Parallels RAS 18 Public Preview


Introduction

Parallels RAS has been an evolving contender in the End User Computing space over the last couple of years. Year on year Parallels RAS raises the bar. Version 18 public preview offers a number of new features and enhancements including the integration of FSLogix Profile Containers and an Integration to Windows Virtual Desktop. It’s clear that the Parallels RAS team have worked hard to provide a much simpler approach to managing Virtual desktops and images as well as providing a single pane of glass management capability for the majority of the day to day technical virtual desktop/session management.

Windows Virtual Desktop Integration

This is a feature I have been waiting for. Parallels RAS now integrates into Windows Virtual Desktop allowing you to combine Parallels RAS features and functions within a Windows Virtual Desktop environment. This includes FSLogix Profile Containers, Auto-Scale, Universal Printing and Scanning, AI-Based Session prelaunch, accelerated file redirection, built-in image optimisations, and Parallels RAS reporting and monitoring. This removes the need for lots of third-party integrations and the majority of the day to day IT admin which can now be completed using the single pane of glass “Parallels RAS Console”

Main Use cases:
• Customers eligible for Windows Virtual Desktop
• Customers interested in making use of Windows Virtual Desktop as a Desktop-as-a-Service (DAAS)
solution
• Customers who would like to make use of Windows Virtual Desktop’s unique offerings such as Windows 10 Enterprise Multi-session, and Extended Windows 7 Security Updates (until Jan 2023)
• Current customers using Parallels RAS Azure as a VDI provider interested in Windows Virtual Desktop
• Customers requiring in hybrid/ multi-cloud deployments
• Customers with the need to maintain legacy applications and Windows Virtual Desktop workloads
• Customers wanting to in achieving more from Windows Virtual Desktop without multiple third-party software vendors.

FSLogix Profile Containers

The new capability of setting up FSLogix Profile Containers from the Parallels RAS UI makes it much simpler for the admin. Again keeping configurations in the same place. As you can see from the settings windows screenshot below, all of the FSLogix functions have been included in the Parallels RAS UI.

"Parallels RAS 18 provides an ability to integrate, configure, maintain and support FSLogix Profile containers from within the Parallels RAS console, supporting Storage Spaces Direct, Azure Files, Azure NetApp files, based on their supported protocols such as SMB and Cloud Cache for resiliency and availability"
FSLogix UI interface

In Summary, Parallels RAS 18 simplifies the deployment and configuration of FSLogix Profile Containers by providing administrators with dedicated management capabilities, within the RAS console. This provides the ability to automate the deployment of the FSLogix Agent and ease of configuration without requiring manual registry changes or scripting. Such functionality can be enabled centrally, on Parallels RAS Farm level, and configured for RD Session Hosts, VDIs and Windows Virtual Desktop workloads.

Parallels RAS also provides customers currently using User profile disks, (UPD), the opportunity to move to FSLogix Profile Containers. Today, you will still need to manually migrate UDP’s to FSLogix. Hopefully, this will be included in a future release.

UX Evaluator & Advanced Session Metrics

The UX Evaluator metric provides the admin the ability to read the indicative quantitively measure of user experience.

This is calculated by "calculating the time elapsed between user interaction with the published resource and a corresponding response, taking into account network latency, remote host response and other factors affecting the user experience."
UX Evaluator

UX Evaluator & Advanced Session Details offers admins and the helpdesk full visibility of user session performance, working habits. This provides a proactive capability for IT Admins to resolve without user intervention. in cases where a user may report a slow session, the IT admin will be able to pinpoint issues much faster and accurately, providing a a potential root cause quickly.

Automated Image Optimisation

Are you sick of image optimisations and want to automate the process in a simple GUI. Parallels RAS has built in a function the UI to allow you optimise over 130 image optimisations which have been divided into 100 main categories.

• UWP application packages (remove)
• Windows Defender ATP (on/off, disable real-time scan, excel file/folder)
• Windows components (remove)
• Windows services (disable)
• Windows scheduled tasks (disable)
• Windows advanced options (Cortana, system restore, telemetry, custom layout)
• Network performance (disable task offload, ipv6 etc.)
• Registry (service start-up timeout, disk I/O timeout, custom etc.)
• Visual effects (best appearance, best performance, custom)
• Disk clean-up (delete user profiles, image clean-up etc.)
• Custom scripts (.ps1, .exe, .cmd, etc.)

You will also note that you can add your own

Optimization window

Other Features – in version 18

  • Accelerated File Retrieval
  • CPU Load Balancing Management
  • Multiple High Availability Load Balancers with Advanced configuration Management
  • Optimised Delivery Through Third Party LB
  • RemoteFX USB Redirection Policy
  • Custom Security Verification Methods (MFA -RADIUS)
  • High Availability for Radius Server
  • Extended Session Prelaunch for Parallels Clients
  • Bookmarks (Direct App Access)
  • Auto Login
  • Extended Client Methods for SAML Authentication
  • Dutch Language Support for all Parallels Clients
  • VDI New Capabilities and Improvements
  • Parallels Client – macOS Big Sur Support.

Summary

Version 18 of Parallels RAS offers notable game changing features and Functionally. with the integration of Windows Virtual Desktop, Parallels RAS now offers customers a number of new opportunities and options. One good example here is, customers with existing VDI resources who still have residual value left in hardware, software and licences can now leverage Parallels RAS’s capabilities to introduce Windows Virtual Desktop as well as offer the existing experience managed through a single pane of glass. Customers can also now take advantage of the Parallels RAS client which has a AI driven prelaunch capability enhancing the user experience.

All in all, this is a promising release …

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