SWsoft (soon to be renamed Parallels) has introduced a beta version of Parallels Server, its hypervisor-powered server virtualization solution.

Parallels Server is the first server virtualization solution designed to run on Apple hardware, including Mac Pros and Xserves, and the first to run multiple copies of Mac OS X Server v10.5 Leopard on a single Mac. Parallels Server also runs on any x86 or 64-bit Windows or Linux-based server.

"Hundreds of thousands of customers are using Parallels virtualization software in their businesses and homes to get the most out of their Windows, Mac and Linux desktop computers and applications," said Serguei Beloussov, CEO of SWsoft. "Launching the Parallels Server beta is a key milestone in delivering on our vision of 'Optimized Computing' for servers and desktops across heterogeneous platforms."

Parallels Server can be installed using the Parallels lightweight hypervisor, in which virtual machines run in tandem with a primary operating system, or "bare metal’, in which virtual machines run independently and are not dependent on a host operating system to function properly.

The software supports any combination of over 50 different guest operating systems, including: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 “Longhorn”, Red Hat Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux, and Sun Solaris. Customers running Parallels Server on Apple hardware also have the industry-first option of running Mac OS X Server in a virtual machine."

Parallels Server is the first to offer experimental support for Intel second-generation virtualization technology, Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d). This promises a high degree of performance and reliability and allows users to directly assign hardware resources such as a second graphics or network card to a virtual machine.

Parallels Server supports Apple’s new Xserve and Mac Pros.