SWsoft on Wednesday announced the release of an beta version of Parallels Server, the company's server virtualization software. It's billed as the first virtualization software turn can run Mac OS X Server "virtualized" on the Mac.
Parallels Server is an enterprise product from the same company that brought the Mac world its first "virtual machine" software following Apple's transition to Intel microprocessors. It lets x86-based hardware, such as Apple's current crops of Macs, run Windows operating system software and applications.
Parallels Server extends the technology to server environments, enabling administrators to run Parallels Server either through a "hypervisor" that runs in tandem with a host operating system, or as software that runs on the "bare metal" of the server itself. SWsoft says Parallels Server can operate more than 50 different guest operating systems including various flavors of Linux and Windows, simultaneously, on isolated virtual machines hosted on the same hardware. The software supports Intel's "second generation" virtualization technology, called Virtualization Technology for Directed, or VT-d.
What's of significant interest to Mac IT professionals, however, is Parallels Server's ability to run Mac OS X Server "sandboxed," enabling admins to test patches, install new software and experiment without compromising production hardware and full network security.
It also supports Apple's just-introduced updated Mac Pro and Xserve hardware, according to the developer, thus allowing new Mac OS X Server configurations to support multiple virtualized operating systems simultaneously.