What’s New in Parallels RAS 17.1

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) 17.1 helps organizations reduce IT infrastructure costs, enhance data security and streamline multi-cloud deployment.

Multi-Tenant Architecture

Version 17.1 enables a multi-tenant architecture by introducing Parallels RAS Tenant Broker. Tenant Broker shares Parallels Secure Client Gateways and front-end High Available Load Balancers (HALBs) among tenants which may be represented as isolated Parallels RAS Farms and/or sites.

This architecture provides a consolidated and centrally managed multi-tenant infrastructure while keeping tenants’ environments isolated from each other, increasing resource usage efficiency and improving security. Organizations can provide an efficient and faster onboarding experience for new users, reducing hardware requirements for each tenant while lowering IT operational and management costs.

View our video on multi-tenant architecture

SAML SSO Authentication

Parallels RAS 17.1 streamlines management of user identities from different organizations by supporting the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 authentication mechanism. With SAML, IT can provide single sign-on (SSO) capabilities without sharing the local identity database. This allows federated SSO authentication and authorization processes for users while de-coupling the identity provider and service provider for simplified and centralized access of Parallels RAS hosted resources.

As part of the SAML SSO process, Parallels RAS 17.1 introduces the Parallels RAS Enrollment Server (ES), which communicates with Microsoft Certificate Authority (CA) to request, enroll and manage digital certificates on behalf of the user. This allows users to effortlessly switch between published resources, launching them without being prompted to reenter credentials, reducing login times and improving the user experience.

Parallels RAS and SAML SSO integration empowers service providers to concentrate on delivering better services. It reduces time spent on maintaining databases for tenants’ users while increasing security and reducing the IT overhead.

Moreover, SAML SSO provides faster onboarding of new tenants/customers. Users can log on once using their identities hosted at the identity provider (IdP) and gain SSO access to the applications hosted by service providers (SPs).

View our video on SAML SSO authentication

VDI and RDSH Provisioning Capability Extensions

VDI and RDSH on Microsoft Azure

Extending its VDI capabilities, Parallels RAS 17.1 supports provisioning of VDI and RDSH workloads directly on Microsoft Azure, treating Microsoft Azure as a VDI platform. This allows organizations to create, scale and manage required workloads on demand directly on Azure, rendering faster deployments, simplifying management and reducing costs.

Microsoft Azure and Parallels RAS enable organizations to scale infrastructure on demand by automatically monitoring and adjusting resources to maintain high performance for virtual applications and desktops. Auto-provisioning and auto-scaling of workloads ensures the right balance between resources’ availability and compute cost when running on Azure.

Parallels continues to support cloud adoption by enabling organizations to effortlessly implement private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud deployment—delivering applications and desktops regardless of where Parallels RAS components are installed.

VDI and RDSH Provisioning on Scale Computing HC3

Scale Computing HC3 is a hyperconverged infrastructure solution that combines compute, storage, virtualization, backup and disaster recovery in a single appliance. Parallels RAS fully supports deployment on Scale Computing HC3 by enabling VDI and RDHS provisioning and management from a single pane of glass. The integration of Parallels RAS with Scale Computing provides a cost-effective and easy-to-use application delivery and VDI solution for organizations of any size.

Together with Scale Computing’s HC3, Parallels RAS provides an attractive offering for enterprises and service providers alike, allowing them to quickly address users’ and customers’ demands while improving the user experience with high-performing digital workspaces. This combined solution enables organizations to set up new users in hours rather than days, weeks or months by leveraging automation capabilities for faster deployment.

AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) Support

Version 17.1 provides the ability to use different hostnames and ports for network and application traffic, which might be required when integrating Parallels RAS with third-party load balancers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) offerings.

Using Parallels RAS together with AWS ELB increases agility, streamlines management and cuts costs while reducing the deployment footprint. AWS ELB automatically distributes incoming application traffic and scales resources to address workload demands. Supporting both AWS Application Load Balancers (ALB) and AWS Network Load Balancer (NLB) allows organizations to use both the Parallels HTML5 Client portal and Parallels native clients simultaneously. Other third-party load balancers with the requirement to split network and application traffic load balancing can also make use of this new capability.

UX Enhancements

Samsung DeX Support

The Parallels RAS Client supports Samsung Desktop Experience (DeX), creating secure and flexible digital workspaces right from your fingertips! Maximize the value of your device and smartphone capabilities by:

  • Transforming your phone into a fully-fledged workstation:
    • Handle applications, desktops, and data
    • Create shortcuts on desktops to launch directly
  • Connecting your Samsung mobile and use it with a monitor or TV.
  • Extending your phone's possibilities on PC and Mac.
  • Dragging and dropping files between devices with no interruptions.
  • Using multiscreen to take a closer look at videos, artwork, documents, and more on a larger external display while still using your phone.

Support for Apple iPad Multitasking

The iOS Client for Parallels RAS 17.1 supports iPad multitasking features such as Slide Over and Split View, allowing for the simultaneous use of apps. This increases productivity and provides an improved user experience. For example, users can work on a Parallels RAS published resource and FaceTime concurrently.

Slide Over: Allows users to have a second app on the screen (left or right side) floating on top of the full-screen app.

Split View: Allows users to have two persistent apps sitting side by side with various options for splitting the screen.

It is possible to work with up to three apps at the same time by using two apps in Split View and one in Slide Over mode.

Extended Drag-and-Drop Capabilities

Version 17.1 extends the current drag-and-drop functionality from client to server by providing users the ability to drag and drop files in reverse—that is, from the server to the client. Users can drag files from their published resources, applications and desktops to their Windows and macOS workstations, increasing productivity and improving the user experience.

Management Improvements

SSL Certificate Manager

With a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates management solution in place, organizations can monitor all SSL certificates deployed within the Parallels RAS environment. This provides organizations with complete visibility and control over their SSL digital certificates and helps them preempt security breaches, outages and compliance issues.

Version 17.1 introduces new capabilities for organizations to manage SSL certificates from a dedicated screen in the Parallels RAS Console. This allows for easier and centralized management of existing certificates used by the Parallels RAS Secure Client Gateways and High Availability Load Balancers (HALBs), improving the experience of creating, importing and deploying new certificates.

The SSL Certificate Manager is especially useful when IT admins need to deal with a considerable amount of SSL certificates, typically found in large organizations and multi-tenant environments.

View our video for the SSL Certificate Manager

Microsoft SQL Server 2017 and 2019 Support

The Parallels RAS Reporting Engine relies on Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), enabling real-time reporting about the Parallels RAS Farm activities. By extracting raw data from the SQL database, Parallels RAS Reporting Engine creates detailed reports about users’ activities, applications’ usage, servers’ resource utilization and more.

In version 17.1, support for Microsoft SQL Server is extended to Microsoft SQL Server 2017 and 2019, allowing organizations to utilize the latest Microsoft technologies. Simplified deployment allows admins to reutilize existing SQL server instances rather than having to set up new ones. Moreover, in version 17.1 SQL Server and SSRS can be installed separately for further architectural flexibility.

By using Microsoft SQL for reports, organizations can keep track of the performance of Parallels RAS and Windows server components and act on enhancing them.