Almost a decade of Parallels Remote Application Server and still happy
Updated July 29, 2022

Almost a decade of Parallels Remote Application Server and still happy

iain Stephen | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Parallels Remote Application Server

We use Parallels Remote Application Server to replace Citrix Servers and deliver a simple yet powerful tool to our end users for running published applications and accessing network resources from either mobile platforms or from other locations that are offsite. We found it simpler to get up and running and much less expensive than Citrix.
  • Printing from published applications.
  • Easy to set up and keep running.
  • We would like to be able to do what we do with Citrix published ICA files—essentially free-standing configurations that once ran function like a local application while they log in (in the background).
  • Parallels is much less expensive than Citrix to purchase and maintain
  • It allows us to leverage older technology by letting us run applications on thin clients.
Well, of course, we use Terminal Services and Remote Desktop Protocol. That is an everyday occurrence. We use Parallels to provide RDP from the server to LAN workstations for some users as they travel. Works very well as a secure RDP gateway. We also used Citrix for many years for our paramedics to publish ICA files for scheduling systems as well as for remote access to some other software. Citrix is hard to beat but Parallels is a very close cousin.
It is definitely a good way to provide virtual and remote desktop access for specific users. VPNs are ok, but there are times when applications need the speed of a local area connection to function well, and Parallels certainly does allow the illusion of a local application that runs at network speeds since it is actually happening on the server. The central console is simple to understand and it's easy to add/remove users to available applications and resources.
We use Parallels Remote Application Server on a wide variety of devices—Windows PCS, Windows laptops, Microsoft Surface products, various iOS devices (iPads, iPhones), and Android tablets and phones. We have found that for the most part, the experience is the same regardless of the product being used, which keeps it simple for the end-users, and as a result, is simple for support as well.
We do run Parallels over HyperV, but I cannot speak to how it runs on VMWare and ESXi environments. Simply put: we have had no difficulty bringing up and maintaining Parallels Remote Application Servers in our environment. The licensing is straight forward and the installation is smooth and simple for us.
Security is always a concern. We use a host of tools to verify the end user's identity and we assign permissions based on the user who is connecting. We set up granular permissions for those in our finance department, and we encrypt everything at 2048-bit at this time. We are considering some multi-factor authentication for some users but at this time have not gone that route.
Although we have very rarely needed any form of support for our Parallels Remote Application Servers, we have found the support team to be quick and knowledgeable, with the right answers to figure things out. We get regular email communications for licensing and updates to the software. We have been very pleased with the limited amount of support that we have needed - and more pleased that we don't really need support for this product very often.

Do you think Parallels Remote Application Server (Parallels RAS) delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with Parallels Remote Application Server (Parallels RAS)'s feature set?


Did Parallels Remote Application Server (Parallels RAS) live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of Parallels Remote Application Server (Parallels RAS) go as expected?


Would you buy Parallels Remote Application Server (Parallels RAS) again?


It is well suited for providing access to applications behind the firewall, especially legacy ones, while maintaining tight control over access through normal login procedures and protocols. We found it a little more difficult to use on MAC products. However, that may just be a local issue as we are less familiar with them.

Using Parallels Remote Application Server

54 - Finance and administration, supervisory, support and front line staff all use Parallels for day-to-day functions via published applications for the most part. This includes Ontario Works, Children's Services, Infrastructure and Asset Management, Paramedic Services and of course Information Systems. Some users also use it as a way to RDP to their workstations if necessary.
2 - Parallels is fairly easy to support - primarily it's a case of adding published applications or adjusting the filtering to enable or disable them by user or group. We have put a few policies in place that are group-based to clear things up for some people. Overall, once it is up and running support is simply the same as any other server -update and restart on a regular basis.
  • A more secure way to provide remote access for staff
  • A predictable experience from any location
  • Simple to support from remote location or on prem
  • Compatibility across multiple platforms - including mobile.
  • We have two applications that would not run on Windows 11 - legacy apps - that we now publish and run using parameters on our Parallels environment
  • For the two or three users that don't want to use a Parallels environment - for their own reasons - we publish RDP to their local workstation on the LAN - so they can simply 'sit at their desk' via parallels.
  • Parallels provided very quick and adaptive way to let workers go remote during the pandemic - with almost zero downtime.
  • We are looking at full virtual desktops - VDI - that may make life simpler for some users
  • We hope to publish Teams and support video calls/meetings at some point soon.
  • Limited access for specific consultants and contractors via Parallels is on the radar - as opposed to direct access or VPN
We have been using Parallels since it was called 2X - it is a major part of how we do business. It is fairly simple to use and maintain - staff like it, we like it. It is a product that makes a promise - and it keeps it. As Parallels evolves, and clean bandwidth becomes more readily available everywhere - it just makes sense to continue to use Parallels in our environment.

