“We have a hosted desktop service that we supply to our customers. We also have customers with an on-premises environment. For better connectivity and access, we needed a comprehensive virtualization solution that provides advanced features and is easy to use."

Jean Huveneers, IT Manager
Stepco BV.

Stepco BV needed a virtualization solution that offers a universal client for all operating systems while being easy to configure and manage. To achieve this, Stepco began working with the comprehensive application delivery solution; Parallels® RAS. As a universal client for all operating systems, Parallels RAS has enabled Stepco to publish virtual desktops and applications that are secure and easily accessible from any device.

Stepco BV is a leading provider of IT solutions in the Netherlands. The company was founded in 2002 by Jean Huveneers and Roel Claessen with an aim to provide quality IT services and build quality relationships with businesses of all sizes. Headquartered in the southern city of Geleen, Stepco provides ICT solutions to companies across the Netherlands.

As a leading managed service provider (MSP), Stepco handles IT operations—including hardware and software needs—for several companies in the Netherlands. The MSP services include cloud as well as on-premises solutions. Stepco’s services include network and system administration, software development, virtualization solutions, and business consultancy services. In addition, Stepco publishes virtual desktops to serve the needs of their clients. The services are offered on an hourly basis, by project, or other mutually accepted contracts. With Stepco’s automated IT solutions, companies can focus on their core business.

The challenge Increasing complexity to accommodate multiple OS platforms and higher licensing costs

One of Stepco’s core requirements is centrally hosting resources and securely delivering full virtual applications and desktops to remote users. Their clients come from different regions and use multiple devices and OS platforms. To keep the resources accessible, the company has had to centrally host them using built-in features of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS). As RDS only provided them with basic virtualization functionality, managing and monitoring the entire infrastructure became a challenge.

The company explored the leading virtualization solutions on the market: Citrix XenApp®, VMware Horizon®, and Parallels RAS. Both Citrix XenApp and VMware Horizon come with powerful virtualization features and deliver reliable performance. While these tools may have been able to help the company manage their virtualization-based services, they posed other challenges. Both Citrix® and VMware® incorporate multiple components that demand complex configuration and management procedures. To set up the VDI with those solutions, certified professionals and experienced staff would be required.

Another stumbling block for the Citrix and VMware solutions were the expensive price tags and complex licensing models. As an MSP, margins are a key factor for Stepco’s business, and the expensive virtualization solutions would have cut into their margins at an unacceptable rate. Moreover, these tools offer different types of packages, which would have added a further layer of complexity to implementing their virtualization solution for customers.

The solution Simplified IT management with a universal client for all OS platforms, using Parallels RAS

To introduce the virtualization management solution, Stepco explored various virtualization solutions on the market. When the application delivery packages were compared, they concluded that Parallels RAS delivers a streamlined, mobile-optimized virtualization solution perfectly suited for their requirements.

Parallels RAS is a comprehensive virtual desktop and application delivery solution offered by the global cross-platform leaders at Parallels. This virtualization tool has enabled Stepco to centrally host resources and securely publish them to remote devices. All applications, business data, and Windows environments are hosted and operated from centralized RDS servers. Remote users access these resources using any remote client device. The entire process is run on the central server, which means the client device can be operated with minimal configuration.

Although there are other products on the market that offer virtualization solutions, they require several servers, high license costs, and skills to manage. Moreover, they lack certain key features like easy setup, customization, or client-specific settings (e.g., Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Gateway/Connection Broker). Parallels RAS was chosen because it does it all from one server, making it very easy to set up and maintain. The solution’s strong capabilities in a Windows environment have been an added advantage.

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