Parallels has released Parallels Server for Mac ($999), a virtualization server for Mac OS X aimed at enterprise uses. Parallels Server for Mac is a package of tools, including a hypervisor that runs on top of Mac OS X or in "bare-metal" mode, without a host operating system. The hypervisor is designed for running multiple servers of different types and operating systems for the purpose of server consolidation and the streamlining of server deployment and server testing.
Parallels Server is the first virtualization server for Mac OS X, but is also the first virtualization product to run Mac OS X Server in a virtual machine. It can also run Windows and Linux servers at the same time.
Parallels Server is optimized for running multiple servers on high-end Apple hardware. It supports 4-way symmetric multi-processing, allowing administrators to assign 4 virtual cores for each virtual machine. It supports Intel's Virtualization Technology (Intel VT-x) used in the Mac's processors, supports 32 GB of RAM, and supports ACPI BIOS. Parallels recommends that Parallels Server be run on an Intel-powered Xserve or a Mac Pro.
Parallels Server for Mac also includes several tools for creating or importing virtual machines to run on the hypervisor. VM Assistant is a wizard-driven tool that can create a new virtual machine with a few clicks of the mouse. You can also import a virtual machine from Parallels Desktop, VMware, and Microsoft.
The package also includes server deployment tools to roll out multiple servers and applications in virtual machines. Parallels Server for Mac includes the graphical Parallels Management Console for administration of multiple servers.
Parallels' rival, VMware, has said that VMware Fusion 2.0 will support running Leopard Server in a virtual machine. Last week, VMware said that OS X Server support would be included in an upcoming Beta 2 of the Fusion 2.0 release. However, VMware would not comment as to whether it would be shipping a server version of Fusion at some point.
If you've tried Parallels Server
what you think of it.
(For reports on the desktop version, see our Parallels Desktop Tips and Reports page.)