Installation & Setup

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect

Installing Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect is not a straightforward process and requires a lot of prerequisites. For example, to install and set up a working environment you need to:

    1. Install .NET Framework 4.
    2. Install IIS for the web-based admin console. (If IIS is not installed, the admin web portal has to be configured manually.)
    3. Manually install the load balancer - which requires you to install .NET Framework 3.5.
    4. Agents on terminal servers (and other types of servers) have to be MANUALLY installed.
    5. To configure some of the features, administrators are required to manually modify configuration files (e.g. ini files).

Parallels Remote Application Server

Parallels Remote Application Server (Parallels RAS) can be installed using a normal Windows MSI package. The installation does not have any prerequisites and once installed all the components are already running and can be configured directly from the console using easy-to-use wizards. New servers, agents and other additional components can all be installed remotely from the Parallels Remote Application Server Console at the click of a button.

Application Virtualization

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect Disadvantages

When publishing a resource (application, document or desktop) through Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect, each published resource has to be configured as a standalone object. Even when publishing an application, file associations have to be configured manually.

Parallels Remote Application Server

Parallels Remote Application Server supports grouping of published resources, therefore filtering and other settings can be propagated from a group to all published resources within it, thus avoiding repetitive work.

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Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect supports Radius and RSA SecurId (one-time code) authentication.

Parallels Remote Application Server

parallels Remote Application Server supports Radius, Deepnet (one-time code) and Safenet (one-time code) authentication, thus giving the administrator more authentication mechanisms to choose from.

Filtering

Filtering is used in both Parallels Remote Application Server and Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect to control access to published resources.

High Availability, Manageability & Scalability

High Availability

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect

  • Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect servers can be configured in Cluster mode for high availability. There are two types of cluster: Cluster and Failover. For clustering to function, it requires third party software, such as Microsoft NLB.
  • The process of configuring clusters is complicated and requires a lot of manual configuration (e.g. configuring INI files etc). Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect Clustering has several drawbacks, such as:
    • All servers in a cluster access a single database stored in a central network directory, which means that there is still a single point of failure.
    • Configuration changes can only be done from the primary server.
    • The cluster database is in binary format, which is impossible to recover in case of corruption.
    • Additional servers have to be added manually.
    • In Failover mode, if the primary server fails the monitoring server becomes the primary server. To re-assign the primary server role to the original server, the administrator has to manually switch off the temporary primary server.
    • Active connections are not clustered, therefore active sessions are monitored by each individual PowerTerm WebConnect server (it is not possible to manage connections from a central location).
    • DeskView (VDI Hosts module) does not support clustering.

Parallels Remote Application Server

  • Administrators can add additional backup servers with a single click of a button from the console.
  • Administrators can add additional gateways (to cater for more client connections) at the click of a button from the console.
  • Irrespective of how many servers there are in a farm, all connections to Parallels Remote Application Server can be monitored from the console (central location).

Load Balancing

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect

    • Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect includes a load balancer which has to be installed manually as a separate component.
    • The load balancer has to be configured from a different console.
    • Configuration of the load balancer is very complicated, e.g. administrators have to configure different modes for servers, some servers have to be added manually etc.
    • Only resource-based load balancing is available.

Parallels Remote Application Server

    • The Parallels Remote Application Server load balancer is enabled by default for all servers and no configuration is required.
    • There are two types of load balancing: resource-based and round robin.
    • Disconnected sessions are automatically reconnected so that users do not lose any work or data.

Configuration, Backup & Restore

The Parallels Remote Application Server configuration can be backed up and restored at the click of a button, through the console. Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect does not provide such automated functionality. The recommended process is to manually back up the whole installation directory, which is a time-consuming process and also takes up a lot of storage space. It is also possible that some files might be locked by the server, preventing administrators from making a completely reliable backup.

Scalability

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect does not have any features that allow it to scale up and serve more requests on bigger networks. On the other hand, Parallels Remote Application Server supports sites: administrators can set up sites in remote offices and manage them remotely from a central location. Published resources, server settings and several other settings can be propagated to all sites in the farm, thus making it very scalable. Parallels Remote Application Server also allows multiple administrators to manage the whole farm at the same time. Each administrator can be assigned specific permissions so as not to override other administrators' configuration settings.

