Rolling Review: Parallels Server For Mac 3.0 And Virtual Iron Extended Enterprise Edition 4.5
Two SMB server virtualization options show it pays to look beyond the 'Big 3.'
When server virtualization comes up in conversation, it's easy focus on the "big three," VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix Xen, because of their market share and pervasive marketing. There are other players entering the fray, however. For this segment of our Rolling Review, we brought a couple of less-well-known entities--Virtual Iron Extended Enterprise Edition 4.5 and Parallels Server for Mac 3.0--into our virtualization test lab.
These two smaller players show there's more than one way to run virtualization hosts: Virtual Iron ably jumps through some of the same hoops as XenServer and Hyper-V, and we believe it could challenge VMware ESX in larger enterprises, if the company wanted to. Although Parallels Server wasn't up to our full gamut of tests, being a slightly different beast, it does serve its niche well, running Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X Server instances on Apple hardware.
In terms of performance, every server virtualization product we've tested so far in this Rolling Review has done more than live up to the vendors' claims, showing rapid evolution as the market has heated up. Virtual Iron's and Parallels Server's application performance also pleasantly surprised us.
Like the Xen-based virtualization system from Citrix, Virtual Iron has revved up its performance over the last few years while dramatically easing installation and administration tasks. Parallels leverages its "fat OS" experience with Parallels Desktop to deliver solid performance from its hypervisor, despite the underlying requirement of a full-load Leopard 10.5 OS chewing up system resources and routing I/O.
Is Now The Time?
Is your organization at the point where it pays to virtualize?
Both platforms are aimed squarely at the small- to midsize-business sector. Virtual Iron devotes most of its marketing to this segment, although we could see Virtual Iron 4.3's Xen-based hypervisor, centralized management, and per-socket pricing model playing well in larger companies, too.
Parallels Server isn't as mature or feature-rich as Virtual Iron. Its limited storage options, simplified networking capabilities, and lack of migration tools mean Parallels Server likely will be crossed off most potential customers' short lists, unless they're Mac shops. VMware's Fusion is tinkering with Mac OS guest support, but Parallels Server currently is the only solution on the market that lets you virtualize Apple Server instances with Apple's blessing.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
CIOs Get Smart About BIIT’s tried for years to simplify business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
. We've got a management crisis right now, and we've also got an engagement crisis. Could the two be linked? Tune in for the next installment of IT Life Radio, Wednesday May 20th at 3PM ET to find out.