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Parallels Server for Mac detailed ahead of WWDC preview

With a customer base now in the hundreds of thousands, virtualization software developer Parallels Inc. on Thursday will offer WWDC attendees and members of the media the first preview of its enterprise-level Parallels Server solution designed for use with Apple's Xserve line of server hardware.

In the same way that Parallels Desktop for Mac allows Mac users to run Linux and versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system, Parallels Server for Mac will provide IT admins the ability to run OS X Server, Microsoft Exchange Servers running on Windows, and Apache running on Linux servers, all at the same time.

"It speaks volumes to our commitment to the Mac market and shows that we're ready to provide the world's only top-to-bottom, server and desktop, virtualization solution for the Apple community," Benjamin Rudolph, Director of Communications at Parallels, told AppleInsider. "Along with our Parallels Server for Windows/Linux offering (and its Workstation for Windows/Linux desktop counterpart) we're gearing up to provide a complete set of virtualization solutions for the SMB, government and education markets, as well as a new avenue of approach for enterprises that already have virtualization in place, and are looking for an easier, more cost effective approach."

Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, Rudolph will be holding continuous demonstrations —9:30am, 11:00am, 12:30pm, 2:00pm, and 3:30pm —of an alpha version of Parallels Server for Mac. The previews will take place within "The Olympic Room" at The Westin hotel in San Francisco (Market St.). Presentations are open to members of the media as well as paid WWDC attendees.

Robust Server Capabilities

Parallels Server will include a number of enterprise-class features, like true virtual SMP (i.e., multi-core virtual servers), type-1 hypervisor, strong support for popular server OSes like Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux distributions, local and browser-based management tools, and a completely new, management-focused interface that makes working with multiple real and virtual servers easy and intuitive.

Open APIs

Unlike competitive solutions, Parallels says it will be "completely opening" its APIs and providing a powerful SDK to enable third-party developers and IT departments to fully leverage virtualization technology in their applications and tools. "Providing a complete open API ensure companies can leverage custom tools or ISVs can easily manage Parallels virtual servers as well as servers from other vendors," the company said in a statement. "Our community has always been very important to us, and we feel that by opening the API and providing all of the necessary resources to build great tools, we'll be helping the community get the most out of our Server offerings."

Rudolph said Parallels' built-in tools were developed using the very same tools now being offering to the community. He added that the company will also make a number of its in-house developed Server management tools open source so that anyone, even those not using Parallels virtualization, can get more out of their existing server virtualization infrastructure.

Powerful Management from SWsoft's Virtuozzo Tools

Parallels' parent company, SWsoft, has their own virtualization solution called Virtuozzo, which virtualizes at the OS level. This means that a real server can run multiple instances of the same operating system in extremely high-performing, totally isolated "virtual environments".

"Virtuozzo is an excellent enterprise-class virtualization solution used by thousands of companies worldwide, and its backed up by a very sophisticated, very comprehensive set of management tools that handle server grouping, group activity and prioritization, and automation," Rudolph said. "These tools are already being optimized via our SDK to work with Parallels Server, which means that from a single console, IT admins will be able to manage both their Parallels and Virtuozzo virtual servers."

Parallels Desktop for Mac

Also on Thursday, Parallels will be showing off the latest release of Parallels Desktop for Mac —version 3.0 —which delivers 3D hardware support and tighter integration between Windows and the Mac OS X operating systems.

The update to the $80 virtualization solution also introduces cross OS application and file integration with Parallels SmartSelect, coherence 2.0 with shared folders and UI enhancements, expanded support for USB 2.0 devices, and significant improvements to audio quality.