Parallels Desktop for Mac

Run Windows on Mac OS X with no reboot!
Parallels is one of the most interesting pieces of software I’ve seen in a long time. It’s not that it’s virtualization either. I’ve been following VMware since the inception. It’s the fact that they’ve created the one piece of the puzzle that every other virtualization misses. The ability to interact directly with a virtual application as if it was native.
VMware doesn’t do this. Neither does Xen. In fact, none of the current offerings for virtualization offer direct interaction with virtual applications except for Parallels. Even more interesting is that Parallels is one of the few virtualization packages that has a MacOSX host product, and if not the first one to have it.
And THAT is why it is worth the money. The name of the feature? Coherence.

So why is Coherence worth it? Coherence is strictly to interact with Windows applications (yes, we know that it’d be wonderful if it could do the same with linux applications, but one thing at a time shall we? ). WIth Coherence, when you open a virtual Windows application, an application icon appears on the active MacOSX dock. You can drag this icon over to your usual dock.
The next time that you open the application, it will launch Parallels in the background and open the application straight onto your MacOSX desktop. Just like a MacOSX application.
Now if that doesn’t make it exciting, I don’t know what does. That means that the Mac now has Windows applications available in a seamless format. The keyword here is seamless. As far as anyone can tell, you’re using a Windows application directly in your Mac and it works the same way.
The only negative about virtualization? You can’t play games due to no 3D support (if you discount the DirectX 9 beta from VMware) and your performance of your virtual applications could be slightly lacking since you’re sharing resources with your host operating system.
Currently, Parallels Desktop for Mac (Intel Mac) [affiliate] will run you about eighty bucks.