updated 03:30 pm EST, Wed January 9, 2008
Parallels Server beta
SWsoft today released the beta version of Parallels Server, the company's hypervisor-powered server virtualization software. Parallels Server is the first virtualization solution designed to run on Apple hardware -- including Mac Pros and Xserves -- and is the first to run multiple copies of Mac OS X Server 10.5 Leopard on a single Apple computer, according to the company. Parallels Server is available in private beta testing, and the company is accepting registrations for new beta testers.
Users can install Parallels Server with Parallels lightweight hypervisor, in which virtual machines run in tandem with a primary operating system, or 'bare-metal,' without depending on a host operating system to function properly.
"Parallels Server is the only virtualization product of any kind to afford users the flexibility to choose their implementation at install," the company said.
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 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 easier to use 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."
The new software is also 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 is designed to deliver high levels of performance and reliability while also allowing users to directly assign hardware resources such as a second graphics or network card to a virtual machine.
Parallels Server beta supports remote control of virtual machines via the Parallels Management Console, offers support for up to 64GB of memory on the host computer, and works with x64 primary and guest operating systems as well as 2-way SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processing) in virtual machines. Parallels also notes that the final release will support up to 4-way SMP.
Multi-user access to the same virtual machine accompanies support for ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) in virtual machines, and the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are entirely open as well as scriptable for customized management.
The application also supports Intel VT-x, and offers experimental support for Intel VT-d.