Rebranding AppSense Management Suite to DesktopNow Requires a Fresh Look at AppSense User Virtualization! Part 1

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Meeting with a colleague earlier this week, I discovered that a significant rebranding/realignment occurred with one of our ecosystem partners, AppSense. Similar to Citrix’s acquisition of Xen, requiring a rebranding of all core products, our friends over at AppSense have finalized their branding initiative to classify three core product families, DesktopNow (Formerly AppSense Management Suite / AMS family includes Environment Manager, Application Manager, and Performance Manager), DataNow (Corporate/secured Dropbox solution), and MobileNow (Mobile Device Management / Mobile Application Management / Enterprise AppStore). While I won’t go into detail on what each of these product families will cover, I felt it was worth a review on the DesktopNow suite, since I hadn’t deployed the products for at least a year. Along with the rebranding, I have been encouraged to see if the overall deployment process has been significantly improved, removing many of the complications prone with 7.x.

With the understanding that my hands-on use of AMS has not included any 8.x releases, my hope is that this first glance/unboxing post is helpful, providing a guided installation, configuration and Environment Manager examples for those not experienced with AppSense. For this initial post, I won’t be covering database availability, load balancing, or any of the scalability tiers that would be required for a production deployment. This is simply to provide a guided installation for Proof of Concept VDI/SBC/Migration environments.

For easy reading, I’ve broken this blog post into four parts:

Part 1: AppSense DesktopNow Single Server Installation < YOU ARE HERE!
Part 2: AppSense DesktopNow Single Server Configuration
Part 3: Importing the Base Configuration
Part 4: Deploying the Client Communications Agent

After downloading the file from AppSense, I’ll start the installation by launching Setup.exe:


Click Next:


Enter User Information and click Next:


Accept the license agreement and click Next:


Check the box to evaluate the product and click Next:


Select Enterprise and click Next:


Leave Management Center, Personalization Server, and Application Rights Discovery selected and click Next:


Select Remote SQL Instance and click Next:


Click Install All to automate the majority of the prerequisite installation:


Validate that all prerequisites except IIS completed successfully.


Launch Server Manager and select the Roles section. Click Add Roles:


Click Next:


Select Web Server (IIS) and click Next:


Click Next:


Under Application Development, select ASP.NET:


Click Add Required Role Services:


Scroll down and under Management Tools -> IIS 6 Management Compatibility check IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility. Once checked, click Next:


Click Install:


Click Close:


In Server Manager, select Features. Click Add Features:


Check Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS):


Click Add Required Role Services:


Click Next:


Click Next:


Click Next:


Click Install:


Click Close:


Back on the AppSense installer screen, click Refresh once IIS and BITS is installed:


Validate that all prerequisites have registered as Installed and click Next:


Leave the default installation path selected and click Next:


Review the installation summary and click Install:


Monitor the installation process. After several minutes, the installation should be complete:


Click Launch Management Server Configuration once the install has finished:


To continue reading, please choose from the following:

Part 1: AppSense DesktopNow Single Server Installation < YOU ARE HERE!
Part 2: AppSense DesktopNow Single Server Configuration
Part 3: Importing the Base Configuration
Part 4: Deploying the Client Communications Agent

If you have any questions, comments, or just want to leave feedback, please do so below. Thanks for reading!


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  1. Amad MalikAmad Malik02-26-2013


    Great guide thank you. My question is a bit relevant with Load Balancing the personalisation Server. I have an environment setup at home where I have split the Management Server and Personalisation server. I have two personalisation servers and I am using NetScaler for Load balancing as you would do in production environment. I am having issue with that so could use some help in that matter. I am using the recommendations for the previous version but to point out a few things:

    – There is no status.aspx in the personalisationServer folder under in the website, is there an alternative to setup Monitor.
    – if you bypass this and setup a VIP I get an error box trying to connect using that VIP: (The Undelying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a receive.) in the error details box there are reference to error object etc which I don’t really understand but here is one of the lines (at EMConsole,.Object.ObjectManager.ExecuteBackgroundWorker(String name, Object [] parameters)

  2. Brian WatersBrian Waters01-29-2013

    Great work Dane!!

