Benefiting from the management tools built around Virtuozzo, the company's OS partitioning solution for Linux and Windows, Parallels Server takes aim at the 800-pound gorilla of server virtualization (VMware ESX) and the looming elephant (Microsoft Hyper-V) by providing a product that supports both “bare metal” and “lightweight hypervisor” runtime models. In the former, Parallels will boot a scaled-down Linux kernel that acts as the hypervisor layer upon which you can build your VM (the ESX model). In the latter, Parallels will install a combination device driver/service on a host OS (the Hyper-V model), allowing you to build your VM infrastructure atop an existing server platform.
Parallels was kind enough to allow us a sneak peak at an early beta build of Parallels Server. Installing the Windows hosted version onto an existing Windows Server 2003 system was straightforward, and it didn’t even require a reboot. Once installed, Parallels Server presented me with a well-crafted management UI that allowed me to easily create and configure new VMs.
The “Add Virtual Machine” wizard was particularly well thought-out, providing all of the usual configuration settings (number of CPUs, memory size, disk configuration) as well as prompting for optional – yet important – parameters, such as which CD drive or ISO image to use as the Guest OS installation source. All of these elements worked together to streamline the VM creation process and help get my Parallels Server configuration up and running quickly.
Randall's experiences and get the server beta here.