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Desktop Virtualization: News Item

Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac Adds Enterprise Edition

Parallels aims to help enterprise IT departments support Windows applications across their Macs

On Monday July 11th Parallels introduced an Enterprise edition of the well-known desktop virtualization product Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac.

Before diving into the new edition, let's recap Parallels Desktop for Mac.  Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Apple Mac computers are quickly making headway into businesses of all sizes.  Unfortunately many of the existing business applications in use today require a Microsoft Windows operating environment. IT departments must figure out how to support Windows programs across the Mac computers yet maintain compliance with all of their corporate directives.

Apple does provide a way to run Windows on a Mac using Apple Boot Camp.  The drawback is that the user must reboot the computer every time they want to switch between Mac applications and Windows programs, not the sexiest of solutions.   Can you imagine your CEO rebooting his MacBook Air a dozen times a day to switch between Windows and Mac applications?  This is the problem that Parallels Desktop for Mac solves.  It allows Mac users to run both Windows programs and Mac Applications side by side without having to reboot.

Up until today, Parallels Desktop for Mac has mostly been focused on the consumer market.  This means that previously the installation and overall experience of the software has been optimized for a single user, physically sitting at their computer & installing the software.  This new Enterprise edition marks a significant improvement for Parallels and opens new opportunities for IT teams.

Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition is targeted directly at the Enterprise IT administrator.  Parallels states that this new edition will help IT administrators to streamline their mass deployments, improve their ability to satisfy endpoint policies and easily fit into existing business processes.  So what does the new edition actually include?

A unified license key is the foundation of the commercial offering.  Parallels has created a way to use a single license key to activate and authorize copies of the software for the enterprise deployment.  During installation this key tells the software to act like the enterprise edition which in turn changes multiple aspects of the software. Most noticeably are the removal of components found in the consumer version that caused policy compliance issues for enterprises.   Once the software identifies itself as the enterprise edition, access to the installation option for 3rd party software trials is removed as well as the individual registration requirement.  The business user will no longer be directly contacted by Parallels through in product notifications, and the "request help" menu action will plainly tell the user to contact their company help desk or it can be customized by the IT department to show a company specific URL.

In addition, the Enterprise edition enables the administrator to configure the software update policy to meet the specific requirements of their company.  The Parallels software updates can be turned off, left as is or be re-directed to a company managed "local software update server".  This gives organizations the control they need over software updates and upgrades to help maintain their software update policy compliance.

As part of the Enterprise focus, the IT administrator gets a new tool and a detailed mass deployment guide to help create the deployment packages that can be distributed through standard software delivery mechanisms such as Apple Remote Desktop or the JAMF Casper Suite.  The mass deployment tool enables the administrator to install and configure Parallels Desktop as well as deploy "gold image" virtual machines & their configurations all in one fell swoop.

The new software solution is sold as an Enterprise Subscription Agreement that includes term based licensing (1yr, 2yr or 3yr), a new 7x24 business support that promises priority access, all software updates and new version upgrades as well as an invitation to participate in the customer council to help drive new features in the future.

For companies who need to support Windows applications across a population of Macs, the Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise edition is a step in the right direction.  This new edition opens the doors to a more compatible world between Windows and Mac OS X while helping IT administrators satisfy their internal demands.

Disclosure:  David Abramowski is a principal of Collabix Inc., a strategic solution marketing firm who is actively engaged on a consulting basis with Parallels.

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David Abramowski is a technologist turned product leader. David was a co-founder of Morph Labs, one of the first Platform as a Service plays on AWS. He was the GM for Parallels Virtuozzo containers, enterprise business, and most recently he is the leader of the product marketing team for the IT Operations Management solutions at the hyper growth SaaS company, ServiceNow.