Durham University Showcases Parallels RAS in Impressive Demo

Durham University and Parallels RAS

Durham University

About three years ago, Durham University had the vision of providing students and other users with easy access to applications regardless of where they were or what device they were using. The result was Flexible Remote Access (FRA), an ambitious project undertaken by Durham’s Jim Macura (IT project manager), Michael Coxon (technical lead for Windows desktops) and their extremely talented team members.

In its current form, FRA is an amalgamation of various technologies that, combined, deliver applications to onsite or offsite Durham University users who need to gain remote access to those applications from any device. The key technologies driving FRA are AppsAnywhere, Cloudpaging, and Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS).

AppsAnywhere presents users with a selection of applications through a web-based portal. Parallels RAS kicks in as soon as a user launches an application from the AppsAnywhere portal. Cloudpaging is primarily employed when applications are to be delivered to managed desktops, while Parallels RAS takes charge when the requesting devices are bring-your-own-device (BYOD) endpoints.

One of the challenges encountered by the FRA team was in delivering modern, 64-bit applications to the relatively few (but nevertheless still existing) 32-bit Windows 7 systems. Another challenge was the large presence of Mac® users—50% of their students use Mac devices. Previously, these users were unable to access the Windows-based teaching applications and had to physically go to teaching machines in designated locations to do so.

These challenges and more have been addressed by the integration of Parallels RAS. In a demo presented in December 2018, Michael wowed the audience by showing how Parallels RAS could seamlessly run:

Watch the demo and read a full transcript.