I'm posting this mostly because I wanted to share an issue I had with VirtualBox 3.1.x running on my Mac.

For much of 2009, I ran an instance of WindowsXP as a guest OS via VirtualBox on my Mac. My guest OS serves two purposes: testing sites in Windows browsers and running an instance of SQL Server 2008 for a long-term project on which I am working. Because I need to connect to the SQL Server instance on the guest OS from my Mac, I use Bridged Networking, which allows my office's network to assign a unique IP address to the guest OS.

Until November, VirtualBox was absolutely awesome (fast, lighter weight than VMWare and Parallels). Unfortunately, since the releases of VirtualBox 3.1.0 in November 2009 and version 3.1.2 in December 2009, I have experienced regular issues with VirtualBox dropping the network connection in my guest OS.

Basically, within 10-60 minutes of starting the guest OS, the network connection would be dropped. This resulted in my not being able to connect to my datasources from ColdFusion, ping my guest OS from Terminal, or even access the Internet from a browser within my guest OS. If this happened once a day, I'd have been fine with the "headache" of restarting Windows to reconnect. But it didn't happen once a day. It was just about every #$^&$@* hour. 

I spent a significant amount of time this week trying to address the issue with VirtualBox. I reinstalled, tweaked every preference I could, tried alternate network drivers, and scoured the web and various forums. No luck across the board. So ...

With head hung low, I navigated over to the VMware site and downloaded an upgrade to VMware Fusion 3 (before using VirtualBox, I owned Fusion 2). While it was the typical pain in the ass to install Windows XP and the myriad security updates and such, I have to say that I have been quite impressed by the new version of VMware Fusion.

The Unity mode, which was useless for me in version 2, kicks ass in version 3. It seamlessly integrates into my Mac OS, making it incredibly easy for me run SQL Server Management Studio and other Windows-specific applications (i.e., browsers) from my Mac's task/menu bar. I have not experienced one glitch with any application while running in Unity and love that I can fire up Internet Explorer for browser testing without ever having to look at a Windows interface ... except for the IE interface, of course :).  

Additionally, the VM itself starts up so much faster than previous versions and, while the VMware footprint is larger than that of VirtualBox, the application and my guest OS run smoothly and efficiently. 

While I would prefer to have an open source solution for my VM requirements, Fusion 3 is an excellent piece of software. If an open source alternative isn't in your budget and you absolutely must buy your virtualization software, VMware Fusion is definitely worth a look. 

Posted via web from Craig Kaminsky's posterous