Client Software, Connections & Management

Client Connections & Software

Both Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect and Parallels Remote Application Server can be accessed from native clients that run on Windows, Linux, Apple MacOS, iOS, Android and Chrome. Both servers can also be accessed via an HTML5-capable web browser.

Parallels RAS Advantages

Parallels Remote Application Server-published resources can also be accessed via a full Java client which is OS-independent.
Printing redirection is also extended to mobile devices.
The HTML5 portal from where users can access published applications and virtual desktops without using any native client is available by default in Parallels Remote Application Server.

Client Management

Management of the clients connected to Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect is very limited: the only possibility is to adjust the settings of the RDP connection.

Parallels RAS Advantages

 Parallels Remote Application Server allows administrators to preconfigure the Parallels Agent and also fully manage (including local and remote applications) the workstations. The integration between Parallels Client and Parallels RAS gives the IT manager a comprehensive tool for desktop management. Reporting, configuration and remote assistance are all available from the central console.

VDI Support

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect supports the following hypervisors: VMware vCenter, VMware ESX and ESXi, VMware Server, Microsoft SCVMM R2, Microsoft Hyper-V R2, Parallels Virtuozzo, Oracle VM, XenServer, Enomaly ECP, Xen Community, Red Hat KVM.

  • Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect provides hypervisor connectivity and management via DeskView, which has its own admin console (no centralization).
  • The template for guest clones cannot have multiple network interfaces.
  • The Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect template machine (used for guest clones) cannot be updated, so administrators have to create a new template machine if security updates need to be applied.
  • Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect also supports guest cloning of Linux machines, mainly Ubuntu, Fedora and Red Hat.

Parallels Remote Application Server

Parallels Remote Application Server supports Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and VMware vSphere ESXi/ESX.

Templates can be updated (with service packs and security patches) and newly created clones will be automatically updated from them, therefore administrators can ensure that users are always using the latest software.

VDI Host and hypervisor configuration and management is done via the same Parallels RAS console (centralization).

Parallels Agents are automatically upgraded in all clones without the need to manually start up each clone.

Miscellaneous Points

  • User Experience: Parallels Remote Application Server uses Microsoft’s own acceleration module to enhance user experience, while Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect uses proprietary technology (Blaze), which is available at an additional price. This also means that Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect will consume more resources when users are accessing published resources. Without paying and using this add-on, user connections will not be of good enough quality.
  • Universal Scanning: Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect does not have or support any form of universal scanning.
  • Secure Gateway: Secure gateway allows users to connect to published resources via a single port (443). Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect’s secure gateway is available as a standalone product and has to be manually installed and configured. Parallels Remote Application Server is shipped with a gateway, and additional multiple gateways can be added at the click of a button from the Parallels ApplicationServer console remotely.
  • Remote Assistance/SupportView: Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect has a built-in VNC tool that allows administrators to connect and communicate  remotely with users’ computers and shadow their desktops. The capabilities of this tool are limited to VNC. In contrast, Parallels RAS uses a proprietary solution that allows administrators to take control of any Windows desktop, from configuration deployment to troubleshooting.

Conclusion

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect has a lot of limitations when it comes to high availability, scalability and automation. A lot of tasks have to be done manually, by modifying configuration files and installing and configuring additional software, some of which is third party. It is also quite difficult to set up and maintain. Administrators have to install and configure several different software components to build a complete solution. They have to use different configuration consoles to configure and manage different features of the product, such as the load balancer and DeskView for VDI management. When compared to Parallels Remote Application Server, Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect has limitations and a lack of features: it does not have universal scanning, templates for creating guest clones cannot be updated, management of published resources cannot be grouped, etc.

On the other hand, Parallels Remote Application Server is a complete virtualization and application delivery solution. Download your free trial today.

References:

Ericom Powerterm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ericom_Software

PowerTerm Inter Connect: Windows edition | Wyse

Ericom's PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView: searchvirtualdesktop.techtarget.com

Ericom Powerterm: http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/ericoms-html5-client-for-vmware-view-10277/

 http://www.dabcc.com/article.aspx?id=6491 

http://www.channelinsider.com/c/a/Reviews/Ericom-PowerTerm-WebConnect-Challenges-Citrixs-XenApp-on-Desktop-Virtualization/

http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/brianmadden/archive/2012/01/31/a-deeper-look-at-ericom-s-quot-accessnow-quot-html5-client-why-wait-for-citrix-amp-vmware-this-thing-is-out-now.aspx


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