Process “Hibernation” Utility

September 25, 2009

Guy Leech, a contributor on this AppSense Blog has developed a utility to pause processes, minimize the process/application window, free up the Memory while paused, and provide the option to resume process at later date.

Here is the article intro along with link to the original post (containing the download):

“Ever have the need to pause a process so that you can come back to it later – maybe something that is resource hungry, difficult to get back to the same point in if you quit it or possibly doesn’t work when away from the corporate network? Then this is the utility for you – via a simple user interface it allows you to pause and resume any of your running applications/processes.”

Read more about this cool utility with option to download it here


Microsoft Windows Server 2008 TS/RDS CAL now includes App-V

September 8, 2009

 As of 1st September 2009, Microsoft is including an App-V (formerly SoftGrid)  licence within the Client Access Licence (CAL) for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, meaning that a separate App-V licence is no longer required and shortly will not even be available.

http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/appv/howtobuy/default.mspx

 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/rds-product-licensing.aspx

The media for the client, sequencer and server is available here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=0890d6cd-0d3b-4c9d-b208-231c65d3e55a




NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

August 24, 2009

This is the first installment in a series of posts about the new features and options in AppSense Version 8 Service Pack 2.  (If you have not yet downloaded this latest release, you can read more info and download it from here )

AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 introduces a new option – Run As.

This emulates the Microsoft Run As command and allows actions to be executed in the context of another, specified user.  For example launching an application in a different user context.

When selecting the Run As tab in an action you are presented with one, two or three options:

Current User: Available on all relevant User actions. This is the default selected method and runs the action in the context of the logged on user.

System: Available on all actions. This is the default method for Computer nodes and runs the action in the context of the System user.

User: Available on all relevant User actions. On selection of this option the administrator is prompted to select a friendly name to run as. If no friendly name exists, the Run As Library can be launched where friendly names, usernames and passwords can be stored for re‐use.

The friendly names are stored in the configuration in a reusable library section. Each friendly name is accompanied by the username and password. The password is encrypted using a one‐way public key. This prevents passwords from being reverse engineered.

During installation of the AppSense Environment Manager Agent, the private key is added to the machines key store. This is a write only store, i.e. it cannot be read.

When an action is run as a specified user the associated username and password are used to impersonate said user. AppSense Environment Manager uses a handle to the private key to decrypt the password at this point.

Note: The Run As specified user only impersonates that user. This means the user’s profile and registry hive are not loaded from the domain due to the associated overhead. This results in the environment variables for the action representing the System user and not the currently logged on user or specified user.

Note: This is both a very powerful and potentially dangerous function. Even though the password is encrypted, the username and password pair can be applied to any action and a malicious user may be able to alter the configuration to possibly bypass security. Therefore, this function must be used with extreme care.

P:S
As this is an ever growing blog topic, more posts on the other new features we have detailed can be found below:

NEW FEATURE No. 1 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run As

NEW FEATURE No. 2 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Connect As

NEW FEATURE No. 3 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Improved compression and data handling protocol

NEW FEATURE No. 4 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Manipulation of files in Personalization Analysis

NEW FEATURE No. 5 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Run Once

NEW FEATURE No. 6 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Group SID Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 7 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Trigger Action Time Audit Event

NEW FEATURE No. 8 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Stop If Fails

NEW FEATURE No. 9 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – New Application Categories in the User Interface

NEW FEATURE No. 10 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Refresh

NEW FEATURE No. 11 – AppSense Environment Manager 8.0 Service Pack 2 – Registry Hive Exclusions


VDI Personalization and Configuration: Profile Management & Logon Scripts – not enough for multiple delivery mechanisms & OS platforms?

July 24, 2009

As a leading user environment management vendor, AppSense are in a unique position in that we have been involved many VDI projects and rollouts, of which the majority vary in architecture, technology and requirements.  One thing that does however remain the same between such projects is that of the requirement for user personalization management.

For many years the roaming profile provided user personalization in SBC environments, however as VDI deployments become more and more complex, with varying methods of desktop and applications delivery, along with multiple desktop operating systems and subsequently, profile versions, the roaming profile is no longer able to provide the user with their required settings in such (complex?) scenarios.

Furthermore, these desktops must now be constructed and configured based on the context of the user and/or connecting device.  i.e. mapping specific printers local to the user and device dependent on the location of the user logging on, or applying security policies to hide or remove access to network drives, folders, data and functionality such as copy and paste or print, again, based on the location of the user.  Whereby the desktop delivered to a user when connected locally inside the corporate LAN is different to that of the desktop delivered to the same user when connecting remotely from outside of the LAN.

One more point to consider is that of enabling the user to freely roam between the server hosted or provisioned virtual desktop, and the users local desktop device such as their PC or roaming laptop.  How do you as IT enable user settings to automically follow the user between different platforms?

AppSense Environment Manager was designed from the ground-up with functionality to accommodate the above requirements, making it, or, other user environment management solutions essential to the mass adoption of VDI on an enterprise scale.  In essence, AppSense provides the ability to encompass multiple delivery technologies and OS platforms by allowing the user to roam between the paradigms without any noticeable change to their desktop or user experience, enabling IT and the organization to benefit from flexibility, agility and lower TCO.  I do at this point want to highlight that this is different to the personalization management provided by the leading VDI vendors (Citrix, Microsoft, VMware etc), as their in-built functionality is typically designed for their delivery platform, not each other’s.   In essence, further to the advanced personalization and simplification of desktop management, AppSense also enables an organization to use combinations of both existing technologies, and (potentially) more importantly, any future VDI delivery technologies and vendors.
 
I have just found a very nice blog covering the functionality of not only AppSense Environment Manager, but also the base technology inherent within the leading VDI service providers – Citrix, VMware and Microsoft.  Hopefully from this blog post, and the information over at GenerationV, you will see how AppSense bridges the gap between the roaming user and a dynamic, flexible VDI model..

For more information on this, the GenerationV Profile Management blog can be found here