Parallels Remote Application Server 18 Significantly Enhances IT Administrator Capabilities and User Experience with Unified Windows Virtual Desktop Integration

Parallels Remote Application Server 18 Significantly Enhances IT Administrator Capabilities and User Experience with Unified Windows Virtual Desktop Integration

November 25, 2020 Off By Hoofer
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Parallels, a global leader in cross-platform solutions, announced the immediate availability of the public technical preview of Parallels Remote Application Server18 (Parallels RAS) – which simplifies end-user computing for service providers (SPs) and enterprises-providing an early hands-on look at an enriched Windows Virtual Desktop experience.

Parallels RAS 18 integrates industry-preferred FSLogix Profile Containers for more robust and proficient user profile management and advanced session metrics, including Parallels’ own User Experience (UX) Evaluator, to provide IT admins with superior user session management capabilities. Additional new features, including built-in automated image optimization and a new web-based management portal, will be added to Parallels RAS 18 when it launches in December.

“We’ve been inundated with enterprise and business orders for Parallels RAS because CEOs and CIOs need a cost-effective, flexible, and scalable solution their IT department can implement in less than 24 hours-hosted online with Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, in a data center, and/or on premises-to immediately deliver virtual Windows desktops and applications to any device so remote workers can easily and securely work productively from anywhere,” said Nick Dobrovolskiy, Parallels Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support. “Now, with significantly enhanced support for Windows Virtual Desktop, Parallels RAS 18 delivers more previously unattainable options, customizations, and resources to IT organizations to provide new levels of infrastructure flexibility and employee productivity.”

Unified Windows Virtual Desktop Integration

Parallels RAS 18 provides knowledge workers a single secure solution to easily access their Windows Virtual Desktop, other virtual desktops, and all their applications, regardless of where they are hosted and running. Additionally, the Parallels RAS 18 Console provides IT admins a unified workload management point of view that greatly extends and simplifies the capabilities of Windows Virtual Desktop by integrating the management of all resources and workloads into one central point. Organizations can integrate Parallels RAS deployments with Windows Virtual Desktop to easily deliver a single solution to end-users, wherever they are located.

Advantages to managing and deploying both Windows Virtual Desktop and existing applications and desktops on Parallels RAS 18 include:

  • Single pane of glass: Manage deployments and tasks from a centralized Parallels RAS Console
  • Manageability: Administer Parallels RAS and Windows Virtual Desktop environments, users, sessions, and processes efficiently with advanced metrics and comprehensive management capabilities
  • Automation: Easily automate and streamline administrative routines with a range of automation tools
  • Flexibility: Deploy apps and desktops in hybrid and multi-cloud environments
  • Auto-scaling: Scale Azure and on-premises infrastructures up or down based on demand
  • Legacy apps: Support and deliver legacy applications along with newer Windows Virtual Desktop workloads
  • Advanced functionality: Access cutting-edge features such as ultra-fast logons using session pre-launch, drag and drop functionality, accelerated file retrieval, and universal printing and scanning

Industry-Preferred Microsoft FSLogix Profile Containers

Parallels RAS 18 will integrate, configure, maintain and support FSLogix Profile Containers from within the Parallels RAS console or the newly available web-based Management Portal. The successor to User Profile Disks (UPDs), Microsoft FSLogix Profile Container solution is the preferred Profile Management solution; and Parallels RAS 18 is one of the first virtual desktop and application delivery solutions to feature it.

Benefits of leveraging FSLogix Profile Containers include:

  • Reduction in logon and logoff times
  • Decrease in traffic and processing load on file servers
  • Risk mitigation for profile corruption
  • Centralized profile management and storage control
  • Optimization for Office 365 delivery

New Metrics = Better User Session Details for Improved User Experience

Administrators and helpdesk staff need full transparency of user sessions to proactively monitor and understand the user experience without end-user intervention from the Parallels RAS Console. Parallels RAS 18 now features a User Experience (UX) Evaluator, a new solution included with a multitude of new useful metrics.

The UX Evaluator provides the administrator with an indicative quantitative measure of the user experience by calculating the time elapsed between user interaction with the published resource and the corresponding response, taking all factors into account affecting the user experience. Other important metrics included in Parallels RAS 18 include the following:

Parallels Remote Application Server 18 UX Evaluator and Advanced Session Metrics

  • Logon duration and logon breakdown 
  • Network latency and quality   
  • Transport protocol (TCP or UDP)
  • Incoming and outgoing datawithin session   
  • Number of reconnects and disconnect reasons   
  • Bandwidth availability and usage
  • Connection mode and flow through
  • Parallels RAS’ access layer (HALBs and Secure Client Gateways)  
  • Profile management solutions (UPD, FSLogix or Others)  
  • Authentication methods used

Built-In Automated Image Optimization

Parallels RAS 18 now includes built-in automated optimization capabilities for the RD Session Hosts, VDI or Windows Virtual Desktop workloads. More than 130 different pre-configured optimizations for multi-session (such as RD Session Hosts) or single-session hosts (such as VDIs) are available for administrators to choose from, manually or automatically, depending on users’ use cases and server type, to ensure a more efficient, streamlined, and improved delivery for virtual apps and desktops.

These pre-configured optimizations are designed to be easily updated to support future releases of Windows operating systems. In addition, custom scripts may also be used within the built-in tool to make use of already available optimizations to be deployed on Parallels RAS workload machines. This means administrators can:

  • Optimize workloads in preparation for virtual apps and desktop deployments
  • Provide better usage of hardware resources
  • Lower hardware footprint and storage requirements
  • Increase user density and improve the user experience with faster boot, logon, and clone time
  • Deliver a better overall user experience
  • Lower infrastructure costs

RDSH & VDI Distribution to Local Storage Drives Savings

Parallels RAS 18 provides a more cost-effective method using local storage than more expensive storage area network (SAN) solutions. Parallels RAS 18 enables customers to deploy clones from templates, used as RD Session Hosts or VDIs, not only to the centrally shared storage-such as storage area networks (SAN)-but also to the local disks of multiple independent Microsoft Hyper-V hosts.

The template is distributed to the local storage of specified Microsoft Hyper-V hosts so that clones may reside in the same local storage location. Scaling out is also easily carried out by adding other Microsoft Hyper-V providers in the template provider distribution list.

IT Admin Experience with Mobile in Mind

IT admins need to be increasingly flexible due to remote work demands, so Parallels RAS 18 is introducing the Parallels RAS Management Portal-a modern web-based configuration and management portal with expanded capabilities that replaces the Parallels RAS Helpdesk Tool.

The Parallels RAS Management Portal enables administrators using desktop or mobile devices to implement configurations and day-to-day activities including:

  • Centrally deploy, manage, and configure the fundamental Parallels RAS components-such as RD Session Hosts, Publishing Agents, and Secure Client Gateways
  • Publish resources from RD Session Hosts, as well as monitor and manage user sessions

More features and capabilities available in the desktop console are expected to be included in the Management Portal in future releases until it becomes the main management portal for Parallels RAS.

Additional Parallels RAS 18 Updates

View information on all the latest updates to Parallels Remote Application Server (parallels.com/ras).

Availability and Pricing

Parallels offers a free 30-day, full-featured trial of Parallels RAS 18, including 50 concurrent user licenses, at parallels.com/ras.

Parallels RAS offers a concurrent user license at $99.99 per-year for a lower acquisition, support and training cost-with full functionality from the start, including a load balancer and support. Parallels RAS is available online and from approved resellers, which can be found along with product details, resources, documentation, case studies, and full-featured free trials at parallels.com/ras.