Application Delivery Fundamentals: Applications on Any Device, Any Time

With the cloud revolution, application streaming, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and hosted apps have taken center stage. Office desktops that host applications have become a thing of the past. Earlier, IT specialists had to be on their toes, installing applications and updating them regularly.

Applications are essential to the work environment. Businesses of all sizes need to have constant access to their applications, to keep the wheel turning, whether in the office or while working remotely.

Application Virtualization

Looking for an easy way to manage, distribute, and maintain corporate applications? Application virtualization is your answer. Virtual applications run on a server while end users view and interact with their applications over a network via a remote display protocol. Remote applications can be completely integrated with the user’s desktop so that they appear and behave like local applications. Today, there are several ways to publish applications to remote users dynamically. The server-based operating system instances that run remote applications can be shared with other users (a terminal services desktop), or the application can be running on its OS instance on the server (a VDI desktop).

Application virtualization also reduces the risk of data loss. Information security is still a significant challenge for enterprises. Daily, cybercrime menaces organizations by exploiting the vulnerabilities exposed in applications and technologies.

While the defense to each endpoint is costly and ineffective, a solution such as Parallels® Remote Application Server replaces traditional application deployment with on-demand application delivery. Applications are securely delivered to users, regardless of the operating system, from anywhere with any device. Instant encrypted access to applications is guaranteed while ensuring the highest levels of security and control over sensitive data stored on the server.

Access Applications from Anywhere, on Any Device

As technology advances and the dynamism between applications, OSs, and devices dramatically evolve, enterprises have no choice but to keep up. This means ensuring that employees can access the application they need, whenever they need it, and from whatever device they are working on. This creates an array of challenges for organizations: from providing consistent user experience across devices and OSs to maintaining data security on the fly.

In the current business landscape, a majority of employees want to continue working remotely or to have access to their corporate applications on the move.  With the massive adoption of tablets and smartphones, this trend continues to rise, creating many challenges. For example, when people are using their own devices to work, they would like to access local printers, applications, and files. However, it’s not even guaranteed that their device can run the applications they need,  creating an inconsistent user experience. Another challenge is ensuring security, especially when working with sensitive data.

In the stand-alone desktop era, IT specialists had to install applications on each device manually. For every update or patch, they had to revisit each device. While it was a cumbersome task to handle many devices, downtimes were frustrating. Nonetheless, the advent of server technology brought a bit of relief to the IT staff. They were able to perform installation and updates to a group of workstations. However, applying updates and patches to each workstation or group, they had to make sure each application was installed on each device.

Industry technology leaders agree that the latest advancements in desktop and application virtualization technology can help overcome many of the modern business IT challenges, and meet the changing needs of organizations. The cloud revolution has brought a centralized management system, which means IT specialists can install applications on a server and publish them to remote users. Any update to the application residing on the server is instantly reflected on the remote desktop. As end users access applications from the remote server, businesses can deliver high-end technology at cost-effective prices.

Application Delivery Options

Application delivery can be achieved in different ways. The most common way is hosting the software on a server and then publishing virtual resources dynamically on the network. With the progression of innovation, application delivery gets new options. You can create a VDI or use Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) to host applications centrally. The action to establish a link between the host and the end users is assigned to a software-defined as a connection broker.

A connection broker performs several tasks that vary from broker to broker. At its most basic level, a connection broker is a traffic cop; it directs incoming connection requests to an available hosted resource. More advanced solutions offer an extra layer of security encapsulating the RDP traffic inside an SSL, dual authentication, high availability, and workload load balancing. An efficient connection broker should enable employees to work virtually from anywhere,  supporting any device or operating system. Many solutions also allow access to corporate applications through an HTML5-compatible browser.

To guarantee a consistent end-user experience across different devices, the software should allow employees to use local peripherals such as printers, scanners, and drives while working in the virtual environment. With efficient peripheral redirection, a print job is launched on the application hosted on the server and is redirected via the network to a local printer. Likewise, to guarantee substantial user experience at any time, audio, drives, keyboard, and mouse run smoothly on the hosted applications and locally.

By offering virtual applications and a firmly integrated native experience, the workforce can access their applications at any time, anywhere, and from any device. In addition, when it comes to supporting a variety of devices, all of the processing is done in the data center; hence everyone has the same user experience. Furthermore, it is possible to run a complex graphic application even on a Chromebook, by using a virtual desktop, because all of the processing and GPU acceleration is happening remotely in the data center. There is no need for local processing capabilities to get work done.

