This is the 4th part of the blog series about User Environment Management within Azure RemoteApp. In the first 2 blogposts which you can find here and here I discussed the use of Microsoft User Experience Virtualization in combination with Azure RemoteApp. In the 3rd part I explained why you should disable the User Profile Disk when using another solution for User Environment Virtualization. This post will describe the use of AppSense DesktopNow in combination with Azure RemoteApp. I’m writing this blogpost together with my formal colleague Corné van Ginkel which is specialized the AppSense products.
Let’s first start with a short summary about AppSense DesktopNow. AppSense DesktopNow allows IT to centrally setup, secure, manage, and personalize any desktop across physical, virtual, and cloud platforms to: Simplify desktop deployment and management, improve user experience and secure endpoints, reduce IT infrastructure costs, deliver a personalized, compliant desktop regardless of location or device. AppSense DesktopNow consists of the following products:
- AppSense Environment Manager: Environment Manager delivers on-demand personalization and context-aware policy controls.
- AppSense Application Manager: Application Manager provides application control and privilege management.
- AppSense Performance Manager: Performance Manager helps IT teams maximize user density and deliver an optimal user experience.
If you need more information about AppSense you can visit their website: http://www.appsense.com/products/desktopnow/.
Comparison between AppSense DesktopNow and Microsoft User Environment Virtualization
This blogpost will not cover a detailed comparison between both UEM products. A complete comparison between AppSense DesktopNow and Microsot UEV will need a full blogpost. It’s not my goal of this blogpost to cover this.
This blogpost will also not cover the installation and initial configuration of the server environment of AppSense DesktopNow. So the starting point is a working and configured AppSense DesktopNow server environment. The steps below are needed to prepare AppSense DesktopNow and Azure RemoteApp instances:
- Add the AppSense agents to the ‘Master’ Image of your Azure RemoteApp environment. Each AppSense product has its own client and beside that the Client Communications agent is needed for communication with the AppSense Management Server. When the agents are installed you can follow the same procedures as described in the Azure RemoteApp documentation or in this blogpost to create the Image and upload it to Azure RemoteApp.
- When the image is created and uploaded, create or update your existing Hybrid collection in Azure RemoteApp.
- When you have updated your Azure RemoteApp collection the new instances should be visible in the AppSense Management Console:
- Next is to create a ‘Environment Manager’ Configuration package in which you enable the Personalization functionality. Open the Environment Manager console and create a new configuration. Enable Personalization by clicking on ‘Personalization Servers’. Configure you ‘Personalization Server’ and click on OK.
- Save the configuration in the Management Server
- When the configuration is saved you need to deploy the configuration to the endpoints. This can be done by adding the configuration package to the Deployment Group in the AppSense Management Console. Selecting the ‘Latest’ configuration will deploy the latest configuration automatically to the active AppSense endpoints. You can also deploy this configuration through System Center Configuration Manager with a MSI deployment.
- The next step is to enable personalization for applications. This is done in the AppSense Environment Manager Console. Click on User Personalization.
- Next is to create an Application Group in which you add the application which need to be personalized. Click on ‘New by Name (Advanced)’
- Fill in the Name of the Application, the Executable of the application and then click on OK. When you click on OK the application Group will be created with the Application. The Group will also be added to your Personalization Group, this means that from this moment the settings for this application will be personalized.
- Now all configuration is done. Now it’s time to do some testing.
Lets first open Notepad++ on my Windows 10 Client and type some text:
Now go to your AppSense Environment Manager Console and check if the settings are personalized by clicking on ‘Personalization Analysis’
Now go to the user and check if the settings are saved in AppSense Personalization:
Next is to check if we have the same settings in the virtualized Notepad++ application inside Azure RemoteApp:
We have now the same settings in Azure RemoteApp. Let’s do a final check if settings which we change in Azure RemoteApp will be visible on premise:
Now start the Notepad++ application on your on premise workstation:
So based on the above testing we have proved that with some basic configuration we can personalize application settings in Azure RemoteApp with AppSense DesktopNow.