What is our primary use case?
My main purpose in using this solution is to run Windows machines on top of my Linux servers. I am running a Windows server on top of a Linux machine and then another four machines just to create an environment for our clients so that people can log in. Because they don't find Linux easy to use, I give them windows on top which they find more familiar.
What is most valuable?
The thing is I like is the simplicity in Linux when I'm using the Oracle VirtualBox. In terms of networking, it doesn't need any special configuration, especially when working with Linux. The other thing I like about it is being able to share folders. It makes life very easy to transfer things from one person to another. I don't have to worry about mounting a USB device. You just create a folder and give privileges then I can share information very fast.
What needs improvement?
The product needs better support for multiple network cards. That is the major area that sometimes it can be a bit of a mess to configure multiple network cards to communicate well with each other. That's the major thing for me.
Another thing I've run into is that it would be nice on Oracle if you can use something like a Hyper-V environment. You can just install the environment and then start installing all your virtual machines on top of that. Rather than having to install Windows or Linux when you need them, you just install the VirtualBox. If it can just roll out on its own and had its own hyper vista software — that would be something I've been praying to see from Oracle VirtualBox.
I think also that a challenge I've seen some people have after I convince them to use the product is when they are switching to various views. In some situations, the view switches to a seamless full screen and the menu bar disappears. When this happens they may not know how to switch it back. I don't know if Oracle can put a button on-screen so that when you are in a seamless view or scale view or something like that so those familiar things still fit where you can find them. In fullscreen, you still have the menu, but in some of these screen views that don't have the menu, they could put a visible button that can bring the menu back up. With that, you can easily get back familiar controls and eject your USB or whatever you need to do. If you don't know the shortcuts, it can be difficult to navigate or do even common tasks. They need something else instead of just using keyboard shortcuts.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using VM VirtualBox since it came out around 19 years ago
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Oracle with VirtualBox rarely crashes since about version four onwards. It rarely crashes and rarely hangs. Although — I think it is on version six — sometimes I may take a snapshot and try to revert or even when I try to save a snapshot using Windows XP, sometimes the whole virtual machine crashes. But I am not sure if it is a fault with the software or something else because it only happens with one particular machine.
When you take three or four snapshots and you accumulate snapshots, it is as if at some point the snapshots get a bit mixed up in the machine, especially if you do not shut down. I have been helping some of my friends because they're not ready to move from XP. So I've gotten them to use Oracle VirtualBox for some solutions. One guy's machine crashed because they had been taking snapshot after snapshot. When we tried to restore it, we could not restore the machine back. So it happens, but rarely. But all in all, from Windows 7 downwards, I have not seen any problems with the VirtualBox. I actually love it. It's really stable for me.
I noticed also that if you do not shut it down regularly and you are constantly hibernating or pausing, that can be a really big headache. Sometimes the computer may freeze and you have to go back to the machine's original state.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
So far my needs have been really static. I've not really tried to invest in scalability because my needs are fixed currently, so I do not have too much to say about scalability. But it should not be an issue.
How was the initial setup?
The installation of VirtualBox itself is easy.
What about the implementation team?
All of the implementations I have I did myself.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Right now I am mainly using the free versions of the solutions. I'm not ready to spend a lot because I don't have too many machines. I do not qualify to be charged yet. So I've never worried too much about the pricing because most of my pricing is academic for the machines at school. But even being a school, I have a special agreement with Microsoft.
What other advice do I have?
On a scale of one to ten where ten is the best, I would rate this product as a nine.
I recommend it, especially for people who are beginners because most things they will want to use will virtually be plug-and-play. It's click-and-use. I would recommend it to those people who are beginners. Because most other products, you really need to know a lot of networking and how to use them to maintain them. But with Oracle, it is simple. For most needs where you have to only have a really small network, this will be fine.