For instance, virtualization tools such as Parallels RAS, VMware Horizon, and Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp) allow you to host applications on the server and seamlessly deliver them to end users. However, the end user only accesses the application on the centralized server and not on the local desktop.

Benefits of Application Delivery

Higher security, higher availability, and higher compatibility are the three essential attributes of cloud-based application delivery. In addition, it reduces several headaches and challenges posed by traditional application delivery methods.

Reduces Downtime

As application delivery controllers can efficiently route the traffic between two or more routers, servers, firewalls, or other network resources, application performance is improved while the downtime is reduced. Efficient virtualization solutions such as Parallels RAS not only checks for available servers but also identifies available gateways to ensure that the end user is connected to a server that offers the best possible performance.

Reduces Installation Updates

The modern application delivery model simplifies installation and deployment procedures. All applications are installed on the server and remotely published to client devices. Updates and patches are made on the server, while end-users always access the most updated application. Customers don’t have to download or install any patches or updates. With reduced hardware and software infrastructure, enterprise IT costs are lowered.

Easy to Manage

Application delivery offers a centralized management system that enables you to effectively monitor and manage the entire infrastructure from a single dashboard. With reduced hardware, fewer people are needed to manage it. You don’t have to deal with updates, patches, and other maintenance problems as the cloud provider handles them. This simplified IT infrastructure makes your job easier.

Deliver Any Windows Application to Any Device

Another benefit of application delivery is that you can deliver any Windows application to any remote device. For instance, MS Office can be remotely published to an iPhone, Android phone, or even Chromebooks. It provides a seamless and consistent end-user experience across all devices.

Reduces Costs

The application delivery model allows businesses to optimize resources to the core. As applications are installed on the server and remotely published to client devices, businesses can save significant amounts on hardware and software purchases as well as on windows licensing. At the same time, simplified IT infrastructure requires less support staff and reduces downtime as well. Most importantly, the initial investment is not required, as you only need operational expenses.

Application Delivery Challenges

Application Delivery has many benefits, but it sure comes with its share of challenges.

Troubleshooting issues

Troubleshooting application delivery requires an in-depth knowledge of the entire application virtualization process.

Not all applications can be virtualized and delivered

Applications with built-in drivers, applications directly integrated with the OS, applications with hardware dependency, and applications with machine-specific licensing cannot be virtualized or delivered. Not all applications can be virtualized and delivered as and when required.

Consistency Issues

With the explosion of bring your own device (BYOD) policies, users may have macOS, Android, iOS, Windows, Chrome OS, etc. It is difficult to provide a rich and consistent experience to all endpoints that use the delivered applications.

Security Concerns

Applications being delivered to endpoints through the internet are susceptible to corruption or theft, raising security concerns. Application delivery requires a secure portal that is not susceptible to external influence.

Availability Issues

Delivered applications need to be available as and when required. Application protocols can fail due to equipment failures and outages in specific internet locations, giving rise to issues related to availability. There needs to be an application delivery solution that is highly available and offers support during downtime.

Scalability Issues

Application delivery must be scalable and must balance server load efficiently to provide excellent performance. Without scalability, load balancing of larger applications becomes impossible, leading to increased downtime.

Packet Loss

Application delivery through the internet can give rise to packet loss issues, making delivered applications slow. Similarly, internet latency can also lead to reduced user experience.

Visibility Issues

When trying to optimize user experience via the internet, it becomes difficult for IT organizations to gain visibility into the end performance of all applications that they are responsible for monitoring.

How Parallels RAS Meets Application Delivery Challenges

Parallels RAS offers multiple application delivery options:

The result is a unified delivery infrastructure that can leverage a wide variety of technology. Likewise, Parallels RAS makes available any application on a wide range of OSs such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, iOS, iPadOS, and Android.

Benefits of Parallels RAS

The virtual applications delivered with Parallels RAS makes the end user feel as though they are running on their local desktops. The Parallels approach allows you to publish remote applications across any device.


The primary responsibility of the IT segment of any business is to ensure that business applications are securely, reliably, and efficiently available to end users, regardless of the device, OS, and platform they use. The focus is to optimize the application delivery system. The key here is to choose the right virtualization tool that can provide seamless application delivery, with a rich, reliable, and consistent end user experience across all devices.

So what are you waiting for? Download a 30-day Parallels RAS trial.