Virtualization Technology News and Information
Interview: VMBlog finds out the latest on Parallels

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Benjamin Rudolph, the Marketing Manager at Parallels, Inc., the company that brought Microsoft Windows and other operating systems to the new Intel-based Mac platform, in the form of a virtual machine.

Parallels has been getting a lot of good press lately for the amazing virtualization product brought to the Mac, so I wanted to find out more about this company, their products, and their future.

----------------------------------------------------- What type of office atmosphere does Parallels offer its employees?  Is it a fun loving environment like it seems from the outside looking in?  Or is it all heads down, hardcore programming to crank out the next software release?

Ben Rudolph: It’s some of both. We work hard, but we have a great time in the process. If you love what you do and really like the people you work with, work seems a lot less like work.


VMBlog: Mac users are known to be very vocal, yet extremely loyal.  How do you find they compare to diehard Linux and Windows users?  Keeping in mind some Mac users also use other platforms.

BR: In the interest of not playing favorites, I’ll say that its been great working with everyone from the Windows, Linux and Mac communities! Everyone’s very loyal to their preferred platform, and have been very helpful in letting us know what they like, what they don’t, and what they want to see in future releases. The Mac community has been especially supportive of Parallels; we had more than 100,000 testers that participated in our beta program, and the product that’s available today is a direct result of the support we’ve received from them. Even now that we’re in final release, we’re still receiving lots of great feedback about the product and what Mac users want in the next version.


VMBlog: Parallels is being accepted very well by the Mac market.  How are sales going in a market that has somewhere around 2-3% market share of the overall PC market?  And are you as happy with the penetration you have received into the PC desktop market?

BR: Sales are very strong across the board. Of course, the Mac product is our “flagship” right now and we’re seeing especially strong sales there. That being said, our elevated presence due to the Mac release has helped drive sales on our other platforms.


VMBlog: No matter which virtualization platform is used, people always ask about virtualized graphics support.  Do you get a lot of questions centered around gaming or high-end graphic support?

BR: Our ultimate goal is to make Parallels virtual machines identical to “real” machines, and that involves including 3D graphics so people can play games and use high-end rendering software without any performance hit. It’s something that we’re actively working on and hope to include it soon so users can run high-end 3D games just as easily as they can run critical productivity apps like Outlook and Project.


VMBlog: With the desktop virtualization products that you currently support, what are some of the top feature requests that end users are asking for?

BR: We’ve had a lot of requests for virtual SMP support and USB 2.0, and both of those will be in the next version of Parallels. We’re also working on a number of booting options that we’re hoping to include as well, and continue to work on the 3D graphics support that I discussed earlier.


VMBlog: Parallels has stated that they are releasing a server class product sometime in the second half of 2006.  Can you offer any new details on this project?

BR: We’re going to be releasing our Parallels Server and Parallels Enterprise Server products in beta later this year, with an intended GA launch in early 2007. Parallels Server is going to be a powerful, out of the box server virtualization product that is designed to give growing companies access to the same virtualizationtechnologies that the “big boys” are using, at a price that won’t cripple their budget. Parallels Enterprise Server is a high-end server virtualization product that is designed for larger companies with significant server resources. This product will include a number of our productivity enhancing management tools and offer several high-end features like dynamic load balancing and automatic fail-over protection. They’re going to be a great compliment to the client-side virtualization solutions that we have now.


VMBlog: We've all seen the Apple commercials where Parallels virtualization is officially named in the commercial spot.  Is Parallels in discussion with Apple on how their upcoming virtualization plans in OS X 10.5 Leopard will impact your product?

BR: Apple hasn’t given us any insight in to what - if anything - is coming in Leopard, so we’ll have to see what Steve says about it at WWDC next week. Speaking of WWDC, Parallels will be there in full force, so look for us in our bright orange shirts if you want to talk virtualization!


