Does what it needs to do.
September 15, 2022

Does what it needs to do.

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Parallels Remote Application Server

We use Parallels to distribute Windows applications to several thousand users worldwide in a cloud-based environment. Users needed to access Windows-based apps from multiple networks over the Internet, on machines where software may or may not be possible to deploy, so a web-based interface was a must. Printing is also a major portion of those custom applications, so printing functions need to be absolutely seamless and fully featured across all sorts of devices for users in very varied environments.

Pros

  • The printing driver is quite excellent, both in the Parallels Client and on the HTML5 client.
  • Setup is incredibly easy; the default setup is very functional, and adding features is a breeze.
  • Speed is very acceptable in general for end-users, the clients adapt quite well to the amount of bandwidth available, and features are available to adjust further.
  • Automation through PowerShell is great.
  • Support is usually quite fast and efficient.

Cons

  • Lots of undocumented error codes, and documentation, in general, is often lacking and often very outdated for RAS specifically.
  • Upgrades between versions are sometimes flaky; lots of testing is needed to ensure you have a functional gateway after an upgrade.
  • The Parallels console is generally quite good, but some changes are applied instantly, but others are applied after confirmation with no real feedback to the administrator.
  • Parallels were very cheap to implement, both from man-hours and licensing perspective compared to competitors.
  • Growth in use is very impressive for the investment it required.
Parallels were much cheaper than all the other products we looked at, and licensing costs primarily were much more appropriate to our use cases. The overall lower complexity of RAS compared to the multitude of services and settings you're required to configure in Citrix was also a strong factor for our choice. While we've not tried Citrix beyond a short demo period with some minimal configuration and playing around by IT staff, our experience with the configuration and performance of that solution convinced us that remaining with Parallels was the best choice for us. Even without the complexity, Parallels still delivered all the functionality we needed while scaling up easily to deliver what we needed four years in.
As a smaller business with a very small IT team, we've obviously benefited greatly from the ease of use of Parallels. It's incredibly easy to onboard new administrators into using the console. It's also incredibly easy for those administrators to push new apps, provide new users, and just generally use the platform. The ease of use doesn't prevent more advanced users from using the PowerShell-based cmdlets for scripting and automation as well.
As our organization needs to distribute apps to a large and varied user base that may or may not have the ability to install a thin or fat client on their devices, the HTML5 gateway is probably the most common way our end-users use Parallels. The speed is adequate, and most important of all for us, printing works extremely well with the 2X Universal Printer. Some users with more complex use cases that require advanced functions like mapping local drives can use the client as uploading files individually to the remote session host is not very viable when you have 300+ files to upload at once.
We use Parallels in AWS, and the integration between RAS and AWS is perfectly adequate. We do not use many of the VDI features or any infrastructure outside of AWS, so I can't comment on the operation with Hyper-V or ESXi.
TLS support is obviously a must in any organization, even for internal traffic. Support for TLS 1.2 and above is a business requirement for us as we need to distribute applications over the Internet, so it's obviously a great thing that the RAS gateway supports it. Multi-factor authentication is also a must in our organization; while we've yet to encounter a significant attack on our RAS infrastructure, the previous attacks on our other platforms were deflected by MFA successfully.
We've had to interact with Parallels support a handful of times over our use; the bugs we reported to them were very quickly solved (less than two weeks), and they were generally very efficient at figuring out our issues. We've never had any questions unanswered by them, and they've been quite educational throughout the experience, giving us pointers and tips on how to better use our infrastructure.

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

Yes

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

Yes

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

Yes

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

Yes

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

Yes

If you're a business that needs to distribute line of business or general office-type apps to remote or even local users, RAS is a great alternative compared to its overly complex competitors. Even with a small IT team, anyone can get going and produce a functional application cluster and have users onboarded in no time. Your users will be up and running very quickly for most use cases, but if you require some custom functions or if you're thinking about plug-ins or custom development, you may wish to lock elsewhere. RAS is not very easily extensible beyond automation with PowerShell, which we leverage for automatically scaling instances, but say you wished to implement AzureAD-based MFA, there's no way to do anything except TOTP-based MFA in version 18. Overall for small to large businesses, I think RAS is an excellent solution for VDI and RemoteApps-type use cases; for extremely large businesses, there'd need to be a very strong business case analysis.

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