A VM is not an option.... Parallels totally corrupted my system a few years back....
Having been down the bootcamp route a couple times, VMWare is by far the most convenient, most flexible and most straightforward way to run Windows on a Mac, IMVHO. I definitely recommend it for cross compiling Real Studio apps, because Real Studio is 'so' unstable on Windows, in my experience. I have a native Win7 x64 platform but have given up trying to run the IDE on it.
I have been using VMWare Fusion since it came out without any real issues. I tried Parallels once. It was OK but it was trying to be too clever.
The main thing with both products is to disable all the OSX/Windows integration features before you start your guest OS.
I also have a Mac Pro (2008) running VMWare ESX 5.1 Server (which is free), hosting half a dozen or so Windows and Linux installations. It was simple to install and works well enough, as long as you can get by working headless - SSH / X / VNC for Linux and RDP for Windows.
I have managed to get Windows 7 installed onto a Mac using a USB Flash stick (with Superdrive connected). It was a while ago but I seem to recall having to use a tool called rEFIt to overcome the Mac's EFI challenges. http://refit.sourceforge.net/
Sourcing and extracting the right Apple hardware (Windows) driver package was a bit of a pain too, from what I remember.