I tested Parallels Workstation Extreme on the HP Z800. For those unfamiliar with the Z800, it's a beast of workstation, with support for multiple, discrete Nvidia Quadro FX-series video cards and up to 192GB of RAM. HP offers the Z800 with Parallels Workstation Extreme pre-installed, along with custom Nvidia drivers that support VT-d. Together they make a potent combination that enables demanding users to multitask between different OS environments without incurring the normal overhead associated with virtualization.
[ Compare the HP Z800, HP Z400, Dell Precision T5500, Dell Precision T3500, and Lenovo ThinkStation S20 in the InfoWorld Test Center's review, "Nehalem workstations: A new era in performance." ]
In my own testing, I found that the Z800 running Parallels Extreme delivered comparable performance (within 5 to 7 percent) under SPECviewperf 10 versus the same tests running natively. Factor in Parallels' easy-to-use interface, and I was up and running my own VMs at near-native speed in a matter of minutes.
Bottom line: Even at $399.99, Parallels Workstation Extreme is a compelling alternative to the multisystem configurations that have saddled engineering application users for years. The cost savings alone -- from the reduced up-front hardware expenditure and long-term support and maintenance -- makes this innovative solution worth a closer look.
This story, "Parallels Workstation 4 Extreme lowers virtualization overhead," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com.