Parallels Slices Up Apple Xserve

The full version of Parallels Server for Mac is now available.

Parallels is now virtually slicing up the Apple Xserve.

The virtualization company - formally SWsoft - is releasing the full version of its Parallels Server for Mac June 17, which works with any of Apple's Intel-based hardware such as the Xserve or the Mac Pro. The virtualization software also works with Apple's OS X Leopard Server.

Parallels originally released the beta version of its virtualization software for Apple in January and the full version becomes available this week for a starting price of $999, which allows users to run the software with an unlimited amount of processing cores.

The company claims that uses can run up to 50 different guest operating systems with the Server for Mac virtualization software, including 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows Server, a variety of Linux operating systems and the OS X Leopard Server.

With the virtualization hypervisor software, users can either partition an Intel-based Xserve running the Mac OS into multiple virtual machines. Later, the company will offer a version of the software that runs the hypervisor directly - "bare metal" - on the hardware itself.

The Xserve Alternative

Virtualization is becoming more and more a standard feature within enterprise systems with vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell offering a hypervisor standard in many of their servers. The fact that Parallels and VMware, the leader in x86 virtualization, are interested in creating virtualization products specifically for Apple hardware might mean that IT departments can turn to the Xserve as an alternative for enterprise data centers, especially with Apple using quad-core Intel processors and the flexibility to run Linux, Windows and the Mac OS in virtual enviroments.

At the Macworld show in January, VMware also showed a yet unnamed virtualization product for the Mac OS X Leopard and the Xserve. Both companies also offer virtualization software for Apple's Mac. Vmware has its Fusion product, while Parallels offers its Desktop for Mac.

In addition to supporting the different operating systems, the Server for Mac product offers support for two-way and four-way symmetric multiprocessing, which should allow the hardware to support heavy workloads even in a virtual environment. Parallels is also supporting Intel's second-generation virtualization technology called VT-d (virtualization Technology for Directed I/O) as well as up to 32GB of physical RAM.

Parallels will also include its own Management Console that allows users to manage both virtual and physical servers remotely.