The company, which will make the switch beginning next year, also produces Virtuozzo, which generates many virtual machines running under one operating system on a server. VMware's ESX Server, in contrast, generates many virtual machines, each containing its own operating system that communicates with the ESX hypervisor.
The Virtuozzo approach is similar to Sun Microsystems' Solaris 10 Containers, which allows a Solaris server to be divided up into multiple virtual machines, all managed by one copy of Solaris.
In renaming itself Parallels, the company is recognizing that its subsidiary's Parallels product, which brings x86 virtualization to the Apple Macintosh, has won it wider recognition than its server container approach. The company boasts of 700,000 users on its Web site, but more than 600,000 are users of the Parallels desktop virtualization.
In addition to renaming itself, Parallels in 2008 will take a broader approach to server virtualization, which it calls Optimized Computing. It will launch its own hypervisor product that will work in conjunction with Virtuozzo, CEO Serguei Beloussov said in an announcement on Dec. 12.
The former SWsoft product line will be renamed using Parallels nomenclature, such as SWsoft PEM renamed to Parallels System Automation and HSPcomplete to Parallels Business Automation.
"This means enhancing Windows, Linux, Mac, x86, and ia64-based bare metal systems with innovative hypervisor-based virtualization, container-based virtualization, and a suite of complementary automation solutions," Beloussov said in the announcement.
Parallels is the first vendor to say it will combine hypervisors and container-based virtualization, although Sun, by launching its own hypervisor, may be positioned to do something similar. Nevertheless, Parallels is saying additional virtualization efficiencies may be gained by have one hypervisor communicate with many virtual machines being managed in containers through one operating system.
Parallels did not commit itself to product dates reflecting such an approach. It said version 4.0 of Virtuozzo would become available sometime in 2008, followed by its first server hypervisor. Updates to Parallels Desktop and Parallels Workstation for personal computing systems will also become available during the year.