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In this lesson, I will show you everything you need to know about setting up a virtualization environment on your local computer. The experience of installing a local instance of Linux where you are free to experiment, break, and fix is invaluable to your Linux journey!
We have chosen VirtualBox as our virtualization software because it's free and compatible with both Windows and Linux. If are familiar with another virtualization platform you are free to use that as well! The main goal of this lesson is to create a VM that is on a network with internet access.
Visit virtualbox.org, and click the download link to open the downloads page. Once you reach the downloads page, you can select a download appropriate for your OS. They have options for Windows, MacOS, and other Linux distributions:
Download the appropriate version for your operating system.
Now that you have VirtualBox downloaded launch the installer:
Continue with the default options to complete the installation. Once VirtualBox has been installed, go ahead and launch VirtualBox before proceeding.
Create your Linux VM
The next thing we need to do is create the VM (virtual machine) that we will use to install and run our Linux distribution.
For any Linux distro you plan to install, you should research the minimum system requirements and make sure you can supply at least those before installation. In this case, we plan to install Ubuntu Server, we will see the minimum requirements are listed here:
- CPU: 1 gigahertz or better
- RAM: 1 gigabyte or more
- Disk: a minimum of 2.5 gigabytes
We will keep these minimum requirements in mind when creating our Virtual Machine so we can make sure our VM will meet the minimum requirements of the distro.
In VirtualBox, click the Machine > New button:
Select Expert Mode, provide a VM name, select the Ubuntu Server ISO that you downloaded earlier, and change the type to Linux, and the version to Ubuntu (64-bit):
Click Next. I am going to configure 8GB of RAM (1024 * 8), and 4 processors. Of course, the more power you give your VM, the better it will perform, but you also do not want to allocate too much to your VM and slow down your host computer.
Click Next to continue. The last step is to create a Virtual Hard Disk for our Ubuntu Server VM. The minimum requirement is 1GB, and I am going to go with 80 GB, so I will leave it at that and click Next.
Now click Finish. We need to configure the network settings of our VM so it can be accessible from our host computer. This will allow us to do things like SSH from our host computer to the VM. Right-click the VM in VirtualBox and select Settings:
Click the Network tab, then change the Attached to field to Bridged Adapter:
Click OK to close the window, and that's it! Our Ubuntu Server VM is ready to be installed!