What’s New in Parallels RAS 18.1
Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) 18.1 continues to improve user session management, simplifies access to Remote PC for end-users, adds new features for Azure Virtual Desktop integration and delivers the Parallels Client for Mac now optimized to natively run on Apple M1 and Intel chips.
Other notable features of Parallels RAS 18.1 include:
- Granular Multifactor Authentication Configuration
- Maintenance for Published Resources
- Yubico - YubiKey (PIV) Support
- Tenant Broker: Multiple Addresses for a Single Tenant
Combined User Session Management
With the new Sessions category in the Parallels RAS Console, administrators or helpdesk can efficiently manage all user sessions from the same location.
Users often require different delivery methods that are hosted on various operating systems. The Sessions category combines all user sessions and associated session details, whether they are hosted on:
- Remote Desktop Session Hosts (RDSH)
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
- Azure Virtual Desktop
- Remote PCs over VDI
Furthermore, a new resources’ view displays all running published resources in the user session, along with search and filters for superior administration in small and larger deployments.
Self-Service Remote PC Access
Self-service Remote PC enables a fast and efficient method for organizations to provide employees with remote access to their desktops.
End users can enroll their Windows PC in a self-service manner to the Parallels RAS Farm. The enrolled PC is automatically added as a Remote PC and a corresponding published desktop is created and filtered to that specific user, enabling users to securely access their workstations from any device, anywhere.
The benefits of self-service Remote PC include:
- Employees can securely access their office workstations
- IT admins save time and resources by offloading or automating Remote PC enrollment and publishing
IT administrators may also use this functionality to install the Remote PC Agent silently and automatically enroll and publish Remote PC’s desktop to the intended user.
Note: This feature applies to standalone Remote PCs only and not to Remote PCs configured through VDI technology.
Azure Virtual Desktop Integration: New Features
We continue to improve the integration with Azure Virtual Desktop (formerly Windows Virtual Desktop) with these new features:
Override host size
Users may require resources provisioned from differently sized hosts. Ensure better resource utilization and cost optimization by allowing hosts created from a common Parallels RAS Template to be resized on admin request or as soon as they join a particular host pool.
RDP Shortpath support
Improve connection reliability and increase the bandwidth available for each user session with RDP Shortpath. This establishes direct UDP-based communication between the Client and session host and can be enabled directly from the Parallels RAS Console. VPN or public IP is required.
Streamline the management of user identities from different organizations with Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 single sign-on (SSO) authentication when using Microsoft Azure as the Identity Provider (IdP).
HTML5 initiated Windows Client support
Azure Virtual Desktop resources can be launched from the HTML5 Client Portal using the Parallels Client for Windows.
Added repair option for Templates
In case necessary tags on the template host are removed from the Azure portal or other mechanisms outside the Parallels RAS Console, tags are recreated when the repair option is chosen, in order to mitigate unexpected behavior.
Added Server Tools and Troubleshooting options in Template
Predefined or custom server tools and Agent troubleshooting options are available for use with templates from the Parallels RAS Console for improved management capabilities.
Parallels Client for Mac on Apple M1 and Intel Chips
Apple's latest M1 chips have been the talk of the tech world recently. The Parallels Client for Mac has been rebuilt and optimized to natively run on Apple M1 and Intel-based Mac devices, improving speed and battery life.
Parallels RAS macOS users have already experienced the Parallels Client for Mac running on M1 Mac computers through the built-in binary translation software, Rosetta 2. However, now the Parallels Client for Mac natively supports Apple M1 along with Intel-based Mac devices, bringing with it increased performance.
Dynamic Session Resolution Update
Improve the user experience for employees who access published desktops running in windowed mode when resizing the window.
Parallels RAS dynamically updates the resolution of the remote desktop in windowed mode without requiring a reconnection on changes to the window size.
Previously, the remote resolution was only set during the initial connection, however, now the resolution can also be set during connection and updated automatically when the remote desktop session window is resized.
Bidirectional Clipboard and File Transfer Control
Improve security by restricting clipboard redirection, mitigating data leakage, while at the same time still enabling users to copy or upload data to the session host as required.
Clipboard redirection, which permits copy and paste between client to session host and vice versa, may be controlled and restricted bidirectionally or unidirectionally.
Similarly, HTML5 Client file transfer can be controlled to only upload or download to or from the session host. In addition, default file upload and download location may be set and also enforced. Such configurations are available on Parallels Clients and centrally managed via Parallels RAS policies.
Building on previous versions of Parallels RAS, multifactor authentication can be enabled or disabled for users with exceptions based on user or groups of users, mac address or IP address, and Secure Client Gateways.
Published resources such as applications or desktops can be enabled, disabled or put in maintenance. The new maintenance functionality provides the ability for the published resource to remain visible to the end user from the Parallels Client, however, users are not able to launch the published resource and instead are notified via custom and localized messages in all supported languages, preconfigured by administrators.
Parallels Client for Windows adds support for Yubico Yubikey used for Personal Identity Verification (PIV) for smartcard authentication. The YubiKey 4 and 5 series, along with the YubiKey NEO, support the PIV interface specified in the NIST SP 800-73 document "Cryptographic Algorithms and Key Sizes for PIV".
Multiple IP addresses or DNS names may be specified in the Tenant Broker for a single Tenant, thus redirecting the traffic based on specified addresses to a single Tenant. This allows for different addresses to be configured for different customers or business units while still sharing the same resources.
Parallels RAS adds support for VMware vSphere 7.0. This support includes ESXi 7.0 and VMware vCenter Server 7.0.
The Parallels Client for Linux now supports updated distributions and includes new features introduced in Parallels RAS 18, including support for Custom Security Verification Methods when using RADIUS as multifactor authentication provider, HTML5 initiated SAML (2.0) SSO authentication, and performance counters used in advanced session details.
The Management Portal Web Administration service is installed by default for new installations. This service may run on a separate management server configured to manage a specified Parallels RAS Farm.
In addition, administrators can now complete the initial configuration in a browser, set a custom SSL certificate for the Management Portal connections, and keep their Parallels RAS Agents updated without leaving the Management Portal. Other added functionality inherited from the Parallels RAS Console includes the new resource view that displays all running published resources in the user session, UX Evaluator, and advanced session metrics.