBox is configured to access the internet only; however to be able to get the other features to work on this one network adapter we either have to use complicated port forwarding or enable the other adapters to perform those tasks separately.

Leave the Adapter 1 set to NAT, this will allow for the virtual machine to connect to your router and have access to the internet.

configure virtualbox network NAT settings Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

Change Adapter 2 to Host-only Adapter. This enables for communication from the Host to the Guest computer using the same IP range, in other words, this allows our virtual machine to be accessed directly through the internet and can function as a server.

configure virtualbox network host only adapter Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

Change Adapter 3 to Internal Network and pick the name for your virtual network. You will do this on all the virtual machines that you wish to able to communicate with each other on the same network.

 Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters

Click OK and we are done!

You should now have a fully functional virtual machine and a virtual environment that you can be use to test software, host multiple servers and test network configurations by creating a few other virtual machines and installing Linux and/or Windows Server.

To test a network configuration install a Windows Server and make it a domain controller, assign user groups and users on the DC. Create a couple of virtual client computers (make sure you pick the same name of the internal network for adapter 3) and connect them to your domain. You can install multiple DC, create networks with different IPs and test VPN, remote desktop and other scenarios among your virtual machines. The possibilities are endless, this is a good method to test software that is stand alone and network based. If you are currently running a server that is dedicated to one task, consider virtualization and add more functionality to your hardware.

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  • 74 responses to "Best virtualization solution. Guide to setup Oracle VirtualBox & configure network adapters"

  • neil martin
    9:56 on October 25th, 2010

    great guide. VM can be a great solution to small business.

  • Auto Refinance
    16:11 on October 25th, 2010

    I use Oracle Virualbox, QEMU is crap imo, I also heard they’re starting to charge people.

  • Criminal Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles
    0:14 on October 27th, 2010

    This was really an informative blog about virtualization. In fact, I fond reading it and thanks for the guide. It can really help my business. I hope you will continue making blogs about virtualization and i will going to watch out for that. Thanks and have a great day.

  • SQL
    10:37 on October 29th, 2010

    Very detailed, step by step instruction. Thanks. I’m now using Microsoft Virtual PC, it’s cool.

  • Esha Putra
    14:08 on October 29th, 2010

    great tips…
    but, can i use it under Linux (Ubuntu)?

  • IT Wired
    18:09 on October 29th, 2010

    Yep works under all the os platforms including linux. That’s the best part about virtualbox, the interface does not change either.

  • Virtual Server
    3:35 on November 11th, 2010

    I wonder if there are there any system specs in installing this? Thanks for sharing!

  • Minert and Associates
    23:23 on November 16th, 2010

    I wish people who shares ideas can be just as detailed as this – and yes with all the images and as much information so the reader won’t keep guessing what to do next… keep up the good work giving out info online!

    Tina

  • Finallyfast
    9:29 on November 21st, 2010

    Thanks for the informative post on virtualization – very cool concept. In fact, I think the idea can definitely help my business in a variety of ways. Please keep up the great posts as the info is helpful to me.