Parallels Desktop 6 Mac Enterprise Edition Goes Live

Dave Courbanou

July 12, 2011

3 Min Read
Parallels Desktop 6 Mac Enterprise Edition Goes Live

Parallels, the virtualization company that has made running Windows on the Mac a popular pastime for both home users and work users, has launched the latest version of its enterprise version of Parallels Desktop. Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac Enterprise Edition brings new features and better compatibility for widescale Mac deployment. Details follow …

Parallel’s goal with Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac Enterprise Edition (PD6), is to alleviate “pain points” for IT staff dealing with the influx of Macintosh computers in a traditional PC-environment workplace. Oftentimes Mac users need to run one or two critical Windows programs but are reluctant to use a full Windows environment with Apple’s Boot Camp. Running PD6 on a Mac allows a user and IT admin to install and run a Windows program as though it was native, side-by-side with existing Mac apps.

But what makes it “enterprise”? According to Parallels, PD6 is designed to be a “policy-compliant solution,” enabling IT admins to enforce corporate needs by internally pushing PD6 software updates and creating preconfigured deployments, making the maintenance of widespread Macs running Parallels super easy. PD6 also includes a mass deployment package builder that can install the solution on multiple Macs at once, making setup time shorter.

The use of Parallels allows companies to maintain their investments in Windows-based software while giving creative departments or other Mac-needing individuals the freedom to work on their preferred platform. Parallels claims that 50 percent of the Fortune Global 200 have used Parallels this way, with PD6 deployments reaching more than 1,000 Macs in some workplaces. Interestingly, Parallels claims some of the aforementioned customers using the software were able to decrease their IT costs by 33 percent, and the IT department ended up with fewer machines to support.

Parallels didn’t specify why these customers were able to reduce the number of supported machines, but offered up research showing that the use of Macs in the corporate environment is growing: A Parallels-based survey (which should be taken with a grain of salt) noted 58 percent of respondents worked for companies that allowed employees to choose either a Mac or PC. Of those, 53 percent said they picked a Mac over a PC because it was “the most useful.” Still, it’s a trend worth noting, and something that is likely linked to the consumerization of IT, along with a testament to Mac OS X’s stability.

PD6 comes as a yearly subscription service (though a minimum of 100 Macs is needed to use this pricing structure) with a unified volume license key, making licensing issues are a thing of the past. This key also allows IT departments to have access to Parallels’ own business support and the latest updates and betas, streamlining the process for burdened IT departments.

But here’s some perspective: Even as a huge Mac fan, I’m skeptical of the cost savings. Outside of the price tag for PD6, if you’re responsible for deploying Macs in a corporate environment, you still need Mac-related security software to ensure Macs are not carriers for Windows-based malware. That costs money, and despite Parallels’ optimism, it will still take time to deploy and install that client on many Macs. Once in place, however, it’s very likely future software decisions will be much easier.

Lastly, Macs are more expensive than PCs. If you’re deploying 1,000+ Macs with PD6, it’s not exactly a cheap solution to a problem. PD6 is really perfect for companies that want the best of both worlds. Once PD6 is deployed, it’s likely IT admins won’t have to deal with issues from Mac users, and that, by itself, is where time and money are saved and IT admins are happy.

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