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Parallels aims to virtualize Leopard Server and help sell Xserves

post #1 of 11
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Parallels, maker of the popular Parallels Workstation software that enables Intel Mac users to run Windows or Linux within a virtualized environment, introduced its new Parallels Server. The new product, intended to enter beta in the next couple months, is designed to virtualize and manage multiple server operating systems on any Intel-compatible hardware.

When running on Apple's Xserve or other Intel-based Macs, Parallels Server also allows users to virtualize Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Server. That feature required a change to Apple's license agreement for Server, which formerly required that the software could only be run on a single system and only on Mac hardware. Apple relaxed the limitations to enable Parallels to develop the new server virtualization software. Leopard Server still requires that users acquire a license for each instance of Leopard Server running, and further requires that Leopard Server run only on Apple branded hardware.

Why Virtualize?

While most desktop users are familiar with the benefits of running Windows software on the Mac desktop, the Parallels Server product addresses an entirely different market. Virtualization in a server environment is typically used to test multiple instances of the same setup with a single changed variable. For example, a IT department could run multiple virtualized copies of Leopard Server, each with a different selection of System Updates, patches, or alternative configurations, in order to test for compatibility problems or conflicts. This can already be done by simply throwing hardware at the problem, but virtualization allows all of the different systems to run in parallel on the same hardware, dramatically saving the amount of hardware required to test different configurations.

The other obvious benefit offered by Parallels Server is the capacity to run multiple, different Server operating systems on the same hardware. This is of particular interest to Apple, which is clearly excited by the prospect of selling its Xserve hardware to IT shops that need to run a combination of Windows, Linux, Mac OS X Server, and other server operating systems.

Standardizing on Apple Hardware

Since 2006, the ability of MacBooks to run Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows both natively in Boot Camp or in a virtualized environment such as Parallels Workstation or VMWare's Fusion has resulted in a wide expansion of Apple's laptop sales. Thanks to Intel, Apple can now recommend its desktop and notebook hardware as the standard equipment for educational institutions and businesses running a variety of operating systems, and play up the firmware advantages offered by its Macs (from Firewire Target Mode to NetBoot to simplified hardware driver management) to make rolling out a flexible hardware pool easier, simpler, and more cost effective.

With Parallels Server, Apple will similarly be able to sell its Xserve line to a wider audience, and compete against hardware rivals HP and Dell, who currently lead in the server market by a wide margin. Apple's server tools for remote management and monitoring and its simplified, consistent server hardware line offers to sweeten the deal. Parallels Server also offers its own remote Management Console for handling the virtual servers it runs (below).

The Console can be used to manage multiple physical servers, which are listed in the sidebar. In this screenshot, there is only one physical server "localhost," running four virtual instances, including Leopard Server, Windows Server 2003, the 64-bit version of Windows Server, and the Linux distro CentOS. The number of instances a single server can run is largely constrained only by RAM. Parallels suggested allocating at least a gigabyte for each virtual server instance.



The Console tab in the Management Console (below) shows the graphical interface of the server. Parallels representatives reported that the company is working to offer a full command line console access tied to a flexible development kit designed to allow end users unlimited scripting and management features. Using the Detach Console icon, the Management Console can also float each virtual server's display in its own window, enabling administrators to monitor multiple virtualized environments at once.


post #2 of 11
What are they waiting for? We can't hope Parallels will be then free (like it is with products/services that Microsoft or Google buy ;-) but still, wouldn't be Apple so much happier to have this technology under their wings?
post #3 of 11
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Originally Posted by Skippi View Post

What are they waiting for? We can't hope Parallels will be then free (like it is with products/services that Microsoft or Google buy ;-) but still, wouldn't be Apple so much happier to have this technology under their wings?

Not a stellar revenue opportunity. Virtualization is something that is probably best handled by 3rd party vendors. Microsoft has their virtualization tools but vmware is the Gold Standard in most houses.

