Parallels has introduced a bare-metal hypervisor for Apple's Xserve, offering greater performance for organisations running workloads on Apple server hardware, and opening up new opportunities for cloud providers to offer services based on OS X.
Available immediately, Parallels Server for Mac Bare Metal Edition enables customers to run Windows, Linux and OS X virtual machines side by side on a single Intel-based Xserve box, without the need for a host operating system.
"Parallels Server for Mac Bare Metal Edition provides a high performance solution that enables IT professionals and developers to capitalise on the power of Mac OS X Server while having the flexibility to run Windows and Linux workloads both on-premise and through the cloud," said Parallels chief executive Serguei Beloussov.
Server for Mac Bare Metal Edition is the first bare-metal hypervisor for Apple's Xserve, which follows on from Parallels Server for Mac, which shipped in 2008 as the first platform to support virtualisation of OS X.
The move also follows Parallel's introduction of Server 4 Bare Metal last year, which provides bare-metal virtualisation for standard servers based on Intel or AMD chips.
Parallels said that the two products share the same code base, but that running OS X as a guest operating system required special development, which precludes the standard version of Server 4 Bare Metal being able to run on the Apple Xserve.
In fact, Apple's licensing forbids the running of OS X on non-Apple hardware, so customers wishing to virtualise OS X workloads are tied to this platform.
While Parallels is perhaps best known for its virtualisation tools, the company markets various packages designed for hosting and cloud service providers, and Bare Metal Edition should perhaps be viewed in this context, as it makes it easier for such customers to operate multiple virtual machines in a datacentre.
For example, Server for Mac Bare Metal Edition supports what Parallels calls "hot migration", which is essentially the same as live migration in a VMware environment and means that virtual machines can be moved from one host server to another if an imminent hardware failure is detected, with minimal interruption to service.
However, another advantage of Server for Mac Bare Metal Edition is that it enables organisations with a mix of Windows, Mac and Linux servers to consolidate these onto a single hardware platform.
Parallels said that Server for Mac Bare Metal Edition licensing is identical to that of Server 4 Bare Metal, which is split into three editions.
Small Business edition is licensed at $499 (£323) per server, and includes Parallels Management Console for up to five servers.
Standard edition costs $999 (£647) per server, and includes Parallels Virtual Automation (formerly Parallels Infrastructure Manager) for management functions.
Advanced edition is licensed at $1,500 per CPU and includes Parallels Virtual Automation.
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