Release: Parallels Server 1.0

Parallels, formerly known as SWsoft, has finally released its own hypervisor.

Parallels Server 1.0 is the first server virtualization platform able to officially support Apple machines (both Xserve and Mac Pro) as bare-metal hardware and Mac OS X 10.5 Server as guest operating system.

The product, which requires Intel VT and AMD-V CPU enhancements, features:

  • support for 32bit and 64bit VMs
  • support for up to 4 virtual CPUs per VM
  • support for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X (only on Apple hardware) guest operating systems
  • support for up to 32GB of physical RAM
  • a management console and CLI which can be scripted and extended through Python


Additionally, Parallels Server includes the physical to virtual (P2V) and V2V migration tool already seen in consumer products: Transporter.

Today Parallels releases only the Mac OS version and this creates some confusion: if the product is a bare-metal hypervisor why it’s marketed in two different versions?

The company official announcement doesn’t help at all:

(Parallels Server) Supports virtualizing Mac OS X Leopard Server in a virtual machine running on a Mac OS X Leopard Server platform

This statement describes a hosted solution and not a bare-metal one.

Maybe Parallels Server adopts an architecture similar to the one used by Xen-based (like Citrix XenServer or Sun xVM Server), Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors.
In such architectures the so called parent partition (the first VM booted by the hypervisor) has to run a specific guest opeating which controls and manage the interaction between the other VMs and the physical hardware.

In this case Parallels probably offers two versions of its hypervisor, one for the Apple market, which launches Mac OS X Server in the parent partition, and one for the other markets, which launches Linux (or Windows). will update this post with more details about the product architecture as soon as possible.

This version is priced $999 for an unlimited number of cores.
The release timeframe and pricing for the non-Mac OS version is unknown but should follow soon.

The Virtualization Industry Roadmap has been updated accordingly.