Some demonstrations seem fated to be postponed time and again before the stars align and I'm finally able to sit back and enjoy the show some supplier wants to present. My meeting with the good folks from Parallels seemed to follow this pattern. Since I've known the executives of this company since I was at IDC and have followed them closely in my research on virtual machine software and operating system virtualization and partitioning software, I knew that seeing a demonstration of Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac was certainly worth the wait. I was impressed.
Just about every supplier of virtual machine software for client systems has shown me their product. While nearly everyone has a slick demonstration, it isn't always clear to me what level of technical sorcery or grand wizardry is going on behind the scenes to make the demonstration appear so simple and display such high levels of performance. I always suspect that the supplier has loaded the demo system with larger than average memory and storage configurations and has the fastest X86 system available. In short, a configuration that is not at all typical. The demonstration presented by Parallels was done on a machine that exactly matches one of the systems I have on my desk - the one I used to write this post!
Parallels demonstrated Windows XP, Windows Vista, Ubuntu Linux, and Mac OS X applications running side by side in separate windows on the same Mac OS X desktop. The performance was outstanding. The integration was seamless. I was seeing applications in these separate windows accessing the same data transparently. It was possible to easily copy text from one window and paste it into an application running in another window in a different operating system.
When I asked what was done to set up such an integrated, seamless demonstration, I was told that a standard installation was done for all of the software being demonstrated. No industrial wizardry was being shown, just a standard system configuration that a typical user would have.
I don't typically lust after software that I see in a demonstration, but I must admit to plotting to acquire this software. It would allow me to move from three desktop systems (Windows XP, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Mac OS X) to one or two based upon how I wanted to do it. I could recapture some of my desktop real estate! This would allow Max, one of the cats that own our home (they know we're simply servants), to take up residence on my desk. I'm sure he would appreciate it.
Rather than go on and on, let me simply say that I believe you'll be impressed too. Why don't you ask your Parallels representative for a demo? By the way, be sure to wear at least two pairs of socks. The demo is likely to blow the first pair off.