Waclaw Chrabaszcz
... there is no spoon ...

APPSENCE – Unattended installation of AppSense Desktop Now

Sunday, March 1, 2015 8:37 AM

What is AppSense? Espacially what is AppSense for me? I can call myself a GPO fundamentalist. And in my opinion I can reach everything using Group Polices. However the role of the engineer it to know, not to believe. The role of the engineer is to be open for everything. So, next couple of months I will study AppSense way of user management. I will try to be objective, and focus of advantages in comparison to our good old GPO way.

What are strong points of AppSense:

  • Streaming user settings on-demand in response to user actions, reducing network traffic and logon times.
  • Simple migration of user profile data and settings between desktops, operating systems and delivery systems.
  • Personalization settings are managed and streamed at application level enabling independent management of user profile data on a per application basis and allowing applications to be upgraded and swapped with no user impact.
  • Assist migration of users to Microsoft Windows 7.
  • Automatic management of user application personalization.
  • Remove the potential for profile corruption.
  • Enable consistent quality of service to the user regardless of the environment delivery mechanism.
  • Manage personalization settings across distributed server silos.
  • Simple migration from existing profiles.
  • Malicious or accidental user environment changes can be automatically self-healed.
  • Minimize support costs and maximize user productivity.
  • Apply user policy dynamically in any desktop delivery mechanism.
  • Ensure users remain compliant with policy regardless of how they receive their working environment.
  • Quickly implement business policies which can be shared and utilized across operating system boundaries and different application delivery mechanisms by use of triggers, actions and conditions.
  • Introduce pre-built corporate policy best practice with AppSense Policy Templates.

If we talk about the architecture AppSense is typical Agent Management app. You need to Deploy Agents to all your clients (like for SCCM, or App-V) to start manage the environment on your new terms. As it is shown on the picture there are three layers of the infrastructure:

Consoles – can be installed on management servers or Admin's workstation, each major component has his own separate console. Management console needs to be hooked into Management Server

Management Servers – stores configurations and personalization in SQL Databases, thanks to this concept we can reach much better policy granularity, and AppSense is OU independentJ. To manage global and local load you can build multiple instances of management servers and use any of known you NLB techniques to address your needs. I would say that from the maintenance perspectives AppSense a typical multitier Web Application: NLB WebServers + Clustered SQL.

Agents – using BITS protocol agent queries Management Server for Polices and Personalization, in the same way agent sends visualized registry changes to store in the SQL. Thanks to that Personalization can roam from one machine to the other, and if it is our wish, between platforms (client Win XP/7/8 <->server 2008/2012).

Ok After this short background it is time to install evaluation version of AppSense. To obtain AppSense sources you need to go to https://www.myappsense.com/ and request myAppSense accout. You will have to provide your corporate data, usually requests from public space e.g. @gmail @hotmail are ignored. It might be a problem for students. It looks like AppSense is focused on corporate market only.

Once you've got binaries you can start the installation. I would recommend you manual installation, it is nice and easy. The Installation wizard helps you to resolve all prerequisite issues with one click. However I am an automation maniac. So I will do it this way: (I'm using Server 2008 R2)

rem @echo off if you like

REM installation source
SET APPSENSESOURCE=C:\AppSenseDesktopNow8Dec2014

REM prerequisites
ServermanagerCMD -install NET-Framework-Core
ServermanagerCMD -install Web-Server
ServermanagerCMD -install Web-Asp-Net
ServermanagerCMD -install BITS
start /wait %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Prerequisites\vcredist2010_SP1_x64.exe /quiet /norestart
start /wait %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Prerequisites\vcredist2010_SP1_x86.exe /quiet /norestart
start /wait %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Prerequisites\vcredist2013_x64.exe /quiet /norestart
start /wait %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Prerequisites\vcredist2013_x86.exe /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Prerequisites\msxml6.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Prerequisites\msxml6_x64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Prerequisites\dotNetFx40_Full_x86_x64.exe /quiet /norestart

REM appsense
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ApplicationManagerConsole64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /p %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ApplicationManagerConsole64.msp /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ApplicationManagerDocumentation64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ApplicationManagerWebServices64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /p %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ApplicationManagerWebServices64.msp /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ConfigurationAssistant64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\EnvironmentManagerConsole64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /p %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\EnvironmentManagerConsole64.msp /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\EnvironmentManagerDocumentation64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\EnvironmentManagerPolicyTools64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\EnvironmentManagerPolicyTools64.msp /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\EnvironmentManagerTools64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /p %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\EnvironmentManagerTools64.msp /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\LicensingConsole64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\LicensingConsoleDocumentation64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ManagementCenterDocumentation64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ManagementConsole64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /p %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ManagementConsole64.msp /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ManagementServer64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\ManagementServer64.msp /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\PerformanceManagerConsole64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\PerformanceManagerDocumentation64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /i %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\PersonalizationServer64.msi /quiet /norestart
start /wait msiexec /p %APPSENSESOURCE%\Software\Products\PersonalizationServer64.msp /quiet /norestart

The process of building of the environment is divided into two parts, the installation and the configuration. Next month we will configure Management Servers and deploy Agents.


# re: APPSENCE – Unattended installation of AppSense Desktop Now

I sold AppSense along with Citrix for desktop virtualization. The advantage was suppose to be in their Profile Mgmt. In almost every deployment, AppSense has been a major issue, never quite working correctly. I had to engage AppSense directly, because our engineers could not figure out the issue. Even after engaging AppSense directly, the software never worked correctly and always had issues. I can't recommend selling it anymore. Too many bad experiences and no one seems to really care about resolving the issues with actions, just words.

I commend you for going about this with an open mind, but don't be disappointed, when your theory does relate to reality.

Good Luck! 3/1/2015 6:59 PM | Technology Sales Professional

# re: APPSENCE – Unattended installation of AppSense Desktop Now

Thanks for your feedback. Yes I agree with you. Power Point presentations are far for the real live deployments. I will try to understand how appsence works. Usually in sales and consulting you have no time for deeper investigation, you just need to implement something, take your money and leave the building. I'm not the AppSense fanboi, however i will try to get familiar with this product based on knowledge not urban myths. We will see wat will be the result... Thanks and good luck to You as well. B.T.W. The quality of customer support that's another story .. very long ... and not only about this corporation ... 3/10/2015 6:41 PM | wchrabaszcz

# re: APPSENCE – Unattended installation of AppSense Desktop Now

Hi Do you have an unattended install in powershell ? 8/8/2016 11:46 PM | Afras

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