updated 09:25 am EDT, Thu April 6, 2006
Parallels Workstation 2.1
Following our note earlier this week, Parallels today announced that it is beginning beta testing for Parallels Workstation 2.1 for Mac OS X, "the first" virtualization software that gives Apple users the ability to simultaneously run Windows, Linux or any other operating system and their applications alongside Mac OS X on an Intel-based Mac. Virtualization software enables users to run multiple operating systems, like Linux or Windows, in isolated "virtual machines" directly on a Mac OS X desktop -- each virtual machine operates exactly like a stand-alone computer and contains its virtual hardware, including RAM, hard disk, processor, I/O ports, and CD/DVD-drives. The company is offering a free, fully-functional 30-day trial of Parallels Workstation 2.1 for Mac OS X. The company expects to release a final version of the product in the next several weeks. It requires Mac OS 10.4.4 (and is not compatible with PowerPC-based Macs). The Windows and Linux versions, introduced last month, are available for $50.
"Parallels Workstation for MacOS X gives Mac users a viable virtualization solution that will let them embrace widely-used operating systems like Windows and Linux without having to give up the power, usability and familiarity of their Macintosh," said Benjamin Rudolph, Parallels Marketing Manager. "This release underscores our commitment to building solutions that anyone, regardless of budget, technology savvy, or operating system can use to improve productivity and platform flexibility."
The solution leverages the Intel Core Duo, an x86-compatible architecture that allows the Parallels virtualization engine to "virtualize the hardware," enabling Mac users to build virtual machines running nearly any x86-compatible OS, including Windows 3.1-XP/2003, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, and MS-DOS.
Parallels' full support of Intel Virtualization Technology, which is included in most new Core Duo chipset, ensures that virtual machine performance is close to near-native and that each virtual machine is stable and completely isolated from other virtual machines and the host physical machine.