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Parallels Remote Application Server bring all the Office apps to your mobile phone

No one wants to work on their phone, but sometimes you just have to get something done while on the go. And the latest version of Parallels Remote Application Server allows for just that, running desktop applications on virtual machines and beaming those down to your phone or tablet.

That’s probably the biggest feature in Version 15 of Parallels Remote Application Server, released today, but the company says it’s bringing a host of improvements to make it easier for IT teams to build and deploy server-based applications.

The update is the first big release since Renton, Wash.-based Parallels split into its own company last year. Best known for its Parallels Desktop app for running Windows on Mac, Parallels separated from its service provider business, now known as Odin, which was subsequently acquired as part of a broader restructuring of the company.

Parallels Remote Application Server lets companies run applications and entire desktops on servers, which the company says can improve flexibility at a lower cost than competitors like Citrix XenApp and VMware Horizon.

While previous versions were able to run server-based apps on both machines running Mac, Windows, Linux and other desktop systems, the latest update brings mobile into the mix. The Parallels team already enabled remote access to Mac and Windows machines on iOS and Android with Parallels Access, but update brings those features to remotely run applications, not just those running on another machine.

Users can now access virtual copies of any desktop application from their smartphones.
Users can now access virtual copies of any desktop application from their smartphones.

The update also brings enhancements for IT departments. A new set of automated wizards help make setting up new applications and users easier than previous versions. And with the ability to configure end-user clients via a simple email link, IT teams will hopefully have to field far fewer calls.

And while some programs like Word, Outlook and Excel already have native smartphone applications, this solution lets employees access the applications just like they interact with them on their desktops, which may be easier for less tech-savvy employees.

It also allows users to access more niche applications, which may never see full mobile rollouts. Parallels Remote Application Server version 15 lets them run on the phone in the same way they run on a full desktop.

In March, Parallels company rebranded its service provider business as Odin, which was later  acquired by Ingram Micro, a company that had previously invested in Parallels.

The company also split up Plesk, its web management solution platform; Virtuozzo, its server virtualization brand; and Parallels into separate companies, which are now held under the Parallels Holdings name. While the sale of Odin prompted the split, the further segmentation of the company made sense, according to Parallels co-founder and president Jack Zubarev.

“Parallels is a completely separate business … There was very little synergy [between it and Plesk/Virtuozzo],” Zubarev said. “Plesk and Virtuozzo do have a lot of overlap in customers and the go-to-market for them is also very similar. But at the same time, we decided that with where the market is moving, it would be beneficial to really focus on just server virtualization [for Virtuozzo].”

Plesk also has its own dedicated user base, but the company sees the two user bases growing apart over time and decided to let each team focus on its own products without interference between divisions in the same company.

Parallels Remote Application Server version 15 is available today, starting at $99 per year per concurrent user.

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