MSP's review of Parallels RAS - this company is NOT just for Windows on a Mac
March 07, 2020

MSP's review of Parallels RAS - this company is NOT just for Windows on a Mac

Donny McIver | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Parallels Remote Application Server

The whole organization uses Parallels Remote Application Server to replace normal terminal server access methods requiring a VPN or publishing through the web.
  • Ease of publishing remote desktop service to PC / Mac / iPad
  • Granular management of user/group permissions to resources
  • Flexible publishing options - RDS farm, individual computers, etc
  • Documentation is overly long - could easily be streamlined
  • Better example of securing deployments against vulnerabilities
  • Significantly improved our speed to deploy Parallels Remote Application Server solution easily
  • Provided new revenue opportunities, we're still evaluating how to best integrate into our product offering mix
  • Internal use is fantastic
First and foremost, Parallels Remote Application Server is a game changer in price performance compared to Citrix. In addition, the security and flexibility compared to a traditional Microsoft RDS solution is night and day better both in terms of security and configuration options. Most people will equate it to Citrix, where you can publish both the traditional remote desktop interface as well as a set of applications using a wide variety of clients to access (Windows / Mac / iOS / etc.).
While we haven't explored the VDI aspect yet, simply focusing on RDS and application publishing has been fantastic. Take an application like QuickBooks where end users are on a Mac - traditionally, they had to VPN and Remote Desktop to a server to access QuickBooks. Now, with the Parallels Remote Application Server client installed on a Mac, they can have a QuickBooks icon published to their Mac for single-click access straight to the remote application for a very seamless experience. The addition of having a printer and drive mappings and the flexibility of also exposing the full RDS interface if needed on a user by user basis is incredible. Simply put, we're fans!
Sometimes we're on the go, and choosing an iPad over a laptop is a very nice option of convenience made ever so more realistic now that we can publish apps and RDS via the Parallels Remote Application Server app to an iOS device. However, if a user is unexpected without such a device, having a secure manner to access via HTML5 interface is a nice alternative.
We primarily roll Hyper-V for our clients - but having the flexibility to support VMWare is nice as well, knowing we won't have to learn a new solution to support either direction. However, we're still not leveraging the VDI capability provided by Parallels Remote Application Server. Simply, we've been enamored with the ease and options to publish Parallels Remote Application Server differently than in the past.
Specifically, having groups or individual users' ability to have granular sets of permissions (or exceptions) has been a lifesaver. With the HTML5 gateway, we expected SSL protection as a given - anytime you're exposing authentication against Active Directory, you need as much security as possible. Implementing 2FA in conjunction becomes a necessary approach, and we'd like to see additional documentation specifically around this topic and best practices approach to ensure policies are in place to protect AD from malicious behavior.
Ease of accessing support from the Parallels Remote Application Server deployment team was great - and we applaud the fact they have so much documented. However, some of the documentation becomes laborious to sift through and quite repetitive. We don't always need 250-page manuals full of screenshots or eight pages of ever so slightly different deployment designs. We'd like the technical writing team at Parallels Remote Application Server to completely rethink their entire documentation approach. Perhaps more effort needs to be given on contextual help within the application and installation tools.

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

Yes

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

Yes

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

Yes

Did implementation of Parallels Remote Application Server go as expected?

Yes

Would you buy Parallels Remote Application Server again?

Yes

Microsoft Office 365, Veeam Backup & Replication, Asana, Harvest, Slack
Rapid deployment capability, ease of setting up / deploying, and low cost make it a no brainer to embrace Parallels Remote Application Server. Compared to some alternatives out there, it almost seems too easy and too good to be true. Candidly, the first time we rolled it out, we way over thought things and spent too much time in the weeds. Our suggestion now, spin up a sandbox and just go, go, go -- kick the tires and figure out which one of the many deployment scenarios makes sense in your environment. Then re-deploy in production -- don't spend too much time trying to think through it or wade through the endless amounts of documentation.