What Should I Buy? Parallels or Fusion?


InfoWorld asked me to do a head-to-head review of Parallels and Fusion. That review appeared today.

As a frequent user of both virtualization packages, I really enjoyed this review since it gave me an excuse to dig deep on some things and to talk to the product managers for both.

One thing is clear: there's some stiff competition between Parallels and VMWare and the users are the winners. These are both great products that perform well. VMWare has a performance advantage--especially when you need multi-core performance. Parallels, I think, has a slight advantage in usability and a pretty big advantage--for now--in the way snapshots work.

Read the review for details, but here's the bottom line:

  • VMware Fusion is a solid virtualization package for OS X that builds on VMware's long experience but offers a native Mac look and feel. Support for SMP and 64-bit operating systems make it the top choice for power users. Support for Windows is strong, but some switchers will find the sparse set of GUI-based management tools a turn-off.
  • Parallels Desktop is an intuitive, easy-to-use virtualization platform for switchers who need to run Windows applications alongside OS X. Convenient, GUI-based tools and a quick Windows install are the product's real strengths. Lack of support for 64-bit operating systems and some versions of Linux won't matter to most users, but could be important to developers and others pushing the platform to the limit.

Both packages cost $79.