After Apple’s big Boot Camp announcement yesterday (that lets you install and boot into Windows on an Intel-powered Mac), I got to thinking about how much more useful it would be to be able to run both Mac and WIndows at the same time, on the same computer, and flip back and forth between them.
There’s always a virtual machine option, but you take a serious performance hit from the emulation. What I wanted was something that could take advantage of a technology that Intel has been touting for a while – “Vanderpool” VT Virtualization Technology. The ability to run multiple OSes at the same time on a multi-core processor, with a “hypervisor” that would manage and let you switch between the two.
I even went so far as to try to explain why this would be so cool to my wife, who patiently listened to me talk about how cool it was to play with Boot Camp yesterday.
Well, this morning, my wish was granted. A company called Paralells has released a virtualization product called Workstation, which claims to take advantage of the VT built into the Core Duo Intel chips. It’s still a virtual machine option, so you don’t dual boot, but run both OSes at the same time. Mac OS “hosts” a virtual machine running Windows (or whatever else – they have lots of examples on their site, including Linux and even OS/2 Warp ;-)).
There’s still a performance hit, but they claim it’s “modest”. I’d expect somewhere between the speed of a native/dual boot setup, and a slow, non-virtualized virtual machine.
Downloading now, and I’m going to play with it, to see how it feels. If performance is OK, I’d definitely prefer to have both running at the same time, opposed to having to boot into one OS at a time.
Stay tuned for updates!