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Virtualization... How 'Bout Them Apples?

Apple relaxes licensing language on Leopard Server to permit virtualized instances, VMware Fusion seems to run just fine on Leopard server and client, and the venerable MS Virtual PC still seems to work for those unfortunate souls still running PowerPC hardware. Does this mean everyone is coming to the virtualization party now?
I just wrapped up a blitzkrieg review of Apple's new server OS. Stop with the snide comments already; yes, Apple does have a new server OS. Named after a cat. And it is not CatOS, so old-school Cisco admins can stop snickering now, too.

My Leopard DVD arrived by FedEx Monday morning from Apple PR, I lost 30-odd hours of my life lab testing, final copy due to iWeek end of day Tuesday in hopes of making the Nov. 5th issue... and I'm still grimacing over the working title of the review, which actually includes the word "sexy." We'll see how that plays out come print time.

But to heck with the limitations of print. The wonder and beauty of blogging lets me delve into the tiniest niche in the virtualization market. Today that niche is "Leopard Virtualization." Now that I've come down from a post-review-caffeine run and a post-Halloween-sugar crash, we can talk Apples and cats.

What works now: I have had success with VMware Fusion on top of a dual Xeon Xserve running OS X 10.5 with 2 Gbytes of memory; client instances included XP SP2, W2K3, and RedHat + BSD Linux without a hitch. For those counting, yes, that was 5 exes in the last sentence. While Leopard wouldn't be my enterprise hosting platform of choice, Fusion makes a good show of hosting 32- and 64-bit guests on Apple hardware. Subjective performance was decent, and I know a few Mac-only shops that have been hosting a W2K3 box or two on Apple's previous server OS, Tiger, without incident for the past year.

Running an all mac-shop and need a light-duty Windows host? Take a look at Leopard + Fusion. I didn't have time to run through a thorough Parallels test, but I'm shooting for a basic performance comparison between the two Mac virtualization players sometime in the future. (I did not test Wine-based CrossOver for Mac, which has been updated to v6.2 in support of Leopard.)

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