  3. Michael KleefMichael Kleef01-28-2013

    Very nice work Dane. Very glad you like the new features and enhancements.
    The team has worked very hard on simplifying the install and config experience. Note also the new changes for System Center. With Entisys being a top partner of Microsoft, you’ll love the ability to save your config directly into ConfigMgr!

    • Dane YoungDane Young01-28-2013


      Thank you for responding! I haven’t seen that integration into ConfigMgr yet, but that gives me a new area to explore! Thanks again for reading and responding.


  4. Bryan ChriscoliBryan Chriscoli01-27-2013

    Whilst a good tutorial for anyone wishing to install the suite, I believe it is worth mentioning that there are additional pre-requisites for IIS, other than ASP.NET and BITS.

    These are only presented when you setup an IIS Site for Management or Personalization, it’s worth getting them in early so you don’t have to repeat!

    Basic Auth
    Windows Auth
    Digest Auth (if using EMBrowserInterface)

    IP and Domain Restrictions
    URL Authorization
    Dynamic Content Compression

    If you are installing on Server 2012, most components need to be installed manually. Take note that HTTP Activation and WCF Are not installed with .NET by default and will cause the sites to fail.

    EMBrowserInterface is not installed with the suite and is a separate MSI.


    Bryan Chriscoli
    AppSense Professional Services – US

    • Dane YoungDane Young01-27-2013

      Hey Bryan,

      Maybe you have insight with the product teams. I’m certain I’m not the first to ask this question, can you explain why some components are automatically installed by the Setup package, while others require manual installation? Another example is once installed, there are some components that can be remedied by clicking “Repair All” while others require manual installation. Seems like a rudimentary change in the installation wizard, but would go a long way to simplifying the overall installation process.

      Also, since you mentioned it, can you share what components are officially supported on WS2012? I am assuming that Environment Manager, Application Manager & Performance Manager agents aren’t yet supported, but can you install all the management components on WS2012?

      Thanks for responding! Let me know if there’s anything else that I should include to make the initial installation process easier for first-time AppSense users to get up and running.

      • Dave AllenDave Allen01-28-2013

        Hi Dane,

        DesktopNow still incorporates support for Windows Server 2003 and therefore IIS 6; we are therefore working to the lowest common denominator in producing a Suite Installer and Server Configuration Utility that works across so many versions of Windows and Windows Server. Unfortunately Windows Server 2003 requires the original media be present when installing IIS6, so unless it’s already installed we are not in a position to install it on your behalf. This is the same for other components that cannot be automatically installed. We also have to make sure that we are not infringing the Microsoft re-distribution license, only components that have a re-distribution license can be packaged with third-party products.

        We are currently working on a new Server Configuration Utility that has PowerShell at its heart, which will allow the installation and configuration to be automated remotely, which will also allow us to support Windows Server Core (headless) in the future. There are also a number of other improvements we are making to enable easier upgrades for the server components, following on from the introduction of software patching (MSP’s) for Service Packs in the current release. In order to achieve this we will be dropping support for Windows Server 2003, for the server components ONLY, in this future release.

        Regarding Windows Server 2012, take a look at this TechNote which should answer your question.


        • Dane YoungDane Young01-28-2013


          Thank you so much for responding! It’s awesome to see I caught so much attention within AppSense. In terms of the prerequisites, this makes perfect sense. I half debated writing some PowerShell scripts that can automate the necessary dependencies with some Install-WindowsFeature cmdlets, but I figured the installer would automate this in the future. Thanks so much for the feedback, essentially WS2012 and Win8 are functional, but not yet supported for production implementations.

          Again, thanks for all your work and feedback!

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