Feeds

Parallels could whip VMware or Microsoft, happier as Robin Hood

Ingram deal puts junior virtualiser in box seat to broker SaaS and cloud

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Parallels is best known for two things: a fine desktop hypervisor and the Virtuozzo containerised server-wrangler that many service providers use to dish out virtual machines to their customers.

Both businesses are doing well, but the company isn't leading with either.

Instead, it is now keenest on Parallels Automation, the billing and automation tools it built to help service providers deliver virtual machines and charge customers for them. Those tools have been enhanced so they can work with rival cloud management stacks. VMware, Microsoft, and OpenStack are all covered. Oracle's on the to-do list.

Software-as-a-service providers have been brought under the wing, too. CEO Birger Steen today told The Reg that over half of the service providers reselling Office 365 around the world use Parallels Automation to handle billing for Microsoft's cloudy productivity service. They do so because it already has hooks into their billing system and Microsoft was not keen to figure out how to integrate Office 365 with numerous telco backends.

Parallels makes that trick possible for any vendor: the company has an offering called “APS” that lets an application or SaaS vendor expose its product to Parallels Automation. Sreen said the likes of Symantec and Google already use APS and that he expects numerous other ISVs and SaaS providers will follow suit, because writing to the standard will be easier than coding direct interfaces to other billing and automation engines.

That this works on OpenStack is also significant: that effort currently lacks strong billing tools and Parallels is therefore in a strong position to help out service providers as they build on the open source cloud stack. That the list of service providers doing so includes small concerns called Cisco and IBM – you may have heard of both – means Parallels potential upside is considerable,

Steen is also confident Virtuozzo can kick VMware or any other hypervisor vendor's butt in a VMs-per-server contest, by 20 per cent or more.

So why isn't he directing that technology, and the company, at the data centre? Steen believes most CIOs don't mind that Hyper-V or ESX require a little more headroom than Parallels because a few under-utilised servers is a useful buffer. Most organisations are also like conventional hypervisors because they need to run multiple operating systems.

Not so service providers, who hate carrying unused capacity and are happiest when every virtual machine is identical to every other, at least until customers get a hold of them.

Steen thinks Parallels can do best by focussing on those who need what it does best, rather than going up against the virtualisation gorillas by trying to convince mainstream users to give it a whirl.

And Parallels has just signed up one of the biggest service providers arounds: Ingram Micro. The two last week announced a deal that will see Ingram use Parallels Automation to power its Cloud Marketplace, a portal resellers can use to arrange and manage subscriptions to all manner of cloud services. Steen thinks Ingram's choice of Parallels Automation is an eloquent endorsement of the toolset, because Ingram works with countless resellers around the world.

Steen said that by providing tools capable of helping Ingram offer box-drop-and-break-fix-focussed resellers the chance to instead become value-adders to cloud services he's doing something rather worthwhile. The CEO mentioned his pleasure at being able to help not only the channel, but the world's 150 million small businesses, to get cloudy. He's therefore growing the company and giving the world a leg-up, all without attracting negative attention from other virtualisers.

Which is not to say that every CIO can assume Parallels won't be calling it. Steen said some users like render farms or HPC operators are now sufficiently service-provider-like that the company's containerised approach to virtualisation makes sense for their bit barns.

But service providers of all sorts is where Steen feels most comfortable and feels Parallels can make the biggest difference, to the world and to its investors. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
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.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.