We're very excited to announce that AppTracker 5 is now available. This release adds a significant amount of new functionality which makes managing your application estate and migration programme even easier and more cost effective. The headline new features are:
- Machine tracking, readiness and scheduling
- Server migration management
- IT Ninja integration
- AppTracker Dynamic Rationalisation (ADR)
- New connectors: AutonoWare ConversionBox, SysTrack Lakeside, Snow Inventory, Centrix WorkSpace iQ
- Single Sign-On and anonymous access
Machine Tracking, Readiness and Scheduling
In previous releases of AppTracker we've been able to track applications, users and the relationship between the two (i.e. who uses which applications). This has allowed us to manage migrations where the user is the focal point of the migration.
In some scenarios we will be looking to manage the migration of the machine (PC, server etc) rather then the user. This might be a requirement in an organisation where multiple users share machines, or during a server migration. AppTracker 5 allows you to track these machines, their applications and who uses them. It provides machine readiness reports based on which applications are required to migrate the machine, and it allows you to schedule the machine for migration and print build sheets for the deployment engineers. You can then trigger SCCM tasks such as an in-place Windows 10 upgrade via AppTracker Custom Actions if needed.
Server Migration Management
AppTracker can now be used to manage complex server migrations. We've seen a large number of organisations moving their estates from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012. The challenge here is keeping track of all of the applications, dependencies, infrastructure and so on to ensure that you can make the transition smoothly, on-time and on-budget. AppTracker adds a tremendous amount of value by allowing you to:
- Model the existing environment in the tool with projects, dependencies, infrastructure and tasks
- Plan the transition to the future-state by considering all the "moving parts" which will have a bearing on the migration
- Build a full schedule of the programme and ensure that this is delivered as planned
Anyone who's been involved in application packaging and virtualisation will have no doubt used the website ITNinja.com (previously known as AppDeploy.com) to get to the bottom of technical issues or learn how others are deploying specific enterprise applications. It makes complete sense to provide access to this resource from within AppTracker to streamline the job of those managing applications, so we worked with ITNinja's founder, Bob Kelly, to add this functionality.
The new ITNinja tab in AppTracker allows you to search for deployment tips for the selected application, then pin them to the application for future reference. Whenever you revisit this tab you will get the latest set of tips, sorted in order of usefulness as voted by the ITNinja community.
Apptracker dynamic rationalisation (ADR)
One of the biggest challenges facing applications teams is managing the ever-growing volumes of applications required by businesses. It's also quite typical for organisations to end up with multiple versions of the same application which is an additional overhead to manage.
When AppTracker is used during a migration programme it is typically configured using a connector to regularly import the existing software inventory from third party solutions such as Centrix WorkSpace iQ, Snow Inventory and SysTrack Lakeside (you can alternatively import the inventory from Excel). This normally results in 1,000s of application records being created in AppTracker with multiple versions of the same product in many cases. AppTracker 5.0 allows you to take the multiple versions of a product and rationalise them down to a single "standard" version. It remaps the users of the rationalised applications to the "standard" version of the application. When these users are migrated to the new system this ensures that those users will receive the "standard" version of the product.
In addition, when new users are detected by the software inventory tool, these are dynamically remapped to the "standard" versions of the software titles in AppTracker.
The four versions are marked as rationalised. The users ("Num. Requests" column) are now zero as they have been remapped to Adobe Reader 10.1
Automation: AutonoWare ConversionBox
Software Inventory: SysTrack Lakeside, Centrix WorkSpace iQ, Snow Inventory
AppTracker 5 ships with four new connectors.
The AutonoWare ConversionBox connector allows you to auto-convert native installers into App-V format using ConversionBox without ever leaving AppTracker.
The three new software inventory connectors allow us to run a daily import import of the organisation's estate including all applications, machines and devices which have been detected by the inventory tool. This is a fantastic starting point where an organisation is undergoing a large change programme such as a desktop migration. It allows you to utilise the new ADR rationalisation functionality on all newly discovered applications.
Single Sign-On and Anonymous Access
AppTracker 5 supports Active Directory-based Single Sign-On (SSO). This allows AppTracker users to be automatically logged into the tool without the need to enter a username and password. SSO is supported on both on-premise installations of AppTracker and in AppTracker Cloud.
In addition it is possible to configure AppTracker for anonymous access once SSO has been set up. This allows organisations to automatically log anyone in the domain into AppTracker regardless of whether they have an AppTracker account or not. The users with AppTracker accounts get the rights explicitly assigned to them. The users without AppTracker accounts get the rights assigned to a special anonymous account. This would typically be more restricted than a standard account.