Can't decide which OS to run today? Why not Linux inside Windows inside macOS?

Parallels desktop upgrade enables nested virtualization and adds a dash of automation

Parallels has released a new version of its macOS desktop hypervisor and added a few handy things that developers and virtualization wonks will likely appreciate.

The company offers Parallels desktop as a better way to run Windows on Apple hardware, mostly because it lets users do so without having to reboot when they fancy running an alternate OS.

The new version 16 takes matters even further by allowing nested virtualization so that users can access Microsoft's Hyper-V desktop hypervisor inside Windows and any VMs running there. So welcome to Linux on Windows on MacOS.

Why stop there, seeing as Xen or KVM are present in plenty of Linux distros? You can even automate this stuff thanks to new plugins for Vagrant, Docker, and Jenkins. Another new plugin connects to Microsoft Visual Studio to ease application testing across OSes.

VMs can now be quite hefty – support is offered for up to 32 vCPUs and 128GB vRAM – but won't crush a host's resources thanks to the addition of Linked Clones that spawn new VMs from an existing image. VMs will also cough up disk space once shut down because VMs don't need all of the capacity provisioned to their .VMDK when not running.

Parallels is also touting better guest performance when employing DirectX 11 and OpenGL 3, kinder use of MacBook batteries and support for multi-touch gestures for Windows apps.

Admins may enjoy new tools to package VMs with their preferred applications so they can be offered in an enterprise appliance store of sorts, and the chance to push Parallels updates to users' desktops.

Parallels is also promising that this will happen just fine on the forthcoming Big Sur release of macOS.

Of course, the next version of macOS that really matters is the one that will run on Apple's new Arm-based Macs. Apple has said that its own tool to run Windows on macOS – Boot Camp – won't make the move to Arm. Parallels and the other desktop hypervisor vendors – VMware and Oracle – clearly have some work ahead of them to keep a foot in both camps. ®

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