AppSense: Dueling Personalization Servers

AppSense user personalization is one of the more powerful parts of the AppSense suite.  It allows a user’s customizations (desktop and application) to move with the user to their pc, laptop, or virtual desktop.  The AppSense Environment Manager handles this function.  We are stepping up a production AppSense environment and I ran into a conflict between the production and lab AppSense environments.  In this blog post we’ll look at Auditing and Sites in the AppSense consoles to control where the user’s custom settings go.


In the AppSense Management Console, you can activate auditing for each Deployment Group.


Each section, which obviously governs a different aspect of the AppSense suite, contains many events that report on the various functions/actions of AppSense.  Here’s the Environment Manager list of events:


Toggling the check boxes allows you to view events in the console (surprisingly, under the Events section).


You can modify how this information is logged in the Environment Manager console.

When you’re looking at the Policy Configuration and click on the Auditing button you’ll get the following:


These settings govern how the events appear on the local device that has the installed agent.  Here, you can choose which log the events are written to , whether to make them anonymous, and even the log format.  You can also pick which events locally logged on the client device.

NOTE: Auditing should only be used for troubleshooting.  Leaving this on will impact the performance of AppSense.


Now that you are logging these events you can see if your configuration is recording them.  In my situation, I was seeing these events, but when I ran the Personalization Analysis I did not get any user or application data.  I found that when I connected to our lab personalization server which was setup first, I could see the data I was expecting.  This was due to the Default Users and Default Sites settings present in the lab personalization server configuration and that this original configuration was imported into the new environment.  This required us to change the configuration in both the old and new configuration to explicitly list with servers or Group Policy OU they resided in.

In my new configuration I created a new Site and named it Migration.  I added my new EM server and also added a Computer OU membership that included all my servers I wanted to discover applications from.


To make sure the old configuration did not continue to gather data from my servers, I added a new site (called Migration for consistency sake), added my new EM server, and added the same computer OU membership to it.

Now when I run Personalization Analysis on my production Personalization groups, I can see user and application data.



AppSense: Automated CCA Install and Self-Registration

Once you have your AppSense server and databases created, you can proceed with AppSense Agent installation.  In this post we’ll cover a command-line install of the Client Communications Agent and getting the device to Self-Register.

AppSense provides all their install components as MSI files (located under \Software\Products).  Here is an example of a silent install of the Client Communications Agent which is required on all servers that you wish to manage via AppSense.

msiexec.exe /qn /i "<MSI file path>\CommunicationsAgent.msi" WEB_SITE="https://<Management Server Name>" GROUP_NAME="<DeploymentGroup>"

NOTE: Above quotes are needed.

After installation, your system will join the default Unassigned Computers deployment group, it will then Self-Register to another Deployment Group if wanted.  To set this up, you must put the Deployment Group in the above command-line installation.  You must also check the following box on the Settings Section of your Deployment Group:

Deployment Group Settings

Once part of a custom Deployment Group, it will install the other AppSense agents and configurations that are part of it using your installation schedule settings.


AppSense: Creating the EM database

We are in the midst of implementing AppSense to manage our Citrix users and eventually all users in the enterprise.  It has been hard to find information in the blogosphere which I find surprising.  AppSense is not a brand new product and its recent recognition by Citrix at this year’s Synergy leads me to believe that someone (other than AppSense sales) is talking about this product.  I would greatly appreciate if any readers of this blog could suggest any AppSense blogs they’ve come across.


In most enterprise environments, there is compartmentalization of IT services and being on the Citrix team, I do not have sysadmin access to our enterprise MS SQL cluster.  This was not an issue when I setup the Management database as the service account for that DB only needs DBO privileges.  I spent several days pouring over AppSense documentation, searching Google, and communicating with my DBA and AppSense support to get this database created.  Partially, this was my fault because the documentation I had did not make the following steps clear to myself or my DBA.  I’m including the steps forwarded to me from AppSense support and the PDF they sent that describes this process.

  1. Create 2 accounts (Windows or SQL Accounts) – example AppSenseConfig and AppSenseService
  2. Ensure both of these accounts do not have an expiry on the password
  3. On the SQL Server, map the roles of Sysadmin to the AppSenseConfig account
  4. On the SQL Server, do not map any roles for the AppSenseService account
  5. Launch the Server Configuration Server and run the wizard using the 2 newly created accounts. At the first screen, enter the details from the AppSenseConfig account and point to the SQL Server and the existing database AppSenseEMDB
  6. At the next screen, enter the details of the AppSenseService account
  7. Complete the rest of the wizard.
  8. On completion, ensure that under the database tree, the AppSenseEMDB database is connected and not highlighted red. If any of the tree view items are marked red, select the Variances button, take a screenshot of the variance(s) and then select repair. If the variances cannot be fixed, contact AppSense support.
  9. Once the upgrade to the database has completed, you can remove the Sysadmin rights to the AppSenseConfig account as per the details in the PDF. This document explains all the roles during and post install of the accounts used in the setup of the database.

PDF: Installing AppSense Personalization Server with Limited Database Privilege.


A hard, rough, abrasive look at camel spotting…no dromedaries…no virtualization.

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