Feature Packed Publishing or Remote Desktops and Apps
March 07, 2020
Feature Packed Publishing or Remote Desktops and Apps
Score 7 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Parallels Remote Application Server
We use Parallels Remote Application Server to publish seamless terminal server apps and desktops to the majority of our company's users, both internally and externally, via the web portal. We find the product fills the gap rather nicely between just using the Microsoft RDS capabilities and going for a much more expensive solution like Citrix.
- Good device support - IOS, Android, PC, Mac, Chromebox, etc
- Easy to set up and use
- Covers a lot of bases with one product (RDS, VDI, seamless apps, desktops, printer/device redirection, web portal, etc.)
- Supports multiple hypervisors for VDI
- Printer redirection reliability always seems to be a sore spot (still was with Citrix too)
- Better support for multiple monitors and seamless apps on Chrome OS anything besides a full desktop, and the experience isn't very good. This may be more of a Chrome OS limitation.
- Hoping to see some sort of support for Windows Virtual Desktop coming in the future - maybe a SaaS deployment of Parallels Remote Application Server rather than spinning up VMs in the cloud for the Parallels components. It seems like perhaps they're moving in that direction with the web management.
- We'd like to limit the ability to log in to the web portal or say inside the network vs. outside based on the AD group. As of now, we can define what apps they get, but we can not limit login altogether.
- Although they hit us with a significant price increase a while back, it's still cheaper than similar alternatives.
- We've avoided the expense of a significant Citrix deployment while avoiding the administrative burden of just using MS RDP features.
- I might suggest a lower price point if a user only publishes apps/desktops and then maybe tack on VDI, etc. as a second tier. I suspect many people don't use VDI, and the yearly subscription price might scare them off.
To be honest, we thought of Parallels Remote Application Server as a poor man's Citrix. We went with it initially because it met the immediate need and was a lot cheaper, but that might not be a fair description considering the features provided. They've continued to add new features over the years at a pace that seems encouraging even after they transitioned from 2X to Parallels Remote Application Server.
The setup is pretty intuitive, and the documentation is pretty complete. Some areas that could probably be enhanced would be things like scripts to implement best practices for security on RDS Session Hosts, etc. Most of this still has to be done by GPO or server by server, and this stuff is the much harder part of deployment rather than the actual set up of the Parallels Gateway, publishing desktops/apps/etc. That part is a breeze.
HTML5 does enable users to connect and launch apps from a broader range of devices in a pinch. We hope to eventually be able to get away from needing the Parallels Remote Application Server on devices. Still, as of yet, the performance and feature parity with HTML5 vs. the full client is not there. Things like audio redirection, printer redirection, and just overall graphics performance are still missing or not as good with HTML5 as compared to the
This is a plus for us knowing that Parallels Remote Application Server continues to support many hypervisors and devices. We're always a bit concerned with vendor lock-in scenarios, and Parallels Remote Application Server has kept up with new hypervisors on the market. It's nice that we won't have our investment squandered if we make a change to a different solution that we use. Once the web management functionality is complete, I don't see a reason why they couldn't deploy their components as appliances or SaaS and allow customers to avoid Windows servers.
Parallels Remote Application Server makes it pretty easy to set up the SSL certificate on the website and control what users see which apps/desktops based on AD groups. They also support several MFA solutions. I think the documentation surrounding MFA and scenarios where you might want to require MFA from external users, but not internal users could stand to be improved a bit.
We have not needed to use support very much over the years. The most recent issue was with a license that didn't get properly applied on a server due to an IP change, and the support tech was able to get it figured out within 15 minutes. We've had some issues with printer redirection over the years, and they've never really been able to get it 100% reliable, but I'm not sure if this is a support issue or development issue.
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?
I'd say any time you're considering using MS RDP, Citrix, VMware Horizon, etc. you should at least consider having a look at Parallels Remote Application Server. It packs a lot of features for the price even if it doesn't seem to be quite as well known as some of the alternatives. We've been able to use it for publishing seamless apps, desktops both internally and externally to PCs, iPads, phones, Chromeboxes, etc. We've toyed with the VDI features but have not fully implemented them.