Parallels is set to release the next major version of its virtual desktop management software, Remote Application Server, with an improved experience for mobile users and support for allowing its customers to customize the look of their applications.
Remote Application Server allows IT organizations to deploy custom applications to any device through virtualization technology. The applications don’t actually run on the device; instead, they run on a company’s servers or on public cloud servers, but the experience of using the apps is more or less the same as using them directly on your device. This is often referred to as “virtual desktop infrastructure,” or VDI.
Parallels is taking the wraps off the new version, version 16, at Microsoft’s Inspire conference in Washington, D.C. later on Monday. The last version, which came out in early 2016, connected iPhone and Android devices to Parallels apps for the time time, and version 16 makes it easier for mobile users to navigate through application menus with a new Quick Keypad feature.
The software also allows companies to put their own brand and labels on applications using the service, which could appeal to sales and marketing folks demonstrating application features. And new security features were also added to the app, allowing administrators to lock lost devices and set fine-grain controls over how a user accesses the app.
With the huge growth of SaaS (software as a service) applications over the last several years, you might expect demand for VDI software to wane, but IDC expects the category to grow as companies look for ways to let their employees run server-based business applications — mission-critical apps that have received a big investment in time and money — on the devices they use every day. It also saves money by not having to give each employee their own IT-managed device in order to run these apps.
Bellevue-based Parallels is probably best known for its Parallels Desktop for Mac, which lets you run Windows on a Mac. The RAS product has over 5,000 customers, Parallels said, and it tends to be used by companies with less than 5,000 employees.