Feeds

Parallels unfurls desktop virt for Windows, Linux

A haven for XP Mode refugees

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Virtualization software maker Parallels has unveiled a desktop hypervisor for Windows and Linux machines.

The Parallels Desktop 4 for Windows and Linux edition comes hot on the heels of a special bundle of its Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac hypervisor aimed at helping customers make the switch from Windows PCs to Macs. And it's similar to the Parallels Workstation Extreme edition announced in April that was tuned specifically for Hewlett-Packard's "Gunnison" Z800 workstation, which uses Intel's quad-core Xeon 5500 processors and supports the nVidia Quadro FX 3800, 4800, and 5800 graphics cards running at near-native speeds even in a virtual environment.

All three desktop hypervisors are based on the same code base that was originally created for Intel-based Mac machines. That base Parallels hypervisor is a type 2 hypervisor, which means that the hypervisor runs atop of an operating system (Mac OS, Windows, or Linux) that then supports multiple virtual machines. This type 2 hypervisor is distinct from the type 1, or bare-metal, hypervisor that El Reg told you Parallels was working on back in March for servers and, presumably, for desktops.

In the meantime, Parallels wants to squeeze as much dough as it can out of the Desktop 4 code base, which has been given the name FastLane after some performance tweaks allowed the hypervisor to run "up to eight times faster than ever before." If that is the case, then the prior versions must have been truly awful in terms of performance, and it might not be something Parallels wants to mention.

Anyway, the FastLane hypervisor makes use of Intel's VT and Advanced Micro Devices' AMD-V virtualization-assisting electronics (which is another way of saying that it requires it, so watch out for older x86 and x64 desktops). And it can run atop Windows or Linux hosts, either 32-bit or 64-bit versions. (Obviously, if you want to run a 64-bit operating system in a VM, you need to have a 64-bit host. 32-bit VMs work on either 32-bit or 64-bit hosts).

The FastLane hypervisor within the Windows and Linux variant of Desktop 4 can span as many as eight processor cores - as much as a Xeon 5500 workstation requires, but short of the twelve cores an "Istanbul" Opteron 2400 workstation can have - and it can allocate 8 GB of main memory to each VM. Each VM can have 2 TB of virtual disk space and up to 16 virtual Ethernet adapters.

In addition to the hypervisor, Desktop 4 for Windows and Linux includes a feature called Transporter, which converts a PC image running on a physical machine or a PC image in another VM format to the Parallels Desktop format. The package also includes a feature called Compressor, which defragments and compresses the files relating to VMs on the PC to cut down on storage requirements, and Image Tool, a virtual disk formatting and sizing tool that can expand, split, and merge virtual drives. The Desktop 4 tool also has a templating feature that allows desktop administrators to pre-configure VMs with software so they can be propagated across the company and a directory of online virtual appliances that Parallels has packaged up.

Parallels is hoping that future Windows 7 customers are so frustrated by the Windows XP mode Microsoft is putting into Windows 7 that they decide to run Windows 7 as a host and Windows XP in a VM proper rather than the cut-down hypervisor Microsoft is using as an emulation environment for XP applications.

Parallels is offering an upgrade from its prior Parallels Workstation 2.2 versions for Windows and Linux, although it is not clear at press time what the upgrade price is. Desktop 4 for Windows and Linux is available today, and it costs $80 a pop in the United States and £55 in the United Kingdom. The hypervisor is only available in English, by the way. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Do you spend ages wasting time because of a bulging rack?
No more cloud-latency tea breaks for you, users! Get a load of THIS
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.