Product Documentation

What's new in AppDNA 7.8

May 18, 2016

Note

Throughout the AppDNA documentation, references to "XenApp and XenDesktop 7" include all 7.x releases.

Be sure to review the system requirements and known issues carefully as you begin planning your deployment.

App-V sequencing solution

This release provides support for the App-V sequencing solution. Use this functionality to automate and batch the creation of App-V packages from your portfolio of native installers, using AppDNAs knowledge to increase the sequencing success rate.

Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)

The Citrix Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) gathers anonymous configuration and usage data from AppDNA and automatically sends the data to Citrix. This data helps Citrix improve the quality, reliability, and performance of AppDNA. Participation in the CEIP is completely voluntary. When you first install AppDNA, or when you install an update, you have the option to participate in the CEIP. When you opt-in, data is typically collected on a weekly basis, and performance and usage data is collected hourly. The data is stored on disk and transferred securely via HTTPS to Citrix weekly. You can change whether you participate in the CEIP in the AppDNA console. For more information on the CEIP, see About the Citrix Customer Improvement Program (CEIP).

CEIP when installing or updating AppDNA

The first time you install AppDNA, or when you do an update, you can enroll in CEIP. Follow the steps provided by the installation Wizard; in the CEIP screen, select the appropriate radio button to either send anonymous statistics and usage information, or join the program at a later time.

Tip

If you are already enrolled, the CEIP screen does not appear in the installation Wizard.

By default, this feature is enabled. You can opt out of the CEIP at anytime by disabling the feature in the CEIP section of the settings screen.

When using the installation Wizard to configure the AppDNA environment, the CEIP screen appears, allowing you to enroll (or decline enrollment) in the program. After selecting the appropriate option, click Next:

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If you are already enrolled in CEIP, use the Settings screen to opt out: 

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In the Settings screen, select CEIP. Use the Continue participating (recommended) checkbox to manage participation in this program.

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Patch impact analysis solution

This feature allows you to analyze, in advance, OS updates to determine the level of impact to your existing apps by collecting DNA from a proposed OS update and verifying elements that may cause problems as a result of an upgrade (for example, DLL conflicts). Use this new feature to pre-determine which Windows updates will affect installed applications in your AppDNA environment.

To integrate the Patch Impact Analysis solution with Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), the WSUS SDK must be installed on the client. For more information, see Requirements for optional features

To use patch impact analysis, add a new solution template; in the Solutions Templates screen, select Patch Impact Analysis, then click Next:

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Specify a name for the patch impact analysis solution and optionally include a description. Click Next:

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Select applications you would like to analyze, individually, or as a group. Click Next:

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The selected apps are analyzed to determine the impact of OS patch updates. After selecting the apps to analyze, specify how the patches are imported into the AppDNA environment; enter the patches manually, or use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), then click Next:

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When manually importing patches to analyze, browse to locate the patches. Click Next:

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After clicking Next, the analysis begins by examing the AppDNA database. Information is collected from the patches in a similar way to how information is gathered from other AppDNA collection processes. This information is used to compare the DLLs of the selected apps to those updated as a result of an OS patch upgrade.

The AppDNA interface indicates the progress of the analysis:

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Once the analysis preparation is complete, click Analyze to begin the impact patch analysis process:

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After clicking Analyze, the result are displayed. In the Analysis results table, click + to expand the table to view algorithms used for the analysis. Use the drop down menu to select which type of report you would like to view, then click View Report:

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After clicking View Report, the screen changes to display the results of the patch import analysis:

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Tip

If the results of a patch import analysis trigger any form of an event, the itemized details will display a hyperlink in the Patch details portion of the screen; clicking one of the links displays additional information for the analyzed content.

Virtualization solution

At this release, AppDNA introduces the virtualization solution feature. This feature provides an analysis of the best path forward for your applications (for example, AppV or XenApp). Built on a forward path script, AppDNA uses the virtualization solution to view installed apps to determine what sorts of algorithms are used; it uses this information to make recommendations for the best approach for virtualization solutions used by the app. It helps to determine if these applications are better suited for AppV, XenApp/Xendesktop, put on an AppDisk, or allow them to reside in a server or desktop hosted XenApp environment.

To view information related to the virtualization solution feature, select the Reports Applications tab. In the Forward Path section, select Virtualization solution:

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Application attribute forms

AppDNA provides new application attribute forms at this release. This feature allows users to create named collections of attributes useful for tagging applications with meaningful internal IDs that can be used to classify apps. Use these internal IDs to tag apps (for example, license costs and renewal dates), then group them into logical containers (forms) which are then available in the properties of an app.

