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Parallels 4

Parallels 4 was released a few days ago, and frankly, every new release makes me regret not choosing VMWare. I haven't even tried VMWare, but the rapid-fire nature of the Parallels releases make me feel as if I'm but a lowly cow being milked by the Parallels farmer. "$39 more, please."

To those out there with VMWare and Parallels, which do you use and why? Is it worth switching at some point?

14 Responses to "Parallels 4"

  1. I bought Parallels about 18 months ago, but I also bought VMWare when it's 1.0 release came out a month or two later. I had always used VMWare on Windows, and so I trusted it more. It turned out it also runs Linux much, much better than Parallels. I do not know how many VMWare releases have come out since then, but I have not had to pay them another nickel. Every update has been free. When my hard drive died and I had to reinstall OSX, I did not bother to reinstall Parallels.

    I cannot see why anyone would use Parallels, other than it came out first. I'd suggest Virtual Box first: http://www.virtualbox.org/ since it is free and GPL. If it does not do everything you need then buy VMWare, which I have always found to be rock solid and offers the best performance.

  2. I bought Parallels Desktop when it was still in beta. It's a very good, capable piece of software that does what it does well.

    I tried VMware when it came out, and was impressed with what it had to offer. More than anything, as a Parallels user, I benefitted from the competition VMware brought, as Parallels got a whole lot better once VMware showed up.

    Once VMware hit version 2, I bought a license and now use it exclusively. Why? Well, it's faster, more Mac like, and seems to have fewer issues with non-Windows VMs. For instance, Parallels always seems to have trouble with Ubuntu releases. Parallels techs publish work arounds on how to get it to work weeks after their release, but I got tired of dealing with them. I haven't had any problem loading anything up (WinXP, Vista, Ubuntu, Fedora or FreeBSD) in VMware.

    There's a lot to like in the new Parallels, but read the fine print - much of the speed increases they tout require one of the new Intel CPUs that won't show up until Q1 2009. Not sure you will get their speed boost on currently shipping hardware.

    Either app will serve you well, and the competition each brings to the playing field is great for the users. It just seems to me that VMware is more interested in creating a high quality, Mac like product, where Paralells seems more interested in milking their userbase for upgrade fees.

  3. I went with VMware because of their track record. I've used VMware in one manor or another for years, and I trust them. I also liked the more complete non-Windows support. I've been happy with the choice.

  4. I went with VMware as well: there were lots of issues last fall with incoming freshman at Virginia Tech and Parallels. When time came this spring to get virtualizing software for my MBP, I decided to give VMware a shot: they seemed more polished, on top of their releases, et cetera, and more full-featured at the time as well (virtualizing the Boot Camp partition, for example).

    They've got a competitor's rebate, so you should be able to get a good discount on a copy of VMware because you own Parallels.

  5. I've been very happy with VMware.

  6. When helping a friend choose between Parallels and VMWare about a year ago I noticed increasing negative commentary about Parallels (with numerous reports of shoddy support) and more positive commentary and reasons for preferring VMWare (often compared to prior Parallels experience). He's had no problems with modest usage of a Windows XP VM running from a Boot Camp volume. Parallels would probably serve his simple needs but I trust the stability of VMWare (and its upgrades) more. No maintenance is the goal; I don't want calls to fix unfamiliar problems.

    It's easy to get an impression that the initial honeymoon exuberance with Parallels has been fading in favor of a more mature long term relationship VMWare, which is reflected in several comments here.

  7. I've been a stout VMware Fusion user since 1.0 and now use 2.0. I've enjoyed it's capabilities and it preformed a lot better than Parallels 3.

    However, with the release of Parallels 4 I downloaded the trial and gave it a shot- it has been consistantly running faster and has a LOT more options than Fusion does. The one I've found to the best features is Parallels capability to actively dole out the CPU cycles between VM and OSX applications. This assumes you'll use primarily the 'coherence' mode.

    As for the coherence vs. unity, while unity might be a bit more slick and graphically preforms a shade better, Parallels and coherence pulls ahead in the integration between the OS's and there isn't any need -at all- to switch back into windowed mode; something that isn't the case with VM Fusion

  8. VMWare is essential if you're working in a cross-platform shop. I can take a VM created w/ VMWare workstation on Linux machine, work with it, and then push it to a Win2003 server with VMWare server.

    All of which is probaly useless for you 😉

    The other consideration is track record. VMWare has been in the VM game longer. They've also done a stunning job with Fusion. I've used VMWare running on Windows, Linux, and the Mac. Fusion give, IMO, the best VMWare experience.

  9. Tom Weir said on November 17, 2008:

    VMWare is essential if you're working in a cross-platform shop. I can take a VM created w/ VMWare workstation on Linux machine, work with it, and then push it to a Win2003 server with VMWare server.

    All of which is probaly useless for you 😉

    The other consideration is track record. VMWare has been in the VM game longer. They've also done a stunning job with Fusion. I've used VMWare running on Windows, Linux, and the Mac. Fusion give, IMO, the best VMWare experience.

    I second this. While not much use to folks like Erik, I find it invaluable to be able to move VMs between different VMWare products. I also enjoy the different pre-built VMWare appliances - VMs you can download that have been built for specific purposes or around specific products.

    The ability of VMWare to be able to run from my BootCamp partition is also a huge perk.

  10. Parallels is just as capable of running the BootCamp partition. Of note for both VMware and Parallels, you cannot create snapshots (restoration points) to the BootCamp partition and to my knowledge (only done this in Fusion) you have to enter in an administrator password to load a BootCamp machine.

  11. I own both. I use Fusion more often then not, simply because I can push/pull vm's from ESX(i) servers etc.

    The "performance bump" that the new version of Parallels supposedly has is tempting me try try using it now. I've not grabbed the update.

    I like that we have a choice between the two products. It should keep both honest.

  12. I switched from Parallels to VMWare Fusion somewhere around Parallels 2, give or take.

    Why? I tried the VMWare Fusion demo and found that it took much less resources (CPU+Mac RAM over what the VM actually needed).

    Also, Unity Mode on VMWare Fusion has been more stable for me than Convergence was on Parallels.

  13. We started using Parallels @ my organization when it was at version 2 but for whatever reason we found it used a lot of resources on some of our MBPs. When fusion was released we got a couple copies and tested extensively and found Fusion to be more stable and less resource intensive, and at the time had better 64 bit and multi cpu support. I'm not able to quantify this in any real terms but Fusion also felt more like a Mac application than Parallels did. Add to that VMware's extensive VM library and much better academic pricing it wasn't long before we switched to Fusion exclusively and we haven't looked back since. Two paid upgrades of Parallels later I'm convinced we made the right choice. The new version of Parallels looks nice and the competition is great and should keep them both on their toes but dollars to donuts I think Fusion is still the superior choice.

  14. I have recently been trying both PD 4 and Fusion 2. I happen to prefer PD 4. Granted, installation was not easy, but it was doable with 3 very different VMs including an XP installation from VirtualPC 7. Thus far very stable. I find PD4 to have superior integration with the Mac. Performance is very similar between the two.


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