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5 open source virtualisation technologies to watch in 2011

Consolidate infrastructure without shrinking the savings

As well as proprietary virtualisation software from the likes of Microsoft and IBM, there is a vibrant open source virtualisation ecosystem that CIOs can consider for public and private cloud infrastructure. We've taken a look a virtualisation software that can consolidate infrastructure without shrinking the savings.


VirtualBox is an open source desktop virtualisation tool originally developed by German company innotek which was acquired by Sun Microsystems in February 2008.

Since acquiring Sun, Oracle has continued VirtualBox development and the latest version, 4.0, was released in December 2010.

VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X and can support all those operating systems as guests.

While it is mostly used on desktops, VirtualBox is a full virtualisation app and can be used on servers as well.

The closed-source edition of VirtualBox is now distributed as an "extension pack" and includes features like RDP and USB support.
Licence: GPL & CDDL


Lguest is an interesting virtualisation project started by Australian developer Paul 'Rusty' Russell.

Designed with Linux in mind, lguest allows multiple copies of the same kernel to run alongside each other.

While not a full virtualisation hypervisor, lguest prides itself on ease of use and uses the same kernel image for host and guest operating systems. However, there's not much information about whether lguest is being used in a business production environments, but that would be interesting.
Licence: GPL

See also: Analysis: Why Microsoft is killing desktop virtualisation

  1. Open-source alternatives
  2. VirtualBox

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