Virtualization is rarely free (if it's good). Even when you have multiple vms going you have an increase in software licensing costs.

I think Apple's content to let Parallels and vmware slug this one out.
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post #4 of 11
Wow, this is great stuff. I imagine a (not too distant) future where I can run an instance of Windows 2003 Server on an Xserve for the light stuff that I have a Dell PowerEdge rack mount doing now. I can't wait to see this final to try it out!
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post #5 of 11
More possibilities
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippi View Post

What are they waiting for? We can't hope Parallels will be then free (like it is with products/services that Microsoft or Google buy ;-) but still, wouldn't be Apple so much happier to have this technology under their wings?

I happen to agree, and can only guess that Apple doesn't purchase them (Yet), because of the LAWSUITS they WILL have to deal with if they do>

Now I know your saying "What in he$%^ll is this guy talking about???

Well first off, Apple gets suit for just about anything / everything they do. Can you imagen what will happen when EVERY computer in the WORLD could be an Apple, because Apples can run EVERY application available, for EVERY company using a computer, EVERY person who uses a computer.

Now I have said for many years, that Steve WOULD get back at Bill Gates, for stealing the Macintosh interface many years back, (I believe when MS announced Windows OS). What a better way to do it, then to have a computer that CAN run both Mac and Windows software seamlessly.

Talk about market share

A (generally) trouble free computer, running a (Generally) trouble free OS, on some REALLY slick computers, iPhones, iPods and who knows what else in the future and it ALL belongs to Steve Jobs / Apple.

I feel a movie coming on here

So, to get back on track.

Let Parallels and others fight, and perfect the software then Apple will purchase one if not all of them, and they will then "Rule the world"


Damn it might be just a bit to early, with no coffee for me.

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post #7 of 11
EMC already owns VMware so it's doubtful Apple would want to swallow such a big fish. Parallels is a decent product but we all know how poor their support is.

I'd say it's more likely that if Jobs wants a slice of the virtualization market then Apple will develop their own virtualization product in-house in secret since Apple prefers to develop things in-house. And this would probably be a wise move since Microsoft has snatched up their main virtualization product before (Virtual PC)
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Not a stellar revenue opportunity. Virtualization is something that is probably best handled by 3rd party vendors. Microsoft has their virtualization tools but vmware is the Gold Standard in most houses.

Well, such acquisitions are rarely (just) about revenue... and I doubt guys at Parallels are starving... but maybe you can't buy what's not for sale and people at Parallels know where is their valuation headed these days...

As far as antitrust is concerned, I doubt there will be a major problem, especially since WMWare is out competing on the same market... we will see.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Wow, this is great stuff. I imagine a (not too distant) future where I can run an instance of Windows 2003 Server on an Xserve for the light stuff that I have a Dell PowerEdge rack mount doing now. I can't wait to see this final to try it out!

Um, can't you do that NOW?

And while this might sell a few more xserves, if Apple really wanted to spur interest, they should allow it to run virtualized on non-Macs.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

Now I have said for many years, that Steve WOULD get back at Bill Gates, for stealing the Macintosh interface many years back, (I believe when MS announced Windows OS). What a better way to do it, then to have a computer that CAN run both Mac and Windows software seamlessly.

Talk about market share

How would that get back a t Bill Gates? Microsoft makes their money selling operating systems, not computers. If every computer sold next year was a Mac (extreme example, I know), Microsoft would still make a bundle if 96% of them were buying Vista or XP to virtualize...

Don't you still have to license the OSs you use?
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post #11 of 11
Does Parallels still drop a bunch of cryptically named files all over the Extensions folder?

Will it support as many CPU cores as are in the Mac? Can virtual machines use more than 2 cores?

If Parallels can virtualize OS X on Macs, would people be able to do the same thing in the Windows version? Licensing terms aside, are there any other measures to prevent PC users from running virtual copies of OS X using the Windows or Linux version of Parallels?
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