Parallels 4 to tout OS X Server VM, dual-core, new interface

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Competition between virtualization software developers is about to kick into overdrive thanks to the ongoing development Parallels Desktop 4, which people familiar with the update say will significantly expand hardware and software support as well as deliver a redesigned interface.



Those aware of the changes say the new release will be Parallels' first to make good on promise made in early January that it would enable virtualization of Mac OS X Server on Macs already running the operating system, making use of a change in licensing terms with Leopard's release late last year that permits more than one copy to run at the same time.



Such features have been frequently requested by IT administrators, who on Linux and Windows have already been able to segregate individual apps away from the main operating system in the event of a crash or a security breach.



The move is just one of the steps Parallels is taking to keep up with and potentially outrun rival VMware, which unleashed 'experimental' support for virtualization of OS X Server earlier this week as part of its Fusion 2.0 virtualization product.



Parallels will also make a bid to challenge Fusion 2.0 in performance category, those people familiar with the update claim. A tweaked virtualization engine by itself should provide a speed boost, but the new Parallels 4.0 is also expected to add long-awaited support for assigning two CPU cores and up to 8GB of RAM to one virtual machine. Support for DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2 graphics is also present in early betas of the software.



In addition, Parallels is also working to support full power management with ACPI, or advanced configuration and power interface, which should translate into smoother shut downs and suspensions of the virtual machine.



Just as important may be a planned redesign of the interface, people familiar with the software say. Users of 4.0 will reportedly have access to a simple list of virtual machines that includes favorite apps on each machine. They'll also see the settings for the virtual machine at any time and customize the toolbar to have favorite actions show up as buttons. Business-class users should likewise have more control with command-line access through Terminal.



The virtual machine configuration.







Parallels 4's toolbar (top) and status bar (bottom).



The option to enable two cores per virtual machine.



Those familiar with Parallels' plans also allude to a handful of useful but more generalized improvements, such as support for 2TB virtual machines, the ability to resize some virtual machines, and 64-bit guest operating systems.



When the upgrade will be released to the public isn't clear, though the early news is arriving the same week that VMware's shipped Fusion 2.0, which delivers on much of the same feature set.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    Woohoo! At last support for more than one core!



    The interface looks pretty nice too (compared to Parallels 3).
  • Reply 2 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sparcd View Post


    The interface looks pretty nice too (compared to Parallels 3).



    Looks like the UI still isn?t done in Cocoa... (ducks)



    Dual-core support should have been there from day one, but it needs to support 8-core Mac Pros. How many Intel Macs shipped are dual+ core? More than 90%?
  • Reply 3 of 26
    As a fairly new Parallels customer, what is their typical upgrade pricing?
  • Reply 4 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Laughingboy View Post


    As a fairly new Parallels customer, what is their typical upgrade pricing?



    They are really just playing catch-up to the current VMWare release. I like both products, VMWare seems to be more stable for Windows XP, I have had instances of a Parallels Windows VM just dying, not able to complete the startup process, and no real way to correct the issue.



    On the positive side, Parallels did seem a bit more resource friendly, although the latest VMWare seems to have enhanced performance.



    My 2 cents.
  • Reply 5 of 26
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Now for this server virtualization feature Apple should be buying this company. That's were corporations are heading more and more, virtulized servers, to save on the electric bills at the data centers. My company, with 1200+ servers, is going that route on a 10th of our systems by the end of this year.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    So can either Parallels or Fusion be hacked to install a non-server version of OS X. There are things I'd like to test in OS X which I don't need Server for and which may false answers since the builds won't be completely the same.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    Now for this server virtualization feature Apple should be buying this company. That's were corporations are heading more and more, virtulized servers, to save on the electric bills at the data centers. My company, with 1200+ servers, is going that route on a 10th of our systems by the end of this year.



    Hmm... I'm not so sure that buying one of these companies would be good for Apple. Do they sell enough volume to make it worthwhile? If they bought one then it could effectively destroy the other's product when right now their is great competition between them that benefits Mac users, and transitively Apple.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    akacakac Posts: 510member
    Client and Server *are* identical in every aspect of the kernel and OS. The differences are in what comes in addition to server and removal of some things that conflict (like personal file sharing).
  • Reply 8 of 26
    OK. I'm new to this. Not new to Mac by decades, but new to needing to run Windows (which I hate) on a Mac.



    Does Parallels require me to buy a copy of Windows as does Boot Camp?
  • Reply 9 of 26
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Michael0919 View Post


    Does Parallels require me to buy a copy of Windows as does Boot Camp?



    Yes, it does. The only way to get around installing Windows is to use a WINE implementation, like CrossOver. Depending on what you need Windows for, CrossOver may be ideal as it will use less resources than having to run an app inside Windows inside an app on OS X.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rbonner View Post


    They are really just playing catch-up to the current VMWare release. I like both products, VMWare seems to be more stable for Windows XP, I have had instances of a Parallels Windows VM just dying, not able to complete the startup process, and no real way to correct the issue.



