SWsoft (soon to be renamed Parallels) today announced the release of the beta version of Parallels Server, the company’s hypervisor-powered server virtualization solution. Parallels Server is the first virtualization solution designed to run on Apple hardware, including Mac Pros and Xserves, and the first to run multiple copies of Mac OS X Server v10.5 Leopard on a single Apple computer. Parallels Server also runs on any x86 or 64-bit Windows or Linux-based server.
Parallels Server can be installed using the Parallels lightweight hypervisor, in which virtual machines run in tandem with a primary operating system, or “bare metal,” in which virtual machines run independently and are not dependent on a host operating system to function properly. Users can choose to load Parallels Server in lightweight hypervisor mode or bare-metal mode at installation. Parallels Server is the only virtualization product of any kind to afford users the flexibility to choose their implementation at install.
The software supports any combination of more than 50 different guest operating systems including Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 “Longhorn”, Red Hat Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux, and Sun Solaris simultaneously in isolated virtual machines. Customers running Parallels Server on Apple hardware also have the industry-first option of running Mac OS X Server in a virtual machine.
Parallels Server is the first server virtualization product to be designed uniquely for small and medium businesses and departments of large enterprises, which require solutions with less complexity in management and deployment. It is an ideal server consolidation tool that can substantially reduce hardware expenditures and operating costs, and simplify back-end IT management.
In addition, Parallels Server is the first to offer experimental support for Intel second-generation virtualization technology, Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d). By fully optimizing for hardware-enabled virtualization technologies like Intel VT-d, Parallels Server will not only deliver high levels of performance and reliability but also allows users to directly assign hardware resources such as a second graphics or network card to a virtual machine.
SWsoft’s Parallels Server is the first server virtualization software solution on Intel-based Apple hardware supporting Mac OS X Server, including Apple’s new Xserve and Mac Pro lines, which were announced yesterday. With Parallels Server, Mac OS X Server administrators will be able to run important, industry-standard, workloads such as SQL Server and Exchange Server at the same time as their Mac OS X Server applications.
The product is also the first ever to enable running Mac OS X Server, in a virtual machine. This gives users the ability to create “sandboxed” Mac OS X Server virtual machines in which they can test patches, new software, and experiment with new Apple hardware configurations, without compromising a production server.
Coupled with Parallels Desktop for Mac, the company’s award-winning desktop virtualization solution, Parallels Server presents businesses with a unique opportunity to standardize on Apple desktop and server hardware while still having access to applications written for any operating system.
Parallels Server joins SWsoft’s Virtuozzo Containers as an additional SWsoft server virtualization technology. The company will soon extend its virtualization management tools to manage both Virtuozzo Containers and Parallels virtual machines in one solution.
“Hundreds of thousands of customers are using Parallels virtualization software in their businesses and homes to get the most out of their Windows, Mac and Linux desktop computers and applications,” said Serguei Beloussov, CEO of SWsoft, in the press release. “Launching the Parallels Server beta is a key milestone in delivering on our vision of ‘Optimized Computing’ for servers and desktops across heterogeneous platforms.”
Key Features in the Parallels Server beta include:
• Run any combination of more than 50 different x86 and x64 guest operating in secure, high performing virtual machines, and have the option to run virtual machines in the headless mode via a “bare metal” hypervisor
• Take advantage of Parallels Server’s industry first capability to simultaneously run multiple copies of Mac OS X Server, Windows Server and Linux on the same Xserve
• Users running Parallels Server on Apple hardware also have the industry-first option to run Mac OS X Server in a virtual machine
• Remote control of the virtual machines via the Parallels Management Console
• Support for up to 64Gb of RAM on the host computer
• Full support for x64 primary and guest OSes, as well as 2-way SMP in virtual machines. The final release version will support up to 4-way SMP
• Multi-user access to the same virtual machine
• Support for ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) in virtual machines
• Completely open, fully scriptable APIs for customized management
• Full support for Intel VT-x, and experimental support for Intel VT-d
Parallels Server is currently in private beta testing, and the company is accepting registrations for new beta testers. For details about participating in the beta program, go to http://www.parallels.com/support/beta.