Fills a critical gap for our Mac based organization
March 07, 2020
Fills a critical gap for our Mac based organization
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Parallels Remote Application Server
- We are a mostly Mac (95%) based educational organization, which generally works very well for us. Unfortunately, there are a few areas such as finance where Windows-only applications are required. We use Parallels Remote Application Server to publish these applications needed for use by our users.
- This includes:
- A core piece of financial software, which was initially terminal access, then switched to an Internet Explorer only Active-X based solution. We were able to transition our users to an application published by Parallels Server.
- Our library management software is also PC only. Initially, we deployed standalone Windows machines to run this software, but as they aged out, we migrated them to the Parallels client running the library application. As a positive side effect, the fact that the app was running on a server in the data center right next to the core database server made the app faster for our users.
- Our psychology team has also dealt with several very custom pieces of software for diagnosing students that were PC only. Once again, we were able to use Parallels Remote Application Server to allow them to run on their Macs.
- There have been some other pieces of software over the years that we also ran via Parallels, which have, thankfully, either started providing a Mac version or migrated to a standards-compliant web application.
- We have been delighted with Parallels Remote Application Server as a solution to help us deal with this kind of issue. It has allowed us to provide critical applications as needed without fundamentally having to change our deployments.
- Allows us to run Windows-only applications on our Macs
- The administrative console is easy to use and understand
- Ability to map local folders and printers to the remote server for use
- On the client-side, it can be challenging to get users to understand what's happening - that they're running their apps on another computer and need to log off when they're done.
- There is a nice feature to map your Mac printers to the Windows environment - but in successive versions of macOS and Parallels Remote Application Server the features seem to alternate between functional and not; we ended up installing all the printers on the server for users.
- A critical solution to provide support for Windows-only apps to our Mac workforce.
- Without it, we would have had to buy and support several dozen extra Windows only computers.
- Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly XenApp)
The much simpler licensing and management aspects of Parallels Application Server were hugely important to us. Other than the initial setup, application installation and configuration, and the occasional maintenance (software updates, disk cleanup, restart, etc.) it has been a very low maintenance solution for us.
- Setup was generally quite simple - the exception being the Microsoft Remote Desktop licensing, but that's on Microsoft rather than Parallels Remote Application Server, and I'm sure they'd simplify that if it was possible. Day to day usage of the Parallels software is quite straightforward and simple.
- For users, it's also generally reasonably simple, with a few exceptions.
- - A lot of our users struggle to understand that they're running the app on a remote server, so forget to log out when they are done.
- - Configurations for shared local resources like printers and folders from the user's Mac are simple for technical people, but challenging for general users to understand.
We've only used the Mac client, and that has been robust and easy to use for us. I've experimented with the iOS client but found the finger control of Windows applications leaves a lot to be desired. I understand there is a specific mouse you can buy, but it was relatively expensive and seemed pointless to me.
We haven't leveraged any of the virtualization features at this point, so I don't have much to say on this part.
I've only had to use their support once - it was to resolve an obscure issue with reimaged computers that wouldn't run the client application, giving a very obscure error message. Support was prompt and professional and was able to resolve the issue for us successfully.
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Would you buy Parallels Remote Application Server again?
- Parallels Remote Application Server works very well to provide Windows-only applications to our Mac users. In our case, we've used it for finance and library software mainly, but over the years, it has also helped fill in with apps or websites that didn't work on the Mac.
- One thing to note: since multiple users will be using the server, you need to make sure RAM, hard drive and CPU are adequate. I probably wouldn't recommend running hefty applications like Photoshop or 3D stuff through this solution.