How to Use Office 365 with Parallels Remote Application Server


Featured image by Raysonho under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

 

If you use Parallels Remote Application Server to provide shared computers to users in your organization, you can install Office 365 ProPlus on those computers. But, you have to use the Office Deployment Tool and enable shared computer activation to do the installation.

Let me walk you through it—here’s how to use Office 365 with Parallels Remote Application Server…

The following are two common RDS scenarios

What you need to get started

The following is a list of prerequisites that you need to deploy Office 365 ProPlus with RDS:

Install Office 365 ProPlus on an RDS server

In this scenario, you install Office 365 ProPlus on a computer configured as a Remote Desktop Session Host server. This enables multiple users to connect remotely to this computer. The users can each run Office 365 ProPlus programs, such as Word or Excel, at the same time.

Here are the basic steps of how to install Office 365 ProPlus on an RDS server:

1. Install and configure Windows Server.

2. Install and configure the Remote Desktop Session Host role service. For example, on Windows Server 2008 R2—for users to be able to connect remotely to the server to use Office 365 ProPlus, their accounts must be members of the Remote Desktop Users group on the RD Session Host server.

3. Create a configuration.xml file that includes the following lines:

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<Display Level=”None” AcceptEULA=”True” />

<Property Name=”SharedComputerLicensing” Value=”1″ />

You set the display level to “None” to do a silent installation of Office 365 ProPlus. This prevents Office 365 ProPlus from trying to activate during the installation. This also means that you won’t see any user interface elements during the installation, such as the progress of the installation or error messages. You use the Shared Computer Licensing setting to enable shared computer activation, which is required to use Office 365 ProPlus on a shared computer.

4. Use the Office Deployment Tool and the configuration.xml file to install Office 365 ProPlus on the RD Session Host server.

At this point, users can connect to the RD Session Host server and use Office 365 ProPlus. Users can connect to the server by using Remote Desktop Connection, which is available in Windows, or by using other Remote Desktop clients.

Install Office 365 ProPlus on a shared virtual machine:

In this scenario, you install Office 365 ProPlus as part of an operating system image, such as one running Windows 8.1. Then, you use RDS and Hyper-V to create a group of virtual machines based on that image. These virtual machines can be shared by multiple users. In RDS, this is known as either a virtual desktop pool or a pooled virtual desktop collection, depending on which version of RDS that you’re using.

Another important note: You can also use RDS to assign a VM to a specific user. RDS calls that a personal virtual desktop. In that scenario, you don’t use shared computer activation, because the VM isn’t shared among multiple users.

Here are the basic steps of how to configure RDS to deploy Office 365 ProPlus on a shared virtual machine:

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<Property Name=”SharedComputerLicensing” Value=”1″ />

For example, follow these steps to deploy a virtual desktop pool on Windows Server 2008 R2.

After you’ve completed all the RDS configuration steps, users can connect to any of the virtual machines and run Office 365 ProPlus.

 

Parallels Remote Application Server

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