    On the positive side, Parallels did seem a bit more resource friendly, although the latest VMWare seems to have enhanced performance.



    My 2 cents.





    Parallels files are cryptically named and scattered all over the Extensions folder, like Windows "DLL Hell". Has this changed with the new version?



    Fusion hides settings from users and forces users to manually edit config files in order to change certain settings, such as renaming a VM. Has this changed with the new version?



    Neither of these applications display a Num Lock indicator in the status bar. This feature is needed because Apple keyboards do not have a Num Lock light, so it's not always obvious what the numeric keypad is going to do in these applications.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    I'm presently running Win XP via a 100 MB boot camp partition. Would I have to wipe out this whole partition including XP OS and all my app's and other programs to switch to this visualization appl. ????
  • Reply 12 of 26
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dmgceo View Post


    I'm presently running Win XP via a 100 MB boot camp partition. Would I have to wipe out this whole partition including XP OS and all my app's and other programs to switch to this visualization appl.





    No, you can Boot Camp, Fusion and Parallels on the same system.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    Parallels is a breath of fresh air. It is robust and does what it does very well. It makes backing up a PC, sharing files, and printing a snap. Such a change from the VPC days. The new interface looks great.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Laughingboy View Post


    As a fairly new Parallels customer, what is their typical upgrade pricing?



    I'm interested in this too.



    In particular - my brother is running Parallels v2. He mentioned a couple of days ago he wants to upgrade (he has Leopard, and v2 has problems). If he buys v3 now does he get a free upgrade? Should he wait?.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    Is it possible to transfer all files from a boot camp partition over to Fusion or Parallel and then delete the boot camp partition????
  • Reply 16 of 26
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dmgceo View Post


    Is it possible to transfer all files from a boot camp partition over to Fusion or Parallel and then delete the boot camp partition????



    Yes, you can create a VM of your Boot Camp partition, providing you have the space available, and then remove the partition.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    Fusion hides settings from users and forces users to manually edit config files in order to change certain settings, such as renaming a VM. Has this changed with the new version?



    Neither of these applications display a Num Lock indicator in the status bar. This feature is needed because Apple keyboards do not have a Num Lock light, so it's not always obvious what the numeric keypad is going to do in these applications.



    @Haggar



    1. Yes indeedy, in VMware Fusion 2, you can rename a VM, add notes to it, and so forth right from the Virtual Machine Library.



    2. My Mac's keyboard has a num lock light. Both my MacBook Pro and the iMac keyboard. Am I missing something?



    ~VMware Fusion Product Marketing
  • Reply 18 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dmgceo View Post


    Is it possible to transfer all files from a boot camp partition over to Fusion or Parallel and then delete the boot camp partition????



    @dmgceo



    VMware Fusion 2 plays well with Boot Camp in two ways:



    1. You can run VMware Fusion 2 right on top of it, letting your run your Boot Camp partition side by side with your Mac. But you don't get "full virtual" features like the ability to suspend/resume your VM and snapshot it.



    2. You can actually import your Boot Camp partition right from VMware Fusion 2. Essentially, you can suck in the Boot Camp partition to run as a virtual machine, which is nice because you get access to things like Suspend/Resume, Snapshots, and AutoProtect.



    This is cool because if you assigned, say, 15gb to your Boot Camp partition, but only are using 5gb, that other 10gb is unavailable. If you suck it into a VM, you can reclaim that space, because the VM is resident on your Mac partition.



    Read more here: http://www.vmware.com/products/fusio...es.html#c25829



    Hope that helps.



    VMware Fusion Product Marketing
  • Reply 19 of 26
    lorrelorre Posts: 396member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fusionrocks View Post


    @Haggar



    1. Yes indeedy, in VMware Fusion 2, you can rename a VM, add notes to it, and so forth right from the Virtual Machine Library.



    2. My Mac's keyboard has a num lock light. Both my MacBook Pro and the iMac keyboard. Am I missing something?



    ~VMware Fusion Product Marketing



    Do you mean the caps lock light? I believe Haggar means the num lock that is common on PC keyboards which changes the functionality of the numeric keypad. But I don't think Mac keyboards are even capable of sending the right signals for the extra functionality PC keyboards have when numlock is turned off. Perhaps he would like a virtual numlock for some reason? I've never met a person that turns his numlock off in real life though.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lorre View Post


    Do you mean the caps lock light? I believe Haggar means the num lock that is common on PC keyboards which changes the functionality of the numeric keypad. But I don't think Mac keyboards are even capable of sending the right signals for the extra functionality PC keyboards have when numlock is turned off. Perhaps he would like a virtual numlock for some reason? I've never met a person that turns his numlock off in real life though.







    The num lock key does have a light. On the MacBook Pro keyboard, anyway.
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