Don’t Believe The Hype…. Actually This Time… YOU SHOULD!!!
As time has moved on, I have bought a range of iMac computers with the latest one being the I7 27” model with 16GB of RAM installed in it. This was done as more and more of my client’s are buying Apple equipment, and like anyone serious about supporting their clients, they too have to use the equipment that they use, to know what issues may arise, so their client’s can be helped out quickly and efficiently.
Through the years, I have never felt the need to look into virtualisation of an operating system, as quite frankly, my business is Windows-based PC’s and Servers, and when I need a PC to do something, or to test out anything, I usually have plenty of spare gear to hand.
On the Windows side of things, as the new operating systems have come out, the hardware specifications have increased, so the standard bench kit I use to test and evaluate has had to be upgraded as well.
Microsoft releases Small Business Server 2011 and the likes, the specifications went up on the equipment you had to install it on, and quite frankly, kit wise, I did not have anything around that would make a suitable system to evaluate this operating system on, so that meant it was that time again to buy in some new equipment.
With what I had in mind, the equipment I was looking at, was nearly a thousand pounds for a system, and yes, I could buy cheaper components, but when I buy stuff I try to get something that will last! I was finding it hard to justify that sort of outlay for a system that really was only going to be used for the occasional testing rig, so I kept putting it off and the months rolled on…
One morning while going through my various Twitter feeds, I read a post from @JohnPAtkinson who was using Parallels 6, for running Windows on his Macbook Pro, and he raved about how good it was. As one of the main systems here used is a new I7 16GB iMac, this caught my attention and I went over to the company web site to read up more about this software.
From what I read, it seemed (in theory) that the software would allow me to install just about any operating system I wanted, onto my iMac… but my initial thought was the experience would have to be terrible, as everything would be virtual, rather than dedicated hardware, the path I have always taken… so to say I was sceptical was a bit of an understatement.
So, I downloaded Parallels 7 Desktop, (talk about luck – new release just out) ran the installer, and then proceeded to install Windows 7 Professional to see how things went.
To say I was stunned after the installation is an understatement! The operating system installed perfectly, and ran quickly; so much so that I then installed 3D Studio Max 2010 to see about pushing the whole system’s processors and memory as it rendered some footage… and it was blisteringly quick, even while working away on my Mac applications!
After hammering the operating stem and applications further, I installed Office 2010 and then brought the virtual Windows 7 Professional onto the Small Business Server 2008 domain here in the office, and everything ran (and is still running) flawlessly! No matter what I seem to throw at the virtual operating system, it handles it as though it was on it’s own PC hardware, and the Mac side just continues to work away as though the other operating system was not there!
So, not only have I save myself nearly £1000.00 in hardware, I am now running the I7 iMac in a way that I never intended it to, and the outlay I had on the I7 iMac actually seems more justified now that I am running such a variety of operating systems at the same time!!
If you are a sceptic (like me) about any application that seems to been hyped up by the tech people online, gushing praise just to get themselves attention, do yourself a favour and download the trial, and install it for yourself. Honestly, you will be impressed at just how well this virtualised system works on your iMac (specifications permitting of course).
Also, the guys at Parallels are easy to reach and interact with via their website, or even better, on Twitter @ParallelsMac. Don’t be shy and say hello to them!
As it stands, my main PC system is no longer switched on in the morning and all my PC related work is down on the iMac here running under Parallels Desktop 7. That to me says it all. My trust in the whole “experience” really is one I am more than happy to shout about to my client’s, and who knows, maybe in time they will upgrade to Mac equipment rather than Windows PC’s… Only time will tell!
If you want to see the rendering speed of 3D Studio Max 2010 running under Windows7 on Parallels 7 Desktop pop over here and watch!