3.5. Paravirtualization Providers

Oracle VM VirtualBox enables the exposure of a paravirtualization interface, to facilitate accurate and efficient execution of software within a virtual machine. These interfaces require the guest operating system to recognize their presence and make use of them in order to leverage the benefits of communicating with the Oracle VM VirtualBox hypervisor.

Most modern, mainstream guest operating systems, including Windows and Linux, ship with support for one or more paravirtualization interfaces. Hence, there is typically no need to install additional software in the guest to take advantage of this feature.

Exposing a paravirtualization provider to the guest operating system does not rely on the choice of host platforms. For example, the Hyper-V paravirtualization provider can be used for VMs to run on any host platform supported by Oracle VM VirtualBox and not just Windows.

Oracle VM VirtualBox provides the following interfaces:

  • Minimal: Announces the presence of a virtualized environment. Additionally, reports the TSC and APIC frequency to the guest operating system. This provider is mandatory for running any Mac OS X guests.

  • KVM: Presents a Linux KVM hypervisor interface which is recognized by Linux kernels version 2.6.25 or later. Oracle VM VirtualBox's implementation currently supports paravirtualized clocks and SMP spinlocks. This provider is recommended for Linux guests.

  • Hyper-V: Presents a Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor interface which is recognized by Windows 7 and newer operating systems. Oracle VM VirtualBox's implementation currently supports paravirtualized clocks, APIC frequency reporting, guest debugging, guest crash reporting and relaxed timer checks. This provider is recommended for Windows guests.