In this part of Simple VirtualBox Set-Up for Linux Server Fun, I’ll detail the step-by-step process of creating a virtual machine in VirtualBox.
Step 1: Download VirtbualBox and Ubuntu Server
There are a few options for downloading Ubuntu Server. Canonical keeps all versions of Ubuntu in a nice releases site you can easily navigate. From there, you can download any version using a few protocols including FTP and BitTorrent. If you have unreliable internet like I do, the most reliable way to download is via BitTorrent. Transmission is a good BitTtorrent client for Mac. uTorrent is also a good client that will run on Windows.
Step 2: Install VirtualBox
Sun made the VirtualBox installation a straight-forward process for every platform. Notice I said Sun instead of Oracle? VirtualBox was created by Sun Microsystems first, then Sun Microsystems was bought by Oracle Corporation. Its worth noting that much of Oracle’s good software was originally made by Sun.
Each download of VirtualBox comes with a User Manual full of useful information. In addition to instructions on how to use the VirtualBox GUI (Graphical User Interface), instructions on the CLI (Command Line Interface) are also in the User Manual. The CLI for VirtualBox offers some very advanced features beyond the scope of this simple guide. The User Manual is a great place to go to learn more about virtualization. It can also be found online.
Step 3: Create a Virtual Machine
The VirtualBox GUI has a Virtual Machine creation wizard. It will walk you through the basic components of a virtual machine. First, we select an OS. Conveniently, VirtualBox allows us to select Linux / Ubuntu 64 bit as an OS. I’ve chosen to name mine ‘Machine2’.
Next, we select the amount to RAM to allocate to the VM. Stand-alone linux doesn’t use much RAM to begin with, and since a server has no GUI, this VM will use even less RAM. Some installations can run with as little as 256MB. I’ve given this installation 512MB:
Opt to create a new Virtual Hard Disk.
VirtualBox supports several formats. The default is Virtual Disk Image (VD) and is the best choice for most VirtualBox VMs because of it’s native support.
Now we choose how the Virtual Disk Image is stored on the hard drive. A Fixed Size means the 8GB chosen for the virtual machine will immediately use 8GB of precious hard drive space. Dynamically-Allocated means that the 8GB of storage space won’t be used immediately by the Virtual Machine, but instead be used efficiently on an as-needed basis. Dynamically-Allocated is what I’ve chosen.
Choose the size and location of the virtual hard disk. Being able to choose the location of the virtual hard disk is a really nice feature offered by the VirtualBox GUI. Particularly, it allows those of us using small SSDs to offload big virtual disk images to a storage HDD. I’ve chosen to have this Virtual Disk Image installed to the default location:
At this point, everything is finished. Go to part 2 and install the Ubuntu Server.