While talk of virtualization remains dominated by powerhouse VMware Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., and competitors with clout like Lowell, Mass.-based Virtual Iron Software Inc., virtualization software maker Parallels Inc. is steadily gaining steam in the market. The Renton, Wash.-based company launched a revamped channel program earlier this year.
The brainchild of Russian developers, Parallels in January merged with its parent company, SWsoft, keeping the name Parallels. Its flagship product, Parallels Desktop for Mac, allows Mac users to run Microsoft's Windows operating system on a virtual machine.
Parallels is a privately held company that had a $100 million run rate last year and has more than 900 employees and about 1,000 reseller partners. Last year, the company grew 135 percent over 2006, and business has grown more than 100 percent every year since its founding in 1999.
"The current Parallels incarnation is really able to optimize technology via virtualization management automation from every level of the business from desktops up to data centers," said Bill Portin, vice president of sales and operations at Parallels, based in its Herndon, Va., office. "The product set is evolving, and there are a lot of very new things happening over the course of the next 12 months."
Following its rebranding as Parallels, the company has retooled its channel program, the Parallels Global Channel Partner Program, as it attempts to move beyond its desktop virtualization heritage. The new program has Registered, Gold and Silver partner tiers.
Registered solution provider partners can resell the Parallels product and have access to the company's partner portal, e-mail support and technical support via phone. Gold and Silver partners can resell the company's enterprise line, with discounts through distribution and training. Gold partners are also eligible for deal registration and dedicated phone support.
"We have a lot of technology that's unique to the Parallels organization," Portin said. "We've built [our channel] from the beginning and have always been very channel-centric, partner-led and partner-engaged."
At the beginning of the year, Parallels entered a distribution relationship with broadline distributor Tech Data Corp., Clearwater, Fla., and announced earlier this month that Tech Data will distribute its container virtualization product, Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.0.
Partners that want to sell Parallels Virtuozzo Containers must have engineers certified through the Parallels Certified Virtualization Professional Program. Engineers can take a three-day course in either Herndon, Va., or Seattle--either through the company directly or through Tech Data.
Earlier this year, Parallels also launched the beta of Parallels Server, a hypervisor virtualization product that can run on Windows, Linux or Mac-based servers meant to compete with the likes of VMware and Virtual Iron.
According to Portin, Parallels hopes to compete on margin as well as on the innovative nature of its technologies. "Our margin offerings on software alone are about three times the average margins you're getting from existing partners," Portin said. Solution providers can also expect to make money on services work, he added.
In the coming months, Parallels expects to launch its Server for Mac product line. "That is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Mac communities," Portin said.
Portin said, however, that the company doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a Mac-only solution.
"We do separate out our go-to-markets and channels on the Apple line as well as the Windows and Linux lines," he said.