AppSense Insight – understanding your EUC environment

By James Rankin | 20th March 2015

When I was awoken at 6.45 this morning by the sounds of my children hunting for their Avengers: Age of Ultron cards, I noticed a Tweet from @stealthpuppy regarding a “new EUC tool from AppSense”. Given that I was barely conscious at the time, I elected to flag the Tweet and investigate it later, especially given the Avengers-related emergency that was in progress.

Fast forward a few hours, and a quick peruse of the AppSense website did indeed reveal a new piece of software called AppSense Insight (although every time I say the name, I think of the Project Insight helicarriers from Captain America – the Winter Soldier, which were intended for quite a different purpose). What’s this all about then?

Analysis of applications and the user environment is a hot topic for me at the moment, given that I am doing a presentation on this at the Citrix User Group in Newcastle on April 2nd (sign up! The north-east is a lovely place!) and also an extended version at BriForum in May. With only two weeks before I dust the presentation off, I found it rather timely that this had come along.

AppSense have “soft launched” this rather than pushing it out with much fanfare. Insight doesn’t appear to be specifically focused on application discovery and desktop environment, but aspects of these things are rolled in with other KPIs such as logon performance, profile size, installed apps, user rights, operating system versions, etc.

I like the idea of this. The whole driver for my “application analysis” presentation came from the problem that IT departments struggle to understand just what is present in their user environment any more. The reasons for this are many – acquisitions, decentralized management environments, user development, SaaS apps, etc. It’s true that the IT user landscape is changing, and these changes often mean that the IT department, who are charged with management of this landscape, don’t have any visibility of the key areas any more. Insight appears to be concentrating on a broad EUC worldview of this landscape, and if it can deliver on the areas it has claimed, then it will definitely be an interesting product to have in the arsenal. Insight also has a data aspect to it, allowing you to see where users are storing their data. This is another feature that may help out, possibly with regard to compliance or DLP.

Insight is agent-based – I wouldn’t expect any product offering a deep view into endpoints not to utilize an agent, to be fair – and as far as I can tell is only currently aimed at Windows endpoints (judging by the availability of Windows agents only). I’d imagine the idea is to feed the Insight analysis into putting together a use case for DesktopNow, so not sure whether any other OS agents will come along until the relevant endpoint software is available for DesktopNow also. It’s a standalone product currently, though, so you could probably use it for analysis that wasn’t specifically geared towards implementing other AppSense solutions.

Currently the Linux-based appliance is only available for Hyper-V and ESX (no XenServer?), and you can download and install it from MyAppSense. In common with DataNow, you simply attach to it via a web console once it has been configured. The future roadmap seems to indicate that the goal is to provide deep business intelligence from this product – if it can deliver, it will be very interesting indeed.

I’m just kicking the tyres on Insight right now, so expect some follow-up articles soon to see how we can use it to validate the KPIs in our environments (I must confess to being especially interested in logon analysis, and see how this measures up to other tools that do this like UberAgent). It certainly looks like an intriguing addition to the AppSense product set.

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