VMware comes to Apple

VMware is bringing its virtualization technology to Intel-based Apple computers, giving Mac users the ability to run multiple operating systems, including Windows, Linux, NetWare and Solaris, in virtual machines alongside Mac OS X.

VMware demoed the product on Monday during the opening day of the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference that runs through Friday in San Francisco.

The yet-to-be-named VMware product, which will be in beta later this year, lets users run any x86 operating system on Mac OS X and then share data between virtual machines and tab back and forth between applications on the fly, without the need to reboot. In addition, any virtual machine created with any of VMware's products will run on Intel-based Macs. And non-Mac OS X virtual machines created with the Mac virtualization technology will run on other VMware virtualization platforms.

With the technology, Mac users also will be able to run VMware's virtual appliances, which are pre-configured virtual machines that include an application and an operating system and span everything from security to load balancing to network management. The virtual appliances can be downloaded for free from VMware's Web site (http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/) and run on any VMware platform, including the free VMware Player (http://www.vmware.com/download/).

VMware's new product competes with similar offerings from companies such as Parallels, which introduced its Parallels Workstation for Mac and Parallels Desktop for Mac earlier this year. Parallels, which sells its Mac virtualization products at retail outlets including The Apple Store, released a beta update of Parallels Desktop for Mac at the Apple Developer Conference Tuesday. The update is available for download here (http://www.parallels.com/macbeta/download), improves operating system performance and adds better graphics and USB support.

Microsoft also offers PC emulation software to virtualize Macs, but this week announced that it has scrapped further development of its Intel-Mac version of Virtual PC.

Pricing for VMware's Mac product has not been set. Those interested in early access to the software may pre-register for the beta release here (http://www.vmware.com/macos).

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