SWsoft to abandon itself and become Parallels

One name, lots of products

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SWsoft – likely the second largest virtualization software maker – will change its name next year and turn into Parallels.

The company today sells a mix of virtualization code with its strongest server products fitting under the SWsoft brand and desktop products going under the Parallels brand.

In 2008, however, SWsoft Parallels will ship a wider variety of virtualization products, including a pair of server slicing applications and management code for controlling SWsoft/Parallels products as well as those from rivals such as VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Sun Microsystems. The company appears to have viewed this mass software disgorgement as a fitting excuse for an identity retooling.

"We want to look like one company with one vision and a single brand," SWsoft CEO Serguei Beloussov told us.

Unlike most of its competitors, SWsoft will sell two distinct types of virtualization software. The first is a so-called container-style product that lets customers run numerous virtual servers on top of a single copy of an operating system. The second is a hypervisor-based product similar to, say, VMware where a customer runs numerous virtual servers and operating systems on a single physical server. Both approaches have their merits and SWsoft has no plans of giving up on one approach in favor of the other.

To date, SWsoft's container-based Virtuozzo software has been its flagship server software. Virtuozzo has proved very popular with web hosting companies and service providers looking to run tens, hundreds and thousands of virtual servers on a single physical box. Meanwhile, the Parallels desktop software has been adopted most often by Mac users looking to run Windows applications on their systems.

Next year, SWsoft will ship a hypervisor-based version of Parallels for the server.

Also on tap for next year is a new version of Virtuozzo, which will be sold as Parallels Virtuozzo for awhile before turning into Parallels Containers.

Later in 2008, SWsoft will then ship the broad management suite that will control both types of its virtualization products and those from competitors.

While SWsoft has yet to release pricing for its upcoming code, Beloussov said the company will be looking to sell products on a per server as opposed to per socket basis.

"It will be inexpensive, and the pricing model will be very easy to understand," he said.

Beloussov maintains that rival products are too hard to use and, well, slow.

"If you try to install VMware, it is all quite complex, and you need to read a large amount of materials to figure out what's going. This is preventing the growth of virtulization in large enterprises and with SMBs.

"VMware also downplays scalability and performance. There are not published benchmarks about real life workloads. All of their benchmarks are kind of twisted and rely on single CPU systems, which nobody uses anymore."

Beloussov has a point about VMware historically being shy to benchmark its systems, although the results on the new VMmark benchmark we've seen from Dell and others are on two- to four-socket boxes. And to enterprise not picking up virtualization code? Er, well, VMware has a huge chunk of the Fortune 500 all locked up.

Never reserved, Beloussov also claims that SWsoft will improve the virtualization products from the likes of Microsoft and Sun by making operating system level tweaks.

"Microsoft is actually very open, and there are things you can do with . . . drivers and systems services," he said.

Beloussov added that he sees Sun's Solaris Containers as "rather simplistic in features" and hopes to make the Containers better through Parallels management code.

SWsoft is still a private company and doesn't have to release its financial figures, although it brags about selling more than $100m worth of software in 2007. That figure would easily make SWsoft the second largest virtualization player after VMware, which brings in more than $1bn. ®

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