Evaluating Parallels RAS and Competitors

Yes - Parallels replaced Citrix many years ago - when Parallels was still called 2x. Parallels was much simpler, easier to maintain and the licensing made much more sense for our environment. It was also substantially less expensive over all - which is an added bonus. We have never looked back and don't plan to.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
I wish I could say that the single most important factor was the Product Features - but in truth, the single most important factor was actually the price. When we replaced Citrix with Parallels it was initially a cost-saving alternative. It was only after we had it in place that we came to the realization that it was simpler and had some great features that we use every day.
If we had to do it again - we would never have considered Citrix in the first place, however I do not believe Parallels (2X back then) existed at the time. It would have been nice to have only used Parallels right from the start - but unfortunately things don't always evolve in the smoothest way possible.

Parallels RAS Implementation

Overall, it was pretty simple compared to most other projects. Again, we had a strong familarity with the product so there was not much of a learning curve. Our 'biggest' issue is the end-user understanding of a 'local' application and a published application. For example - Online meetings need to run locally for camera/video to work smoothly so opening a link to a meeting from a published application continues to be an occasional issue.
  • Third-party professional services
Unique Data in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario implemented the original Parallels Servers in our organization. We highly recommend them for all things IT-related. We have been enjoying the support of Roger Lapointe from Unique Data for many years. Always a quick turnaround and a very knowledgeable response. If we need them - they are there.
Change management was minimal - WE have been using Parallels (2X) for many years here for various functions. We did ramp it up during COVID as we were sending office staff home to work remotely - that was a change - we added licensing and new servers to accomodate this - but overall, since we were very familiar with Parallels - most of the change was more about location and bandwidth at home - which is something that Parallels handles exceptionally well.
  • Licensing (Microsoft more than Parallels)
  • Publishing a lot more applications than we had previously - which was simple and smooth
  • Addressing resolution problems for staff with multiple monitors.

Parallels RAS Training

If you have time and resources available, structured training is always the best way to go. However, Parallels is fairly simple to understand - at least the more rudimentary parts of it. I would like to add to my understanding of the product with some additional training - if time and $$ allow for it down the road, but we have been using it for so long, training for it takes a low priority.

Configuring Parallels RAS

I think the configurabilty still has a few more possibilites - for example I would like to 'publish' an application in Parallels that actually is a shortcut to a local application on someone's PC... that way to the end users - they have everything they need right in the Parallels application GUI - and don't know or care whether it is local or remote (like Teams, Outlook, Zoom, Softphone).
I would also like to see a bit more around resolution in the policies.
Having said that - the simple options on how to handle published applications and web links across multiple browsers - well, they are great.
The best practices for configuring Parallels would be to create your specific groups (in Active Directory) for filtering applications in a clear and concise way prior to implentation. You can then quickly and easily roll out your applications in filtered folders/groupings on the server - and it is then simply a matter of duplicating the applications that need to be in multiple areas and dropping them in those folders.
No - we have not done any customization to the interface
No - we have not done any custom code
We added our company logo to the portal, and we do add icons for published applications that are familiar to staff, but other than that we just used the product the way Parallels intended. We try to avoid customizations since we have had issues with that over the years with other products - customizations and updates often don't like each other...¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That issue is of course not specific to Parallels.

