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There’s been a flurry of conversation throughout the ‘net about Parallels’ performance relative to some of our competitors in the market. Most of this stems from a recent benchmark review by CNET, in which Parallels appears to lag behind the competition in performance.
Shocking at first glance, but when you dig a bit deeper, as my colleague Ilya Baimetov of SWsoft did on his blog – you’ll see that the way that almost everything about this test was unreflective of how real people use virtualization software on Macs.
Before I continue, I should note that Ilya’s long been a proponent of fair, balanced, neutral benchmarking for virtualization, and he’s been very vocal about his ideas. I highly recommend you read his other posts on the subject to see why benchmarking for virtualization so badly needs a vendor & platform neutral standard.
The more I looked at the CNET tests, the more I started to think to myself “Is raw processing speed the most important thing to productivity?” The answer, of course, is “of course not”. It’s important to be sure, and there is a certain line in the sand past which any solution becomes unusuable due to poor performance. Those of you who used to use Virtual PC for Mac know what I’m talking about!
What is much more important to productivity when it comes to desktop virtualization is ease of use and seamless integration. Why? Because desktop virtualization – especially for “everday” users like me and you – isn’t about running high-load, multi-threaded applications in isolated, theoretical test environments. Its about getting more done in less time.
We have chosen to focus our efforts on building features that drive productivity by saving headache and hassle, rather than wasting hundreds of man-hours trying to make an application open a few microseconds sooner. Here are a few examples:
- SmartSelect: For the first time ever, you can open any file type in either OS with any application in either OS, without any complicated setup. This is huge time saver and productivity versus how our competitors handle files and applications. I’ll spare you the long-winded explanation, but lets just say that you’ll save a few billion microseconds this way.
- Explorer: Add files too and pull files from your VM when its off. Hundreds of times faster and infinitely more efficient than booting and shutting down Windows, even using a competitors’ supposedly faster dual core VM on a monster 8-core Mac Pro.
The list goes on and on. My point is that while performance is important, its not the be all and end all of why virtualization is so important. Ask yourself how much time you’re willing to waste on extra clicks to save a few fractions of a second on load or boot time, I think you’ll come to the same realization as me…that speed is important, but its useless without the right tools to make it work efficiently.
We’re going to continue down this road of revolutionizing and simplifying the user experience so that working with multiple OSes and application sets becomes so fast and so transparent you won’t even be able to tell that you’re not runnign everything natively. We hope you’ll join us for the ride.
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