To use application attribute forms, in the AppDNA interface click Configure, then select Application Forms:

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Specify a name for the new application form, then click the Save icon:

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Create a new application ID:

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Create a new attribute (for example, renewal date). Use the drop down menu to select the Data type (for example, Date). Click Next:

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Select the display option for the attribute. Click Finish:

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Add an additional attribute (for example, annual cost). Use the drop down menu to specify a Data type (for example Number). Click Next:

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Select the display option for the attribute. Click Finish:

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After adding the attributes, they appear in the list of Application attributes in the right portion of the AppDNA interface:

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After adding application attributes, you can add additional attributes (for example, Common elements). To add an additional one, locate the attribute application form element you want to add, in this example, select Link in the Common elements section:

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After clicking the link option, the Common element configuration screen appears. Specify a name for the link, and optionally specify a Caption (for example, Web). Click OK:

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The attributes are added to the app attribute forms. These attributes will appear dynamically and can change based on the values assigned to each app; some elements are static (for example, a company logo/image):

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After saving the changes, you can view updated properties for the modified application. In the Applications tab, select the app for which you modified properties, right click and select Properties:

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In the app properties screen, click the Licensing tab to view the recently added attributes. Note that default values are displayed; modify as necessary:

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Application life cycle

This release of AppDNA introduces a new feature for application life cycle improvements. Using this feature, you can create application attachments and stubs. Application attachments are useful for adding various attachments to your apps, such as purchasing data (for example, a spreadsheet containing license renewal costs). Application stubs provide placeholders for a particular application that are not yet part of the AppDNA database (for example, an administrator who desires to track a requested application).

Application stubs provide the ability to left shift apps into the AppDNA database. In previous releases, unless a dedicated installer was used, an administrator could not record an application in the AppDNA environment unless it was explicitly imported.

With the functionality provided in this release, an administrator can create a stub to represent an app before that app is even part of the AppDNA environment. Apps can be imported from the main Applications List by clicking the Add button:

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After clicking Add, the Create Application screen appears. Enter a name to represent the app, and optionally specify additional information.  Select the Import your application now checkbox; click Browse to locate the app you want to import.

After selecting the app, click OK.

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To view the status of the imported app, click View Server Queue in bottom right portion of the AppDNA interface:

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The Server Queue screen displays the status of the imported app:

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Importing a stub

To import an application stub into the AppDNA database:

  1. In the Applications tab, select the AppID checkbox associated with the app you want to import.
  2. Right click to display a context menu.
  3. Select Import.
  4. Browse to the directory containing the stub (for example, a .MSI file) you want to import.
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When importing a stub, the AppDNA interface displays an message indicating the status of the import process:

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Application profiling

AppDNA introduces Application Profiling at this release. This feature works in tandem with install capture, however, app profiling collects runtime data from your installed applications. Metrics, like CPU, memory usage, and network utilization are captured while an application is running. Using this information, AppDNA helps you design your virtualization infrastructure requirements. For example, the AppDNA profiling analysis may indicate that a memory intensive application should be spread among multiple RDS servers.

To use application profiling:

  1. In the Applications tab, select the appropriate AppID checkbox for the application you want to profile.
  2. Right click to display a context menu; select Profile.
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Application profiling utilizes an existing VM configuration profile based on what you specified for install capture. In the drop down menu, select Install Cap, click OK to begin the profiling process:

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AppDNA displays a status message indiating the state of the profiling proces:

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When application profiling begins, AppDNA starts up the machine defined in the selected profile and initiates a RDP session giving you visibility and control over the process.

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AppDNA injects (into the machine) the setup file for the application that will be profiled; the app is setup in the same fashion as it would be for an install capture process, the main difference is that no snapshots of the base OS are taken. 

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After starting the application profiling process, the auto clicker process is invoked to install the application: 

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The selected application (in this example, FileZilla) launches its installation Wizard and prompts for RDP connection verification (with auto clicker enabled, no user input is required):

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Auto clicker automatically finishes the installation process:

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Once auto clicker finishes installing the application, a dialog window appears in the RDS window allowing you to start the app profiling process. Click Start to begin, or click Browse to locate the app's executuable file:

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Tip

If the app you wish to profile does not automatically launch after clicking Start, click Browse to locate it and manually launch it.

After clicking Start to initiate app profiling, AppDNA begins scanning the application to determine key metrics. When the process finishes, the interface displays a status message:

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To view information related to performance counters, click Advanced in the profiling application window:

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Note

Viewing performance counters is useful when using app profiling to improve your virtual environment.

Verifying app profiling performance

Using the AppDNA interface, you can view performance metrics related to app profiling. In the Applications tab, select the corresponding checkbox for the app you want to retrieve information. After selecting the app, right click to display a context menu; click Properties:

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In the Properties screen, performance information is accessible from the Profiling data tab:

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Tip

When using app profiling to display performance metrics for an application, you can set thresholds to address any counters that may exceed an acceptable level (for example, % Processor, Working Set, IO Read, and Bytes Total/sec). Adjust these thresholds using the Performance data tab in the Settings screen.

Setting performance related thresholds

You can set performance thresholds from the Settings menu:

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In the Settings screen, select Reporting. Click the Performance tab to display options for setting thresholds for the following counters:

  • % Processor. Displays the threshold for percentage of processor utilized by the selected application.
  • Working Set. Defines the amount of memory that a process requires in a given time interval.
  • IO Read. Defines the number of input/output reads performed by the application.
  • Bytes Total/sec. Represents the total number of bytes used by the application each second.
To enforce thresholds, enter a value for each attribute. Click Save.
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Viewing additional performance information

Additional performance information is available for an application. To view this information, select Performance Summary accessible from the Reports: Applications tab:

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The Profiling Summary screen provides comprehensive, at-a-glance information related to performance characteristics for a given application:

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Tip

Use the information in the Profiling Summary screen to view thresholds; use the settings screen to set thresholds to improve the performance of your application. For example, if an application uses an extraneous amount of processing, it appears in red. In this example, the application FileZilla allocates a large percentage of available processor. To resolve this, set a lower % Processor threshold in the settings screen.