Parallels introduces Workstation Extreme

By Justin Mann on
Parallels has introduced a new package today, taking aim at enterprise workstations with a significant step forward in virtualization technology. Parallels Workstation Extreme, targeted specifically at high-end workstations, promises to bring native hardware GPU acceleration to virtual machines. Working with Nvidia, HP and Intel, Parallels is making use of several hardware technologies to make this possible. Nvidia's recently announced SLI Multi-OS, Intel's VT-d and others will be working in tandem to make graphics acceleration possible inside of multiple different operating systems running concurrently.

One of the biggest hurdles for any virtualization suite is how to make use of many hardware accelerated functions in the context of a virtual machine. Significant progress has been made, and CPU vendors have been able to provide hardware extensions specifically for VMs. GPU acceleration is a different story, however, and has been a mixed bag at best regardless of what software is being used. GPU acceleration is important in many areas where virtualization might be found, so this development from Parallels is interesting. HP is partnering with them to specifically craft high-end workstations just for the purpose of virtualization, making use of Nvidia's Quadro FX series of GPUs and Xeon processors.

It opens up numerous more avenues for virtual machines, such as hardware-accelerated CAD, 3D modeling and many other applications. You can read the full press release about Parallels Workstation Extreme after the jump.
Renton, WA — March 30th, 2009 — Parallels today announced the launch of Parallels Workstation Extreme, the first high-end workstation virtualization solution to offer users near-native performance for resource-intensive applications that require extremely large memory support, multiple CPU cores, and direct access to graphics cards. The product brings together the latest breakthrough technologies from Intel, NVIDIA and HP – launched today – to deliver the benefits of workstation virtualization without sacrificing performance of critical applications.

Through this unique virtualization solution, a single powerful computer can effectively do the work of several workstations at once. Users can run multiple operating systems on the same physical box, addressing compatibility issues while maintaining workload isolation. This enhances the productivity and cost-efficiency of power users, such as digital content creators, design engineers, software developers and testers, sales and training professionals and those working with data modeling in a range of vertical sectors, including finance, government, science, engineering, manufacturing, and oil and gas.

“Parallels Workstation Extreme is revolutionary for the users of resource-intensive applications, such as those used for oil and gas exploration,” said Serguei Beloussov, CEO of Parallels. “Until now, it has been impossible for them to enjoy the benefits of virtualization, as the impact on graphics performance has been significant. Parallels Workstation Extreme addresses this, offering users powerful support for 3D professional graphics cards via Intel VT-d and the new NVIDIA SLI Multi-OS technology, delivering near-native performance. The solution also offers up to 16 CPU cores and 64GB of RAM for guest OSs, creating a superior customer experience compared to today’s normal computing speed in a virtual machine. In essence, the combination of technologies from Parallels, Intel, NVIDIA and HP, means enterprises will be able to dedicate system resources as needed, allowing greater productivity across multiple operating systems and workloads.”

Previously, the industry approach to running graphics in virtual environments has been emulation, resulting in limited throughput and rendering most graphics-intensive applications unusable in a virtual machine. Parallels Workstation Extreme addresses this issue by employing the Parallels FastLane architecture to take full advantage of the intelligent performance features in the new Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series and the Intel® X58 Express Chipset. The new processors include Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel® VT-d) enabling us to deliver outstanding performance by dedicating physical devices to virtualized environments. When added with NVIDIA SLI Multi-OS technology, this enables near-native performance of resource-intensive and graphics-intensive applications, as for the first time assignment of professional graphics cards can be made to a virtual machine.

“Parallels’ takes advantage of the intelligent performance features in the new Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series to change the game in workstations,” said Doug Fisher, Intel Vice President, Software and Services Group, and General Manager, Systems Software Division. “Combining the new Intel Xeon processor and Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O, Parallels Workstation Extreme can create multiple virtual workstations with individual graphics cards that produce displays at near native performance.”

In order for professionals to get the optimized performance and visual quality they expect from GPU-accelerated applications, Parallels Workstation Extreme takes advantage of NVIDIA’s latest SLI capability, NVIDIA SLI Multi-OS. Due to this ground-breaking technology, for the first time, professionals are able to run multiple graphics-intensive applications simultaneously from a single graphics workstation. Built into the NVIDIA® Quadro® FX 3800, Quadro FX 4800, and Quadro FX 5800 professional graphics solutions, SLI Multi-OS, allows users to connect a Quadro GPU to both the host and a guest virtual machine operating system. This enables enterprises to run multiple graphics-intensive workloads on a single graphics workstation.

“The latest NVIDIA Quadro GPU solutions deliver the most advance graphics features and performance available, enabling professionals to move beyond even the toughest visualization challenges,” said Jeff Brown, General Manager, Professional Solutions, NVIDIA. “Combining Parallels Workstation Extreme with our new Quadro SLI Multi-OS technology means that for the first time, professionals can continue to experience the same visual quality and performance provided by Quadro GPUs but in a virtualized environment. This joint effort will drive higher productivity and lower operational costs.”

The user scenarios for Parallels Workstation Extreme include:

* Digital Content Creation: Create and visualize faster and remove dependencies that tie applications to Linux and Windows based OSs on a single workstation
* Oil & Gas: Generate, model and visualize more exploration plans while running applications near native performance in both Windows/ Linux workloads
* Manufacturing: Design, simulate and visualize your inventions faster by running design and simulation software on same workstation at the same time across multiple OS types
* Finance: Model, synthesize and visualize complex data systems at near native speed on a single workstation
* Software Developers: Concurrently develop and debug graphics intensive applications (i.e. game design) on a workstation and a virtual target machine from the same physical hardware
* Sciences: Drive multiple complex and diverse scientific research visualization applications in medical labs, academia, hospitals, and R&D centers

Availability and Pricing
The HP Z800 Workstation is the first certified platform for Parallels Workstation Extreme. The HP Z Series Workstations are based on the new Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series to deliver superior performance for resource-intensive workloads. Choice of graphics solutions include: the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800, Quadro FX 4800, and Quadro FX 5800.

“Combining an HP Z800 Workstation with Parallels Workstation Extreme creates a powerful yet simple strategy for multi-OS deployment of key workstation applications,” said Jim Zafarana, Vice President and General Manager of HP Workstations. “Parallels is uniquely addressing virtualized solutions for workstation users, letting us bring to our customers the first certified solution in the industry to run the Parallels Architecture.”

Parallels Workstation Extreme will be available soon through Parallels distribution channel partners. For more information, video demonstrations, boxshots and screenshots of Parallels Workstation Extreme, please visit: www.parallels.com/workstation/extreme.

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