Virtual Box on FreeBSD Server

dweimer dweimer at
Fri Apr 19 18:53:33 UTC 2013

On 04/19/2013 7:37 am, Bill Tillman wrote:
> I've been looking into setting up some Linux servers but instead I'm
> thinking that I could use Virtual Box on my FreeBSD servers to do
> this. I would like some seasoned advice from others on the following
> before proceeding:
> 1. As I understand it you can install Virtual Box from the ports
> collection. But then I see the instructions in the Handbook:
>       To launch VirtualBox, type from a Xorg session:
> % VirtualBox
> So am I to assume the only way to run Virtual Box is to have Xorg
> installed and running on the FreeBSD server?  Which is a drag because
> my current FreeBSD servers are exactly that, servers, and do not have
> the fancy video cards, monitors, etc.. to run Xorg. Is there an
> alternative to running the interface from Xorg. I'm a command line
> fanatic when it comes to servers. Or would I be able to install Xvnc
> or something like that and run it from one of my Windows 7 machines
> which has all the fancy video capabilities?
> 2. Once installed, I will be able to install something like Fedora or
> openSUSE? These will only be installed as server so I can run
> databases like MySQL in the Linux environment. The client I'm working
> for insists on using FreeBSD allowed. They think it's poison
> and are very biased on this so there's no talking them out of it. I
> need to gain experience using these databases on Linux, not FreeBSD.
> 3. I'm going to buy a 1 TB SATA drive for this setup. It will be
> running on an AMD64 server with FreeBSD 9.x or whatever is the latest
> release as of this weekend.
> 4. There is also a Plan 'B' to go the other way. Since I already have
> two i7 machines running Windows 7, perhaps it might be better to
> install the Windows version of Virtual Box or even VMWare and create
> my instances of Linux on one or even both of these machines.
> Any advice would be appreciated.
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I just setup a FreeBSD 9.1p2 server to run Virtual Box myself, you don't 
need X, you can launch machines with VBoxHeadless --startvm "VM NAME". 
(using VNC to connect to the consoles of them)  Creating and configuring 
them takes a bit more, and as I am only on the second day of getting 
this figured out, I am not the best person to go more into detail.  I 
actually created my vms on windows moved them over to FreeBSD the server 
to run them.  It can all be done command line, just takes a while to 

I am running mine on a AMD Phenom(tm) II X6 1075T Processor, with 16G 
ram, so far I have had three VMs running at once, two FreeBSD 9.1p2 and 
one windows 2008r2, 3G ram assigned to each.  Performance so far has 
been great, I will have it down to one VM in a few days, as I will 
convert the two FreeBSD VMs into jails, and just be left with the 
windows 2008r2 vm.

the disks in my system are 2 Sata3 1TB volumes, with FreeBSD host 
installed on ZFS in mirrored zpool.  Also running the 2 FreeBSD VMs from 
this mirror as well, and the sytem drive of the Windows server.  The 
Windows server has a second data drive, that is mounted off 4 500MB 
SATA2 drives in a zfs raidz.  Disk performance is better than what I had 
testing this setup on Windows 7 with Virtual box, using a hardware raid 
10 on the 500MB drives and hardware mirror on the 1TB drives.

I intend to migrate the windows data drive from a virtual disk to an 
iSCSI disk pointed to the same 500MB raidz once I get the FreeBSD iSCSI 
target setup figured out.  This should hopefully get a little more speed 
out of the setup.

Unfortunately as this setup is still in its early stages, I can't attest 
to how stable it will be.

Dean E. Weimer

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