Virtual OS X Server Screenshots

Apple now allow you to virtualize OS X Server instances. While your virtualization options are limited, it’s very easy to set up on your existing OS X Server.

This is an virtualized OS X Leopard Server guest running in Parallels Server on a host OS X Leopard Server. You can see that the guest system is treated similarly to other Windows and Linux VMs in the Parallels Management Console.

Note that a distinct serial number/license seems to be required. The serial number for the host machine will not validate (I thought Apple was going to allow one VM instance???), so to use the sweet service configuration tools available in Server Admin, it appears you’ll need a separate license for now.



Parallels Server Pricing: Redux

After a few grumpy emails between myself and our Account Manager, I’m happy to report that we have purchased the GA release and it’s working well. If you are using Parallels Server for internal development purposes and not for hosting, they will extend a more reasonable price per machine: $200 + $50/year maintenance. I think that’s a very reasonable price point for our usage, and am happy to pay it.

This likely has more to do with meeting end-of-Q2 sales quotas than attracting my dinky business, but regardless, a win is a win! Thanks!



Parallels Server for Mac Pricing

Fresh from my inbox..

Parallels Server for Mac will be available soon. As a thank you to all participating Parallels Server for Mac Beta users, Parallels is offering an exclusive discount on a single Parallels Server for Mac license. Purchase this new software for only $700* – a 30% savings.

Hmm… well, the product has been working fairly well for us at OpenRain, but I’m not sure $700 per major version is going to be worth it as opposed to buying another cheap Dell machine and running VMWare Server on Linux for free, which we already do in some of our hosted environments. Here’s the kicker in tiny font at the bottom of the email explaining the asterisk after “$700”..

The limited-time discount offer is limited to a single server from May 30 – June 30, 2008. Annual maintenance is required at the time of purchase, starting at an additional $249.75 per year. For academic pricing and volume licensing, register now or contact Parallels Sales at +1 (425) 282-6400.

So that’s $950 for the first year of our first system alone. Hmmmm… 


Redmine w/OS X OpenLDAP, Parallels Server and JumpBox

OpenRain used a slew of crappy Trac sites for issue tracking until we switched to Redmine several days ago. The decision came because..

  • Redmine can authenticate off LDAP with trivial configuration.
  • Redmine has multi-project support out-of-the-box.
  • Redmine has some nifty Gantt chart and calendaring schwag and is generally better.
  • Parallels Server (for OS X) is finally available.
  • JumpBox has a beta Redmine VM image available.

If you’ve got an existing LDAP infrastructure, the whole shebang shouldn’t take more than an hour or two to set up.

  1. Install Parallels Server on your OS X Leopard server.
  2. Download the Redmine JumpBox. Generate a new MAC address and boot it. Do the one-page configuration thingy in your browser.
  3. Log into Redmine and create a new “Authentication Mode” set to LDAP. If you’re using the default OpenLDAP schema that ships with Leopard server, enter the attributes like so..redmine.png
  4. All your users should now be able to log into your Redmine JumpBox using their LDAP credentials! You’ll have to set up your projects, ACLs etc. within Redmine, but that’s some pretty hot shizzle to get running in such a small timeframe.

Mad props to Redmine, Parallels, JumpBox and Apple for further simplifying my business.


What's Better Than Windows Balloon Help?…

Twice as much balloon help!


My current testing environment for JumpBox development uses two Windows XP virtual machines on OS X under Parallels coherence mode: one with IE6 (gold taskbar on the bottom), the other IE7 (blue taskbar on the right). While they perform sufficiently with 4GB physical RAM, the constant nurturing required to keep these retards up to date and complaint free is ridiculous, given I only boot them once every couple weeks. Dyslexia also arises when each instance periodically “forgets” I’m using a Dvorak layout and reverts to QWERTY, even when sitting idle.


It’s the little things that drive one nuts. Office 2004 for OS X, for example, sets the bar really low for usability, quality and elegance. Full-screen mode?


..I guess not. And I won’t be inserting any cells into this table, either…


Given a choice between A and A, I think I’ll choose A.


Waaaaay too much of this stupidity plagues Office. Not that Microsoft has much motivation to fix it, but it’s still sad to see such crappy software in wide-spread use.

preston.rant_mode = false


Parallels Desktop Coherence Mode Rocks: OS X/Windows XP Screenshot

I tried Parallels Desktop‘s Coherence mode today, and was so blown away I had to blog about it immediately.


The above image has not been doctored. It’s my normal OS X desktop with Windows XP running in coherence mode. When activated, the window around the XP virtualization session vanishes, the XP taskbar integrates into your OS X desktop, and XP application windows are free to float around. With Parallels Tools installed each XP application has a dock item which can be Command-Tabbed to. If you look closely you can see I’m running IE 6 next to Safari, both natively, without the visual distraction of the virtualization window. This is a huge usability landmark. Thank you Parallels!

Try it yourself by selecting the View -> Coherence menu option when running Parallels Desktop.

(Question: Does VMWare currently have a feature like this?)