Parallels has released the finished version of its container-based server virtualisation software, Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.0. It also launched a new datacentre management tool and officially changed its name from SWsoft to Parallels today.

Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.0 includes enhancements and features aimed at improving usability, datacentre management and business continuity, said Parallels. The company reckoned that the product offers new features and functionality in several areas:

  • Business continuity: several new options such as Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat clustering services, and backup enhancements.

  • Ease of use and manageability: extends resource management with the inclusion of virtual CPU improvements, burstable CPU limits, hardware device forwarding, hardware device sharing and more.

  • Efficiency: improved stability and performance, including real-time optimisation of hardware resources, and an improved Virtuozzo file system that is claimed to speed common management tasks and use storage more efficiently.

Parallels Virtuozzo Containers is based on an operating system-level hypervisor that dynamically partitions a single Windows or Linux operating system instance into virtual environments or containers. Parallels claimed higher performance as its advantage, although it also results in lower levels of OS flexibility.

"The ever-changing needs of today's enterprise datacentres call for a virtualisation solution that is flexible and delivers high performance," said Parallels CEO Serguei Beloussov. "With the release of Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.0, we are launching the next wave of virtualisation, including a suite of products that help IT administrators effectively manage their growing virtual infrastructures."

Beloussov said that Parallels customers were already performing large-scale virtualisation deployments, including service provider datacentres and software-as-a-service applications. "Parallels offers the right technological approach coupled with the best economics to deliver a comprehensive suite of virtualisation and automation products for any hardware or software environment," said Beloussov.

"With the Virtuozzo product, Parallels is focused on taking virtualisation to the next level," said John Humphreys, program VP with researcher IDC's enterprise platform group. "By virtualising above the operating system, customers get both the benefits of hardware reduction and a reduction in the number of operating system images they need to run to support their applications."

"As virtualisation continues to proliferate in datacentres and on desktops, Intel is delivering leading platform capabilities and performance to foster the growth," said Intel server VP Diane Bryant. "Parallels Virtuozzo 4.0's manageability tools, ease-of-use and reliability take advantage of the performance improvements with Intel's latest generation of quad-core Xeon and Itanium processors and make it a leading virtualisation solution."

Virtuozzo 4.0 also introduced Parallels Infrastructure Manager, which it described as a tool for the management of virtualised datacentres from any location. The feature list includes:

  • Enhanced permissions: includes role-based security and audit, Microsoft Active Directory support and LDAP integration.

  • Newly designed management tool: easier assessment of resources and assets using dashboards.

  • Deployment and management capabilities: includes application and OS templates as well as centralised datacentre management, providing logical views of the datacentre.

Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.0 is available worldwide for $3,000 per dual CPU. A Parallels Virtuozzo Containers licence can be purchased without the Parallels Infrastructure Manager for $2,500 per dual CPU.