Wednesday, 18 November 2020 19:02

Parallels reveals RAS 18 beta


Parallels Remote Application Server 18 is now available as a public beta.

Parallels has been "inundated with new (RAS) customers" over the last year, said Parallels vice president of communications John Uppendahl, and some existing customers have added thousands of seats.

As Parallels RAS is simple and fast to implement, organisations can start from scratch and have virtual desktops running on services such as Azure within a day.

A key feature of Parallels RAS 18 is unified Windows Virtual Desktop integration, allowing administrators to deploy and manage all virtual desktop workloads from the Parallels RAS console.

Other improvements include built-in auto-scaling on Azure or on-premises servers, an "AI infused" session pre-launch process to support extremely fast logins, accelerated file redirection, client security policies, and automated and streamlined admin routines.

FSLogix Profile Containers allow improved user profile management. FSLogix can be configured and managed within RAS 18.

Parallels RAS 18 FSLogix 1

25 new session detail metrics (including authentication type, user profile method, connection quality, latency, and client IS and version) are said to provide superior user session management.

Additional features planned for release by the time RAS 18 is officially launched in December include built-in automated image optimisation and a new web-based management portal.

Image optimisation will offer some 130 pre-configured optimisations, helping to make more efficient use of resources and therefore allowing increased user density while delivering a better user experience at lower cost. They are designed to be easily updated to support future releases of Windows operating systems.

Automated optimisation works across RD Session Hosts, VDI and Windows Virtual Desktop workloads.

Parallels RAS 18 Automated Image Optimization

The management portal extends and replaces the Parallels RAS Helpdesk Tool, and as features are progressively added it will eventually become the primary means of managing RAS.

Being web based, the new portal can be used anywhere and on any device.

"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 centre, 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 Parallels senior vice president of engineering and support Nick Dobrovolskiy.

"Now, with significantly enhanced support for Windows Virtual Desktop, Parallels RAS 18 delivers more previously unattainable options, customisations, and resources to IT organisations to provide new levels of infrastructure flexibility and employee productivity."

Parallels RAS costs $124.95 per concurrent user per year, including a load balancer and support. A free 30-day, full-featured trial including 50 concurrent user licenses is available.

RAS 18 is expected to be generally available in December.

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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