Parallels RAS Support

Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
We have standard support for Parallels - we are confident that if we run into an issue we cannot resolve internally, then we have support from Parallels and if necessary other consultants to address the problem. This has been very rare though. Overall this product simply works the way you need it to work - and is very easy to support.
We have rarely required support for parallels - there are countless help articles for almost any scenario that let you resolve your own issue without ever opening a ticket. I cannot say that Parallels provided "exceptional" support because they never really had to. Having said that, I am reasonably confident that if we needed them to step up, they would be there for us.

Using Parallels RAS

Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Published applications are very simple to set up
  • Different browsers for different applications - very elegant
  • Filtering published applications by group or user - for full client or HTML5 - super simple
  • Supporting staff with questions about applications is easy.
  • We wish that we could do a bit more with policies
  • Sometimes the cause of an issue is not clear - for example resolution issues with multiple monitors - shows up as a network error (at least in the past)
Yes - Many times we have pulled over and used our phones to connect to the parallels environment to connect to servers and/or applications to support staff who need something done right away. While the better experience overall will always be on a larger screen, the mobile interface is intuitive and gives users a way to get something done on the fly. Very useful.
As you may see from other parts of my review - Parallels makes a promise and lives up to it. It is simple and straightforward for staff who use the published applications all day long. They love that fact that if they have a power-blip or Internet blip at home - they do not lose their work - it recovers/reconnects and lets them keep going right where they left off.
The published applications make life simple for both the staff and for those of us who have to support them. Overall, it is the simplest way to give people the option to work remotely - and we have several staff who use it right here at their desk in the office as well.

Parallels RAS Reliability

We added our Integrated Services Staff to parallels, with filtered, published applications - in a single afternoon. We added licensing and installed the desktop client software on multiple platforms both in the office and at remote sites all on the same day - and got remote users that had never used the product up and running - very quickly.
If there are any issues with Parallels - they are usually more about the server operating systems than Parallels itself. It would be rare for us to have any reason to take Parallels offline - we schedule a reboot on the servers at 3am to keep the O/S itself fresh, but again - it is not a Parallels issue. If individual users have any issues we ask them to completely log out of parallels - which ends their session - and then back in - and that typically resolves the issue right away.
I am giving Parallels 9/10 on this one because the only application that sometimes seems slow or has issues - is Microsoft Outlook. It is sometimes the result of a pop-up that may not show up in the published application (vs full desktop). Other than that - pages load very quickly - and it does not seem to slow down other applications that are running at the same time. Most of our users run Outlook, softphone and Teams locally - and published applications for everything else. When they do that - it is very solid.

Integrating Parallels RAS

While we don't specifically integrate using the tools mentioned previously - the options are there if people choose to use them.
  • Published applications integration across multiple environments
Not really sure what to say about this - perhaps I misunderstand the question. For us, Parallels is not about integration specifically - it does allow us to provide a single source for multiple applcations that use varied parameters and exist in both on premise and SaaS environments - we integrate those by providing that single point of entry to get to them, I suppose.
Our tools are part of the published applications themselves, not so much integration using additional tools
If you need integration it will be there - just a matter of tweaking things to get it to work.

Relationship with Parallels

We use a third party - Unique Data in Sault Ste. Marie - for sales and implementation of our Parallels environment. They are extremely knowledgeable, reasonably priced and quick to respond when necessary. We call on them for many projects, not just Parallels. I highly recommend them for any size project.
If we need them - they are always just an email or a phone call away. I have never had an issue that they couldn't resolve in a quick and efficient manner. Our organization has been working with Unique Data (SSM) for over 20 years and we plan to keep doing so for many more years.
We have a long-standing account with this vendor - the terms have never changed.
All I can say is call or email them - they are always quick to respond.

Upgrading Parallels RAS

Yes - We have been through several upgrades to new releases - they are released regularly. Thus far the upgrade process is smooth and as expected, with minimal downtime while the server updates are processed. Client upgrades can be slightly more cumbersome at times for the end users, but generally speaking it is a very simple and straightforward process.
  • Support for additional security
  • Stability enhancements (although it was always very stable)
  • Hoping to see more policy capability
  • Support for local application shortcuts - that appear as published applications