[vbox-dev] Compiling Virtualbox for just a single VM

Jim Klimov jimklimov at cos.ru
Wed Jul 14 17:40:17 GMT 2021

On July 12, 2021 7:16:45 PM UTC, Lonnie Cumberland <lonnie at outstep.com> wrote:
>Thanks for your response on this, Klaus as it is truly appreciated.
>The goal was to see if it would be possible, and reasonable, to try and
>VirtualBox to be the VMM for a new hypervisor designed to have a small
>footprint to offer much less attack surfaces as well as to run
>for a Cloud distribution. I like many features of VirtualBox and
>thought that it might be a good combination, but it sounds like a
>tremendous amount of work just to get a VMM using VirtualBox setup.
>The project goal is to create a new use case for VirtualBox that will
>it to take advantage of the current broad capabilities of VirtualBox
>bringing a new paradigm for cloud computing.
>I may have to look into possibly using QEMU, or Bhyve, or maybe the
>Intel+Amazon+google collaboration project "Cloud-Hypervisor" which part
>the Firecracker and Rust-VMM project but still in the early stages of
>development as an alternative although wanted to see if it was possible
>work with Oracle on this first, I guess.
>Cheers and have a good day,
>On Mon, Jul 12, 2021 at 1:19 PM Klaus Espenlaub
><klaus.espenlaub at oracle.com>
>> Hello Lonnie,
>> On 2021-07-02 15:00, Lonnie Cumberland wrote:
>> > Hello,
>> >
>> > I am working on a project that needs a good VMM but the catch is
>> > I just need the VMM to run a single VM.
>> >
>> > Virtualbox has done some great development and made huge
>> > over the years and I am wondering if it might be a viable approach
>> > consider trying to re-compile it to only run 1 VM instance.
>> There is no pre-canned build option to limit VirtualBox to a single
>> It could be done with a non-negligible amount of work.
>> How much you can eliminate depends on what you want to achieve. All
>> currently available ways to run a VM assume that the API is present
>> which is a pretty big chunk. In the old days (until VirtualBox 4.2.x)
>> there used to be a VM frontend called VBoxBFE which offered a subset
>> the functionality of the VirtualBox functionality without using the
>> Purely available as source code, mostly intended for the first few
>> experiments when porting VirtualBox to a new platform. It was never
>> of the release packages.
>> It's doable, but for the VirtualBox product this wasn't considered an
>> important use case.
>> Klaus
>> >
>> > Any thoughts?
>> >
>> > Best Regards,
>> > Lonnie
>> _______________________________________________
>> vbox-dev mailing list
>> vbox-dev at virtualbox.org
>> https://www.virtualbox.org/mailman/listinfo/vbox-dev

Depending on the practical goal (to just run one VM in a system, or forbid to run more than one), running separate VirtualBox setups in a containerized system, such as with Solaris or illumos local zones, can be a good fit, especially if headless VMs are okay. You still get resource limitation and separation as with other zoned processes, and independent management, if desirable.

Note that with some illumos distros you might have more options, such as bhyve and kvm (also possibly separated in zones), beside VirtualBox.

Hope this helps,

Typos courtesy of K-9 Mail on my Android

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