While the IT network segment has been bombarded with new software in recent times, Microsoft Windows Server software still leads the race. According to TechNet blog, 32.8% of online websites are running on Microsoft Servers. NetCraft also confirms that there was a huge spike in the IIS market share in 2014, where millions of new websites were hosted on IIS. The latest edition of Windows Server, 2012 R2, comes with enhanced features. Hyper-V functionality has been significantly improved and Windows RDS services provide more efficiency to business networks.
Why Windows RDS is Better With Parallels RAS
Right from the installation to effectively managing the remote infrastructure, administrators face a tough challenge with WS 2012. While most features do not come auto-configured, it requires expertise and experience to successfully deploy and operate remote networks. Meanwhile, Parallels RAS provides an easy way to deploy and manage the entire infrastructure, at a significantly low price. It also has a flexible licensing model. Here is a comparison between these two virtualization tools:
Installation & Setup
Installing RDS virtualization solution in WS 2012 is a tedious task. It takes hours to install various server roles, applications and components such as connection broker and NALB. In addition, you need to configure several parameters. Furthermore, to do all this, you need to be an experienced IT professional and specialized in virtualization concepts. On the other hand, Parallels RAS is simple to install and use; you just need to run a single windows MSI file which takes care of everything. Several useful features such as load balancing and universal printing come auto-configured. Also, you don’t need to be a virtualization expert to get this system up and running. Using a simple wizard, you can set up servers and other components with ease.
To remotely publish an application using WS 2012, administrators have to install and configure a component called RemoteApp. There is a lengthy procedure to be followed to complete this task. Moreover, you can only publish applications from a server that has RemoteApp installed. On the other hand, with Parallels RAS, this process is pretty simple. From a centralized location, you can publish applications from all servers in a farm using a simple wizard.
Windows Server 2012 only supports Hyper-V and MS Virtual Server whereas Parallels RAS supports all major hypervisors including Hyper-V, Citrix and VMware. Additionally, with Parallels RAS, VDI hosts can be centrally configured using the application server console.
Security & Authentication
To use published resources, Windows Server 2012 R2 provides access only against Active Directory authentication. Even though you can use a SmartCard authentication, it is integrated with Active Directory. It also supports Kerberos and certificate authentication. When RD Gateway is used, it supports secondary authentication. Filtering is done based on users and groups of Active Directory.
On the other hand, Parallels RAS supports authentication against Active Directory. In addition, it supports second level authentication mechanisms such as SafeNet, DeepNet and RADIUS. Filtering is done based on Active Directory users and groups as well as the MAC address, IP address, gateway and the client.
High Availability Load Balancing
With WS 2012, there is no built-in load balancer. You have limited options in this regard. For high availability load balancing, you have to install additional components such as Microsoft Network Load Balancing (NLB) services. Installing and deploying this component requires expertise knowledge as well. Meanwhile, with Parallel RAS, HALB comes auto-configured by default. Not only does it check the available servers, it also checks the available gateways for a high availability network.
There is no option in WS 2012 with regard to reporting services. On the other hand, Parallels RAS provides an extensive reporting tool that generates 14 types of reports categorized into five groups:
- User Reports provide insights into how users interact with Parallels RAS.
- Group Reports provide insights into how each group interacts with Parallels RAS.
- Device Reports provide insights into how devices interact with Parallels RAS.
- Server Reports provide insights into server health, CPU and RAM usage.
- Application Reports provide insights into published applications.
- Help Desk Support
Windows Server 2012 offers Session Shadowing where administrators can remotely connect to any system for technical assistance. However, this feature comes with limited options and is confined to that Windows RDS session. Moreover, technical issues outside the Windows RDS session cannot be resolved. But then, with Parallels RAS, providing help desk support is a breeze. In addition to the Windows RDS session, you can monitor and control the entire workstation.
WS 2012 offers RDS client for Windows, iOS and Android. For other platforms, you need to install 3rd party software. To manage clients, you have to check through a specific MMC console. Moreover, it does not offer any tools to scale the solution to multiple geographical locations. On the other hand, Parallels RAS offers RDS client for a range of platforms including iOS, Windows, Android, Raspberry Pi, Linux and MAC. In addition, you can use any HTML5 browser to access published resources without installing the RDP client. Parallels RAS also offers centralized management of the end-user’s desktop configurations through remote application server console. Parallels RAS supports “sites”, which means you can extend the farm to various geographical locations.
Notably, the Parallels RAS flexible licensing model allows businesses of all sizes to implement high end virtualization solution. The ease of installation and management makes it a better choice over other virtualization solutions available in the market.
Windows RDS: Step by Step Windows 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services
Remote Desktop Services: TechNet