Mac Virtualization Gains Momentum

Arthur Cole

Virtualization on the Mac is starting to get up to speed, with the latest software releases containing many of the features that the rest of the IT industry takes for granted.


VMware's Fusion 2.0, which went beta this week, kicks things into high gear with offerings such as multi-monitor support that lets you drag VMs across as many as 10 screens, plus enhanced 3-D graphics support for the Shader Model 2.0 component found in DirectX 9.0.


Even more crucial is the ability to convert the Mac's Boot Camp partition into a fully functional virtual machine, allowing you to run Windows apps directly, rather than in the current parallel fashion. It also comes in handy for importing files from Parallels' Desktop for Mac platform.


And speaking of Parallels, the company is reported to be close to an update for Desktop for Mac, and has only recently come out with the third beta of its Parallels Server for Mac. New features include an integrated tool set that includes imaging and transporter tools, as well as an updated SDK and API set for application development.


All of this activity has some people wondering whether the Mac vs. Windows argument can finally be put to rest. Virtualization blogger David Marshall ponders the possibility that with Intel-based Macs able to run virtualized versions of Windows and Windows-based applications, perhaps the old feuds are giving way to new ones, such as VMware vs. Parallels, for instance.


Of course, technology feuds aren't necessarily bad things. They tend to spur development, bringing new ideas and capabilities to users quickly, and they also have a way of weeding out the bad ideas before they become too entrenched.


With virtualization set to become a commodity business in enterprise circles relatively soon, a little healthy rivalry may just be what the industry needs.

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