I'd like to run a linux VM that let's me treat a disk exactly the same way a real Linux installation would - i.e.: I want to use it to prep disks that will then be transferred to and used on Linux boxes, so I want the entire disk formatted with ext4 partitions.
I've checked out Virtualbox, VMWare Fusion, and Parallels. Virtualbox and VMWare Fusion (5) seem to have some limited full disk support, but in a way that seems risky, fragile, and not recommended. (And possibly likely to accidentally overwrite data on the host drives if one is not extremely careful.) I couldn't find any info about how to do this with Parallels (8).
Additionally, the ext2/3 support in OSXFUSE seems relatively unstable for production use.
Is there a reliable way to do this?