Parallels' Workstation Virtualization Boosts 3D Graphic - InformationWeek

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Parallels' Workstation Virtualization Boosts 3D Graphic

The company boosts graphics performance by tapping Intel's Virtualization Technology for Direct input/output, or VT-d, found in Intel's new Xeon 5500 quad-core processors.

Parallels has launched for Nehalem-powered workstations virtualization software that provides graphics-boosting direct access to graphics cards for each virtual machine.

Workstation Extreme makes it possible to run multiple operating systems on the same system while maintaining workload isolation. The ability to do the work of several workstations in one is expected to appeal to professionals, such as digital content creators, design engineers, software developers and testers, and people working with data models found in finance, government, science, engineering, manufacturing, and oil and gas.

A key attraction of the new software is the improvement it provides in rendering 3-D graphics, a traditional weakness in trying to run virtualized professional applications on a workstation. Parallels boosts graphics performance by tapping Intel's Virtualization Technology for Direct input/output, or VT-d, found in Intel's new Xeon 5500 quad-core processors. The recently released chips are based on the company's new microarchitecture, code-named Nehalem, and use the X58 Express chipset.

VT-d, in conjunction with the multi-OS technology built into the Nvidia Quadro FX professional graphics cards, makes it possible to dedicate graphics resources to each virtualized environment, according to Parallels. Other features in Workstation Extreme that boost guest application performance are the ability to offer up to 16 CPU cores and 64 GB of memory for each underlying virtual machine.

Hewlett-Packard's Z800 workstation is the first certified platform for Parallels' latest desktop product. The HP system is available with a choice of Nvidia graphics cards, including the Quadro FX 3800, 4800, and 5800.

Parallels introduced Workstation Extreme this week, saying it would be available soon through distribution channel partners. Pricing was not disclosed.

In the consumer market, Parallels is best known for its Desktop 4.0 for Mac, which makes it possible to run the Windows operating system on Mac OS X.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the challenges around virtualization management. Download the report here (registration required).

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