Unleashing the power of Parallels RAS: Elevating your Microsoft RDS deployments

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) by Microsoft has long been a game-changer in remote computing, offering a gateway to seamless application and desktop access.

However, as technology evolves, so do the demands of modern workers and IT managers.

In this blog post, I’ll explore the pain points of traditional Microsoft RDS deployments and unveil the top-notch benefits that Parallels RAS brings to the table, revolutionizing the landscape of remote application and virtual desktop delivery.

What is Microsoft RDS?

Since its initial release with Windows Server 2008, Microsoft RDS has been a cornerstone of remote computing, bringing together various server roles like Remote Desktop Session Host, Virtualization Host, Licensing, Connection Broker, and Web Access.

While the original RDS solution has facilitated remote collaboration, it may no longer meet the evolving needs of IT managers and the workforce.

Microsoft RDS: Major pain points

Hybrid and migration   Complex configuration  Security  


Lack of  


Limited user experience 
Limited support for remote working practices and phase-out migration plans.  Setting up and configuring RDS can be complex, especially for unfamiliar users.  RDS is complex with aging technologies, requiring extensive configuration for cybersecurity protection.  Managing RDS deployments can be cumbersome due to the manual and unintuitive process involved.  Insufficient features to support or boost the productivity of the workforce. 

The changing landscape of work styles and practices

Organizations are increasingly embracing adaptable frameworks, enabling employees to operate remotely and in physical offices. This shift towards hybrid and remote work signifies a fundamental change in the traditional workplace and compounds the challenges for RDS business users.

According to the 2023 Parallels hybrid cloud survey, a substantial number of respondents—77%—have embraced a hybrid working model with teams seamlessly transitioning between on-site and remote work.

PRAS Hybrid survey

64% of survey participants have already adopted a hybrid cloud strategy, effectively utilizing both on-premises and cloud infrastructures.

The flexibility it provides is the primary motivation for 49% of respondents to adopt hybrid virtualization technology.

This transformative evolution is propelled by advancements in communication tools, a heightened awareness of the importance of a healthy work-life balance, and the resilience demonstrated in the face of global disruptions. Collectively, these factors prompt a reassessment of conventional work structures.

For RDS environments, the inability to cater to evolving business demands and shifting employee work habits is exacerbated by limited hybrid capabilities.

However, Parallels RAS can help overcome this challenge.

With its support for hybrid deployments and a diverse set of features facilitating work-from-anywhere practices, businesses with RDS environments can move forward and align with the dynamic landscape of modern working habits and practices.

Parallels virtualization solutions

Parallels has been pioneering virtualization solutions for businesses and users around the world since 1999, enabling access to critical data and applications for millions of customers.

Parallels has a range of different solutions that can address the different business and IT needs and complexities of RDS customers.

Parallels RAS (Remote Application Server)

Parallels RAS is a versatile virtual application and desktop delivery solution, enabling secure remote work for organizations of all sizes.

It provides an agile, cloud-ready foundation with end-to-end security and a centralized management console.

Support on-premises, hybrid, or public cloud deployments and seamless integration with platforms like Azure Virtual Desktop and Amazon EC2.

This solution offers flexibility, scalability, and IT agility to swiftly respond to evolving business requirements under a comprehensive, single licensing model that includes 24/7 technical support plus access to free training sessions and other learning materials.

It is a delivery solution.

It’s not the hypervisor, but we support many different hypervisors, including VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, Scale, Nutanix, and other popular options.

Parallels RAS is not the content host or the “back end,” though we offer the flexibility to connect to various infrastructure types.

Parallels RAS is the delivery management and customer experience side of a virtual desktop infrastructure. It sits on the hypervisor between the end user and the content, servers, and the back-end VDI solution.

Introducing Parallels RAS, your RDS alternative!

Parallels RAS can not only deliver on the same core use cases that lead many customers to opt for an RDS environment in the first place but also mitigate the typical pain points many customers are currently dealing with.

More choices for hybrid and migration

RDS offers limited support for remote working practices and phase-out migration plans like moving to a cloud environment.

However, Parallels RAS supports on-premises, cloud and multi-cloud, hybrid, and native support for cloud technologies like Azure Virtual Desktop.

All infrastructure is deployed and managed directly within the administration portal, offering a much-improved administration experience working with multiple environments.

Simplified setup and configuration

Unlike RDS, which introduces complexity to the process of setting up and configuring an RDS environment, Parallels RAS offers a streamlined and user-friendly experience.

Thanks to its intuitive management console, wizard-based guides, and extensive automation features, the entire process of setting up, configuring, and managing your environment becomes exceptionally straightforward.

This simplicity not only saves valuable IT administration hours but also eliminates the need for costly training sessions.

Fortified security

As an aging technology, RDS demands intricate configuration to meet modern cybersecurity standards, yet there are instances where this alone may not suffice.

In contrast, Parallels RAS excels in enhancing security throughout crucial phases of application and desktop delivery.

For instance, it employs cutting-edge TLS 1.3 security protocols that ensure robust protection. Moreover, Parallels RAS extends security measures to end users through multi-factor Authentication (MFA).

The inclusion of thorough auditing, user monitoring, and forensics adds a layer of detailed security analytics that sets Parallels RAS apart in the cybersecurity realm.

Rich innovation

Ineffectual solutions that fail to align with your evolving needs can significantly hinder productivity, a common challenge faced by numerous RDS users.

Parallels RAS addresses this issue by prioritizing innovation in areas of security, flexibility, user experience, and cost optimization. Noteworthy capabilities include autoscaling to empower IT admins to efficiently manage costs, especially in cloud-based environments like Azure Virtual Desktop.

Furthermore, features like FSLogix profile and container management and image templating effectively enhance user profile and image management with Parallels RAS.

Maximizing user experience

Limiting features designed to support workforce productivity can have a significant impact on the user experience—something that current RDS users are likely familiar with.

Fortunately, Parallels RAS supports a range of features to help increase productivity and improve the experience of end user professionals. Features like universal printing, AI-driven session prelaunch, and accelerated file redirection are all aimed at boosting productivity and efficiency within a work-from-anywhere strategy.

Parallels RAS supports a broad spectrum of endpoint choices, with client support for Windows OS, MacOS, and even a dedicated Parallels client for web. The Parallels client enhances user experience with modern and intuitive UI design, featuring customizable options including light/dark settings to allow users to adjust their environment to suit their needs and ultimately work more productively.

Parallels RAS is designed for today’s use cases   

Parallels solutions are crafted to address the diverse challenges RDS customers encounter, catering to their specific circumstances and requirements.

Remote working  Application publishing  Dynamic scaling  Meet government compliancy  Graphical workloads 
Support modern organizations that work and collaborate remotely — at home, in the office, or on the go.  Enabling the delivery of key applications to end-users without the need to install them locally on their devices.  If contractors or seasonal workers are necessary, then Parallels can help dynamically scale resources to support this requirement.  Organizations engaged in government contracts necessitating stringent security compliance, such as FIPS 140-2 measures.  Businesses with design, video editing, or animation teams that require the support of professional graphics apps and content. 

Ready to try Parallels RAS for yourself? Get your full-featured free trial here and start your journey towards an improved RDS environment.