by November 4, 2006 0 comments

Virtualization is one the most talked about technology these days. Parallels
Workstation uses Virtual Machine technology to let multiple operating systems
and their applications run simultaneously on a single computer. Every virtual
machine (VM) operates identically to a standalone computer. You can switch
between operating systems without needing to restart the system. Parallels
Workstation uses a feature, called Lightweight Hypervisor, which is a thin layer
of software between the host computer’s hardware and the primary operating
system. In short, it controls host computer’s hardware. The software also
supports Intel’s Virtualization Technology (VT-x). It can be installed on
Linux as well as Windows.

Parallels Workstation lets you select the kind of networking your VM should
have-host only networking for your VM, no networking or bridged Ethernet mode.
You can also create a complete copy of a virtual machine using Clone Virtual
Machine wizard. A new configuration file and new hard disk drive(s) are made for
the cloned VM. The clone includes as many hard drives as are connected to an
original machine.

Applies To: IT managers
A tool for workstation level OS virtualization
Primary Link:
Google Keywords: OS virtualization

Parallels Workstation supports Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, OS/2, Solaris, and
MS-DOS as the guest OSes. It supports Windows 3.1 to Windows 2003 Enterprise
editions. All major flavors of Linux like Fedora, SUSE, Red Hat, and Debain are
supported. For Windows, OS/2 and Solaris VMs there is a set of tools called ‘parallel
tools’. These tools are utilities, like Clipboard Synchronization, Time
Synchronization and Disk Compacting tool, that can help you configure and use
virtual machines. These tools can only be installed once the guest OS has been
installed and you are logged on. One of the interesting tools here is ‘Parallels
Image.’ This allows you to create images of hard disks, floppy disks, and
CD/DVDs. Using this tool, you can modify existing hard disk images (images of
VMs) for things like converting hard disk image to another format, increasing
size of a hard disk image or defragmenting an expanding disk image.

Parallels Workstation has wizards for most things you need to do and these
wizards are invoked when you select an action to perform.

You can choose whether the virtual machine
created can access Internet, have a private network or be standalone

Using Parallels Workstation
When you create a new virtual machine with Parallels Workstation, you can select
from two templates: custom and typical. ‘Typical’ has options like how much
memory and hard disk capacity the VM has got pre-configured. The application
lets you select the size of RAM and hard disks depending on how much of them you
have on your physical machine. On our machine, it allowed us to select between 4
and 1500 MB of RAM.

Now, let’s configure a new virtual machine:

  • Start Parallels Workstation and select the option to create a new VM.
  • Select the Custom VM option and select the Guest OS you want to run in
    this VM.
  • Select the size of RAM (256 MB for example). When prompted, select to
    create a new hard disk image and select the ‘Expanding’ option. This
    lets the software resize the image as content grows.
  • Select the type of network. The Bridged option lets you use both the local
    network as well as the Internet.
  • Finally provide a name for the VM and the path to save its file and click
    on Finish.
Once a virtual machine has been created you can click on Edit and change various options like boot sequence, memory, hard drive capacity, etc

Now your Virtual Machine is ready for use and you can see its details in
Parallels Workstation main window. To configure how the virtual machine should
boot, click on Edit tab on the VM you just created, and click on ‘Booting
options’ tab.

Here you can choose the boot sequence according to your need. To start this
VM, click on Play button on the right side of the main menu. Once the virtual
machine has started you can boot it from a CD and install the operating system
on it.

Fedora Linux running in a virtual environment on a Windows 2003 Server, with Parallels Workstation installed

After you have finished using the virtual machine, you can either stop or
delete it. To delete VMs, there is a wizard that walks you through the process
and prompts you to keep or delete various configuration and image files created
for the VM.

Swapnil Arora

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