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AppSense revs up user virt tools to 8.4

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AppSense figured out that managing users was a headache long before virtual desktop infrastructure became a possibility for enterprises. The company has spent the last decade evolving user management tools that spanned many different kinds of systems and application virtualization layers, such as the Citrix Presentation Server (now XenApp) and Microsoft App-V, as well as physical Windows servers. But as is the case with all software; it can always be made easier to use and faster to deploy as well as expanded into new areas of relevancy.

That's what AppSense has done with its UV Suite 8.4, the first major release from the company in a little more than a year. UV is short for user virtualization, of course. The UV Suite is about five years old and is used to move end users working from physical PCs to virtualized PC or applications (or both) while giving IT managers absolute control over what users have access to, and what devices they work from, without having to juggle user profiles and write scripts by hand.

The suite is comprised of three pieces – Application Manager, Environment Manager, and Management Center – collectively known as a personality server. The components run on a Windows box equipped with an IIS web server and use SQL Server as a data store for end user configuration data, and you can package it up to run inside a virtual machine with a Windows image if that suits you. A single instance of the UV Suite can manage about 5,000 clients max, and you can scale up the number of users by clustering the personality servers, according to David Roussain, VP of business development at AppSense. A typical pilot runs from 1,000 to 2,000 seats and then broad deployments tend to run to 10,000 to 20,000 seats. AppSense has over 5,000 customers using UV Suite worldwide.

With UV Suite 8.4, explains Roussain, one of the new things you can do is have your end users do a little self-servicing. So, for instance, if they tweak an application and it goes haywire, they can have UV Suite do a rollback to a previously known good state for that app. UV Suite has also been integrated with Microsoft's Operations Manager and can submit a trouble ticket from the end user console if they can't figure out how to fix an issue themselves.

For PC administrators, UV Suite 8.4 has a simpler installation and configuration process, including auto-discovery and auto-configuration tools that can sniff what PCs and applications are on the network whose access could be controlled by UV Suite. The tool also has the ability to juggle more types of users and multiple groups of users and has more policy and fine-grained user control over access to resources.

UV Suite costs $119 per user, and those users can have an unlimited number of devices that are controlled by the code, be they physical or virtual PCs.

In addition to the UV Suite update, AppSense also put out a beta of a new program called DataNow, which is a data access control broker that sits in the middle of networks of PCs, smartphones and tablets running Android, Windows, or iOS, cloudy storage such as that on Amazon's S3 and Microsoft's Azure, or the Dropbox or Microsoft SkyDrive services, or internal SAN and NAS storage running on the corporate network. The DataNow application itself is written in Java and can be hosted inside a VMware ESXi, XenServer, or Hyper-V container to link out to all that storage. DataNow is expected to ship in the summer; pricing has not been set as yet.

In a related item, AppSense has acquired RAPsphere, a maker of application access control software for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. ®

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