Sun has released a new version of xVM VirtualBox, its platform for desktop virtualisation, and is also starting to offer enterprise support for the platform.

XVM VirtualBox 2.0 comes with improved performance and platform support, adding support for 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Sun has also developed a new user interface for the Mac platform. Mac users will also get better networking performance, as will users who are running Sun's Solaris OS. It has also improved overall performance on AMD-based systems.

To get enterprises interested in the platform, Sun now offers around the clock premium support with the xVM VirtualBox Software Enterprise Subscription, which start at $30 (£17) per user per year. Additionally, customers will receive a Right-to-Use Licence, allowing companies to deploy VirtualBox using their own software deployment tools.

XVM VirtualBox software lets users create "virtual machines" into which they can install their operating system of choice. Developers can for example build, test and run cross-platform, multitier applications on a single laptop or desktop computer, according to Sun.

Other programs that do the same thing include VMware's Player or Fusion, Microsoft's Virtual PC and Parallels' Workstation or Desktop.

VirtualBox became part of the Sun virtualisation product when the company announced it was to acquire Germany's Innotek in February this year. The 20MB VirtualBox is currently being downloaded about 15,000 times a day, according to Sun.