Mental Ward

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Beta 2 of Parallels Server Available

Parallels, the company formerly known as SWSoft, has released the second beta of Parallels Server. I'll be interested to get my hands on it and start playing around, as soon as my "extended loan" server from HP comes in (one of the key benefits of being a technology journalist is getting to play around with stuff for free. And that reminds me -- I'm always looking for product reviewers. If you, similarly, like tinkering with new products, I can get you free reviewer's copies of these programs. Let me know if you'd be interested. One caveat: you do need to be able to write, at least a little. We can work out those details.)

Server is Parallels' attempt to compete with VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Virtual Iron and other traditional hypervisor vendors. Parallels has a very cool OS virtualization product called Virtuozzo, which essentially clones copies of an OS, like Windows Server 2003 or Linux, keeping each clone in its own container. The trick, though, is that each VM is based on the host OS; this being the case, it doesn't need to emulate hardware for each VM. The upshot is that Virtuozzo offers near-native performance for each VM, since hardware emulation incurs a (sometimes serious) performance penalty. You can load a lot more VMs on a server with OS virtualization than you can with server (also known as hardware) virtualization, and with no performance hit; the downside is that you can only have one OS per server -- no mix 'n match with OS virtualization.

Parallels, wisely understanding that making a more standard server virtualization product will allow it to offer a more comprehensive virtualization story than its rivals -- since it will have server and OS virtualization offerings -- went to work on Parallels Server. It shouldn't be too much longer before we see a shipping product. In the meantime, if you work with Virtuozzo or have used the earlier beta of Server, I'd like to hear from you.

Posted by Keith Ward on 03/07/2008 at 12:48 PM


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