TMO at MWSF - TMO Chats with Parallels' Ben Rudolph
by , 2:55 PM EST, January 16th, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO - TMO spent some time with Ben Rudolph on Wednesday. Mr. Rudolph is the Director of Corporate Communications for Parallels/SWsoft, and he spoke about the present and future of his company.
Recently, Parallels introduced a server product in beta that allows an Apple Xserve to run multiple instances of Mac OS X Server in virtualization -- along with other operating systems. Mr. Rudolph told us about it. "The Parallels Server product is really opening doors for us," he said. "The Xserve is reasonably priced, but before this, primarily Apple customers were interested in running an Xserve. Now, we've opened new markets with SMB, enterprise and government accounts who want to run an Xserve and several different OSes simulaneously."TMO asked about pricing for the new product, and Mr. Rudolph continued, "Well, a lot of companies try to nickle and dime the big enterprise companies with support and fees for add on functionality. We're not going to do that. While the price has not yet been announced, we'll keep it reasonable and the price will be all inclusive."
The Parallels Desktop product has been steadily evolving and improving its hardware support. TMO asked about how that's going. "Build 5582 (12/5/07) is the latest," Mr Rudolph said. "It has full USB support, direct X 8.1 support, amd OpenGL extensions. While the full 3-D support is not there, it's still very good. In addition, we've changed the default from bridged to shared networking when we realized a lot of customers were annoyned with the extra IP addressing assigned to the VM."
Mr. Rudolph is the most senior executive with Parallels on the Mac side in the United States. He told TMO that Parallels is growing rapidly, and has 150 people in the U.S. and about 650 engineers in the company. "There might be 100 people on the planet who know how to build a virtualization system from scratch," he said. "I think we employ about 50 of them."
The growth of Parallels has been enormous, and while there have been some occasional struggles with customer support, Mr Rudolph things its all under control now. In addition, the Russian ownership of the company really has not been a factor and has not affected sales, even with most government agencies.
TMO asked Mr. Rudolph about the future of the comapny. "We have a lot of customers who love us, and we're never going to forget that, even as we move into the server space. In terms of the future, we're really excited about Apple's new approach. The success of Parallels Desktop showed Apple how important virtualization is, and I suspect it may have played a role in Apple's new Mac OS X Server licensing that allows virtualization. It seems to have helped Apple with Xserve sales."
In terms of what comes next, Mr. Rudolph was very excited about the next generation hardware from Apple. Intel is currently shipping the first generation of virtualization hardware "VTX" on Macs. However, in the new Xserves and the new Mac Pros, the second generation virtualization hardware is supported, "VTD."
"VTD will really improve the performace, security and stability of our virtualization products," Mr. Rudolph concluded as we finished breakfast. Then it was time to run.
It is not yet known if the new MacBook Air supports VTD, and we'll update this story with additional information when we learn more.
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