Parallels, makers of the popular Parallels Desktop for Mac software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows side-by-side without having to reboot, on Thursday announced the Parallels Technology Network (PTN). The goal of the new resource is to consolidate the efforts of developers working on third-party Parallels "Virtual Appliances."
Virtual Appliances (VAs) are self-contained Parallels software modules -- often built using Linux -- designed to provide specific functionality with a minimum of fuss. Users who download the VAs can simply start them up without having to manually configure Parallels.
There's a VA that runs the OpenOffice productivity software suite, for example, or a storage server that provides file service using SMB and FTP protocol support. VAs exist for networking, software development, database management. There's even a VA player vs player server for Warcraft III, the popular game from Blizzard Entertainment.
Billed as "a combination research library, development lab and community forum," the Parallels Technology Network features a searchable Knowledge Base containing everything from fAQs to white papers, VA documentation and more, community forums and a VA directory
Participation in the PTN is free -- users can participate in forum discussions and submit VAs to the lab for review; VA Partners can post logos and URls in the directory, and can also work on co-marketing efforts with Parallels, and Technology Partners exist as a special certification for vendors working very closely on Parallels on complex VAs.