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Getting to Know VirtualBox and Your Network

Get a glimpse at VirtualBox and its API as well as a variety of network architecture that you can use to get your VMs up and running and talking to each other.

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VirtualBox is a high-performance, cross-platform virtualization engine for use on coImage titlemputers running Windows, Linux distributions, and others. Designed for use on Intel and AMD x86 systems, VM VirtualBox can be deployed on desktop or server hardware. As a hosted hypervisor, it extends the existing operating system installed on the hardware rather than replacing it.

VirtualBox includes a hypervisor for the host platform, an application programming interface (API) and software development kit (SDK) for managing guest virtual machines, a command-line tool for managing guests locally, a web service for remote management of guests, a wizard-style graphical tool to manage guests, a graphical console for displaying guest applications on the local host, and a built-in Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) server that provides complete access to a guest from a remote client.

VirtualBox Architecture

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VirtualBox API = VBoxMananger = CLI

VBoxMananger is the command line interface to VirtualBox. If you put a command from VBoxMananger into the console, is possible see all commands and how they interact with the VirtualBox API.

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The command to list all VMs is:

$ VBoxManage list vms

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It is possible to create VMs with the command line, but is necessary to have ISO to the system operation that you want installed.

Step 1:

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Step 2:

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VBoxMananger is the tool that Vagrant uses for samples to create environments.

VirtualBox Network

There are three types of networks:

  1. NAT with port forwarding.
  2. Bridged networking.
  3. Internal networking.
  4. Host-only networking.

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NAT Networking

  • NAT = Networking Address Translation.
  • Each VM has your own sub-network with your public IP.
  • Share the same resources of that host.
  • VMs cannot see each other.
  • IP, Gateway, and DNS cannot be changed.

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Bridged Networking

  • VMs and the host are in the same network.
  • VMs have access to the physical network in the same way the host does.
  • Can be found in the physical network.

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Internal Networking

  • Isolated network.
  • Only VMs are within a private network.
  • Host can’t see the private network.

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Host-Only Networking

  • Hybrid between bridge and internal networks.
  • Private Network to the host and VMs.
  • VMs can’t see external networks.
  • Host has private IP to the internal network.


In this post, I focused on one difficult point people I know tend to bring up (VirtualBox API and VirtualBox Network). These solutions are what worked for me. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

The Cloud Zone is brought to you in partnership with Internap. Read Bare-Metal Cloud 101 to learn about bare-metal cloud and how it has emerged as a way to complement virtualized services.


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