Parallels has introduced a bare-metal virtualisation product for Apple's Xserve that allows Windows and Linux virtual machines to run side-by-side with the Mac OS X operating system.
Parallels Server for Mac Bare Metal Edition, unveiled on Wednesday at the Parallels Summit 2010 in Miami, is aimed at companies wishing to standardise on Mac hardware and at cloud services providers that want to add Mac OS X capabilities, the company said.
The company's original virtualisation product for Xserve allowed instances of Mac OS X, Linux or Windows to run as virtual machines on top of an OS X host. With the new product, those virtual machines can all run directly on the Xserve's hardware, with a hypervisor present to co-ordinate the different guests.
"The 33 percent year-on-year increase in sales of Macintosh computers reported by Apple this quarter indicates a growing interest in Apple hardware. Virtualisation solutions can help make this a practical reality for users, giving them the ability to run the Windows and Linux applications they need on the Apple system they want," said Serguei Beloussov, chief executive of Parallels, in a statement.
Parallels also sells OS X desktop virtualisation software, and in November added support for Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard to its Parallels Desktop for Mac.
The new bare-metal server technology promises to boost performance and also adds features such as hot migration, which is the ability to migrate systems from one hardware platform to another without needing to go completely offline.
The technology can help in consolidation projects, with support for legacy operating systems and in streamlining server operations, according to its manufacturer. It works with other Parallels products including the Parallels Virtual Automation management software.
Parallels is also targeting the product at hosting providers that want to offer services such as Mac virtual private servers and OS X application hosting.
Separately on Wednesday, Parallels announced a business and engineering reorganisation around four product areas: shared web-hosting services, messaging and collaboration, virtualised infrastructure services and software-as-a-service (SaaS). The reorganisation will divide the company into four services groups, each led by a senior Parallels executive.
The reorganisation is partly intended to help the company compete in the growing market for small-business cloud services, which Beloussov predicted will be worth nearly $19bn (£12bn) by 2013.
Parallels's Shared Web Hosting Services group will handle products including Parallels Plesk Panel 9.5, the upcoming Parallels Hosting Panel 10 and Parallels Automation High Efficiency Shared Hosting.
The Messaging and Collaboration group will target unified communications, Parallels said, and its activities will include developing Parallels Automation support for Microsoft Hosted Exchange 2010, Microsoft Office Communications Server and internet telephony services.
The Virtual Infrastructure Services group will focus on Parallels Server for Mac, Parallels Virtuozzo Containers and other infrastructure products.
A SaaS and Other Applications group will target software vendors and cloud services providers. Its remit includes products such as Parallels Partner Marketplace and the Application Packaging Standard, which was developed by Parallels to simplify the delivery of hosted applications.