At Orchard Hill College in London, we provide a range of specialist programmes for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. To help them do their job most effectively, our team of lecturers and staff—around 300—need to be able to remotely connect to their work desktops, and all their applications, from anywhere in the college or at home, and on any device they choose.
A virtual application and remote desktop solution was definitely the way to go, so we assessed various options. We found that the basic Citrix package only allowed applications to be published through XenApp and to be able to publish all our own applications and desktops to remote machines, we would need to purchase a more expensive license. We would also have needed to add additional servers manually in Citrix XenApp, which would have required more IT employee time to set up and maintain. This increased workload, along with costly upgrades, persuaded us to search for a better solution and we found Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS).
Parallels RAS eliminates the need for expensive add-ons and is so simple to set up and maintain, we have no need to call in outside technical help. It’s an all-in- one solution that includes simple patching and updates to all clones, load balancing, automatic configuration of clients, and ready-to-go shadowing features that make technical support easy for us, as IT administrators. Upgrading to Parallels RAS and migrating across to the platform was quick and straightforward. In the IT department, we were impressed it was achieved in just a few hours, when we had anticipated that it would take months.
With Parallels RAS, we’ve been able to implement a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy for the staff and they really appreciate having this option. They can now update administrative documentation on any device, anywhere, including from the comfort of their own homes. We currently support devices that run Windows, Mac®, iOS, and HTML5 Client, and we are planning to add support for Chromebooks soon. Allowing users to bring their own devices helps to extend the life of our current hardware while saving money in future investments.
Parallels RAS has enabled us to lower the total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) of our remote application management. Decreases in licensing costs, reduced additional application costs, an increase in efficiency to load balances, and server management optimization have added up to noticeable savings. We now have a comprehensive remote application-access environment that is easy-to-use, and economical. With just one license, everything is included.