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David Abramowski

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Desktop Virtualization: News Item

Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac Roars with OS X Lion

Parallels releases the newest version of their Mac virtualization solution

Parallels Desktop 7 takes support for OS X Lion beyond the typical QA testing of a newly supported platform. Parallels went several steps further in their new release integrating with the key features of the new OS X user experience including Launchpad, Mission Control and Lion Animations, all to simplify the experience for the user who wants to run Windows applications on their Mac.

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that at the end of July Apple released the latest version of the Mac operating system called OS X Lion. This new operating system was the eighth major release for OS X and a big forward step in blending together user experiences across the Apple portfolio merging successful elements of iOS with Mac OS X.

In an interesting twist to desktop virtualization advancement, the latest release of Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac seems to chart a familiar course. As Apple is starting to blend Mac OS X and iOS user experiences, Parallels is taking this same path when it comes to applications that require other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. As demonstrated in a review by Walt Mossberg of The Wall St. Journal in "A Parallels World Where windows Zips on Macs" the improvements to Parallels Desktop 7 aim to blend the user experience into a single workflow regardless of the underlying operating system.

This integrated workflow for the end user obscures the lines between Mac OS X Lion and the underlying virtual machines. The integration is done in such a slick way that users may never even really know what is going on under the hood.

This is good news for businesses who have been struggling with the requirement to support Mac hardware in their Windows "approved" environments.  Instead of kicking off a capital project to start testing a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution, companies have the choice to use a much more familiar approach with Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac.

Supporting the approved Windows stack across the Mac population can be as simple as deploying Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition along with another Windows gold master to each computer using deployment and management solutions already in place. And let's face it, setting up and deploying computer images is something that IT departments across the world have down to a science. The enterprise edition which now includes the core Parallels Desktop 7 features makes it easier for businesses to deploy and configure Parallels Desktop across a large number of endpoints.

The last point to bring up beyond the integrated user interaction capabilities of Parallels Desktop 7 is that the software also now supports running Mac OS X Lion as a guest. This is the first time that Apple has allowed the desktop operating system to run as a guest in a virtual environment.

For system administrators and developers the ability to run Mac OS X Lion as a virtual environment is welcome change. By running a second Mac OS X Lion environment completely separated from the day-to-day environment, technical users will have more freedom to experiment, test and extend their use of Macs and Mac OS X.

All in all Parallels says there are more than 90 new enhancements in the newly released product.

More Stories By David Abramowski

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.