Teaming with Parallels, Media Temple has just announced the start of private-beta period for its latest (mt) Labs offering, the (xv) Xserve-Virtual -- which they are dubbing "the world's first VPS Leopard Server." Although virtual servers running Linux or Windows are pretty standard hosting options, this is one of the first Mac hosting opportunities I have seen period (outside of a co-lo), virtualized or not.
Now that Apple has sanctioned the virtualization of OS X Leopard Sever on Apple hardware, both Parallels and VMWare have announced plans to integrate Leopard Server virtualization into their product lines. While VMWare is integrating Leopard Server in its upcoming version of Fusion, Parallels is taking a decidedly more enterprise approach and working Leopard Server virtualization into its Parallels Server product. Parallels Server uses Parallels' bare-metal hypervisor architecture and as such, each virtual machine runs its own kernel and operating system.
Media Temple, which already partners with Parallels in its (dv) and (dpv) Nitro products, is going to be the first official hosting launch partner for Parallels Server for Mac, offering Leopard VPS hosting on Xserve hardware. The Xserves used by (mt) are running 2 x 2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5400s with 32GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM and 3x300GB 15,000-rpm SAS with 16MB disk cache drives on a Xserve RAID Card. In the private beta (apply here), the Xserves will be split into 8 virtual machines, with each VM guaranteed 2 GB of RAM and two cores of CPU resources. The advantage of using a virtual machine as opposed to a physical Xserve, aside from cost, is that hardware maintainance is taken care of by the host. Plus, if something goes completely haywire, the virtual machine can just be reinstalled to its starting point.
The (xv) can be used to host websites, run iChat and iCal server, use Podcast Producer and for anything else a regular Xserve running on a LAN can do. Anything you can install on a regular Mac, you can install on the (xv), and you can control the (xv) using both Screen Sharing and Remote Desktop. Media Temple is still working on the scalability plans for the (xv) but are planning on offering a scale-on-demand package similar to its (dv) product.
Although pricing is currently undetermined, Media Temple will be using the beta testing to find out which configurations are most efficient to help set the ultimate price.
If you have experience running a Mac server, you can apply for the (xv) beta here. It's really exciting to see OS X virtualization, both for enterprise and for home/small business use take off. I can't wait to see the final product!
Thanks Jen and Jorge!