VMBlog: With all of the articles being published where VMware claims to have an in-house virtualization product for the Mac OS, are you worried about the virtualization market leader eventually bringing in a competitive product to the Mac?  Or with the positive response that you've already received from beta users/customers, along with strong sales and a positive Apple marketing campaign, will they be too late to pose a threat?

BR: You don’t win a race by looking over your shoulder; you win it by focusing on the course ahead and running like hell. What I mean by that is that we can’t control what the other guys do, so we just have to focus on building the best desktop virtualization solutions available. I’m confident that our ease of use, great price point, and always-expanding feature set will keep us in the lead regardless of whoever else enters the Mac market.


VMBlog: You guys came out swinging, first with a PC Desktop product, then a Mac Desktop product, and then offering a compressor utility... do you have any other releases that you can share with us?  What about a possible P2V solution to help allow Apple to convert Windows users.

BR: We’re planning an update for all of our workstation-class products in the next few weeks. Look for a major upgrade by years end, as well as the introduction of our Server-class products.


VMBlog: VMware has built-up quite a collection of machines using their VMware Appliance Challenge, and Microsoft VPC users have an extensive investment in their own machines, is there any plan for Parallels to support other machine formats in a similar way that VMware does?

BR: Supporting other formats is something that we’re definitely looking into. Parallels Compressor is a great first step towards that. Compressor is a disk management tool that works not just with Parallels products, but also with VMWare Workstation, VMWare Server and GSX Server, Microsoft Virtual Server and Microsoft Virtual PC. We’ll be rolling out other “universal” tools over the next several months that will help anyone using any virtualization solution get the most out of their investment.


VMBlog: What does Parallels think about VMware and Microsoft Virtualization standards efforts?  What standards are you adopting/supporting/promoting, and why?

BR: I don’t think there is a real standard in virtualization right now so there’s nothing to accept or reject. We’re going to continue focusing on building products based on our own code, but as a noted before, we’re going to be building tools that work with every major solution, not just our own, so that as the market grows and standards do develop, we’ll always have a seat at the table.


VMBlog: I've read the rumors about Apple being interested in acquiring Parallels, but the latest rumors are that Microsoft might be willing to buy Parallels instead of updating VPC for Intel, has Microsoft contacted you or vice-versa?

BR: Right now, we’re just happy with Parallels being Parallels! We’re having a great time working with the Windows, Linux and Mac communities and are just going to focus on building the best products possible. Right now, any rumors of acquisition are just that...rumors. If something concrete does start to move forward, you’ll definitely hear about it.


VMBlog: With the recent announcement of Parallels Desktop for Mac being made available in brick and mortar stores, some people have questioned why?  In this day and age of cyberspace and being able to download software directly, what was the company's interest or draw to getting the product on the shelf?  And have you seen an increase in sales from doing so?

BR: We had a number of potential customers who said that they wanted to have a “real product”; something that they could hold in their hand and put on their shelf. Also, by offering a retail product in leading retailers like the Apple Store, Staples, Office Depot,, Micro Center, Fry’s and others, we’re able to get Parallels Desktop in front of a huge number of Mac users who may not have found us online.


As you can see, Parallels is still moving full speed ahead.  The company offers virtualization platforms and utilities across multiple operating systems, and it sounds like more are on their way. 

Once again, I'd like to thank Ben Rudolph for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak with me. 

To find out more about Parallels and their products, keep checking  And also, check out the company's Web site, as well as the company's official blog site.

Published Thursday, August 03, 2006 6:49 PM by David Marshall
Filed under:
William Murphy - August 4, 2006 4:58 PM
Wow. That is really good news. I am interested in the graphics discussion. I hope they are able to pull it off. It has been one of my biggest complaints about virtualization in general.
Danny Treadway - August 4, 2006 10:57 PM
Good interview. What is going to happen now that VMWare sounds like it will release a product for the MAC?
John - August 7, 2006 7:39 AM
Easy, they compete and make better products.  =) - Virtualization Information - (Author's Link) - March 25, 2007 5:46 PM

TechIQ recently reported that SWsoft was going to be creating a server class product for Mac OS X. The

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