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New desktop analytics tools offer clear view of PC, VDI use

New desktop analytics tools from AppSense and Ericom could help IT admins deal with desktop management at small and large scales.

Two new desktop analytics tools help IT find actionable data to better manage PCs, apps and virtual desktops.

Insight, a data analytics tool released this week by AppSense, provides customers business intelligence around desktop usage and environment issues to give IT administrators a clearer view of endpoint management.

With Insight, companies can see how IT manages user experience. It also provides data about how an overall project, such as a VDI or desktop-as-a-service pilot, is going. That information includes how fast a login process is, how much storage is utilized and which apps are running.

Customers can also determine which desktops have overloaded CPU or RAM, identify data types and where it is stored on endpoints, and find out what causes slow logons, the company said.

Insight could provide a direct link between diagnosing a potential endpoint issue and IT, said Ken Phelan, CTO of Gotham Technology Group LLC, an IT services provider and AppSense partner, headquartered in Montvale, N.J.

If I have a known, trusted piece of endpoint software that starts killing more birds with the same stone, that's huge.
Ken PhelanCTO, Gotham Technology Group

For example, if a user contacts IT to say their desktop is running slowly, a desktop admin can use Insight to diagnose the problem and fix it faster than if they had to contact a Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) administrator first, Phelan said.

"If he's passing that to the SCCM group, [that doesn't work] from a client satisfaction perspective," said Phelan.

Insight can also lessen the need for multiple clients on an endpoint collecting that kind of data, avoiding something Phelan called "endpoint fatigue."

"If I have a known, trusted piece of endpoint software that starts killing more birds with the same stone, that's huge," Phelan said.

Insight is a first-version product, and AppSense can work to shore up security analytics for the next version, Phelan said.

Besides SCCM, other companies that provide similar analytics options for desktop management include Splunk, Inc., and Lakeside Software, Inc.

Insight supports any physical PC running Windows 7 or later, as well as virtual Citrix and VMware desktop environments. Insight is an additional module at an extra cost to DesktopNow, AppSense's user environment management suite. AppSense declined to provide pricing information for Insight and DesktopNow, however DesktopNow was previously reported to cost $125 per user on a perpetual license.

Ericom Connect provides analytics at large scale

A different means of deriving desktop analytics information comes by way of Closter, N.J.-based Ericom Software Inc. It released Ericom Connect this week, a managed desktop and app virtualization access product that includes an actionable business intelligence platform, in addition to the managed access service.

Ericom changed the architecture of AccessNow to support Connect's scalability. Instead of using a standard database such as SQL or Oracle, Connect uses grid technology that moves the databases from physical servers into memory. This is similar to what highly trafficked websites such as Facebook and Twitter use to process millions of transactions every second, Ericom said.

Based on data derived from the company's testing of 50,000 concurrent sessions, Ericom claims that Connect can support 100,000 concurrent sessions per server. The company said it could not get resources from Amazon to test any more than 50,000 sessions, however, and added that it found the user desktop experience was "not degraded at all" when scaled up to 50,000 concurrent sessions.

Ericom provided an entirely new Web management interface that should help admins process analytics and address problems more easliy, said Robert Young, research manager for client virtualization software with IDC in Framingham, Mass.

"We hear a lot from vendors about how great something works for end users and how it looks," Young said. "But if you can't manage it effectively, that’s a problem."

Connect provides IT reports for a view of system resources, users and session activity. Customers can also monitor application and desktop usage, user productivity, and system workload and health using the platform.

What Ericom is doing with Connect could be an indicator of where the market is going; this style of reporting analytics and information could extend to physical desktops and mobile devices in the future, Young said. There's a desire in the market for unified endpoint management where all reporting data derived from any kind of endpoint can be managed from one location, he added.

Ericom Connect is available now. Pricing ranges between $199 and $200 per concurrent user and $109 and $164 per named user, with discounts for quantity.*

Jake O'Donnell is the news writer for SearchConsumerization.com and Search VirtualDesktop.com. He can be reached at jodonnell@techtarget.com. Follow him on Twitter @JakeODonnell_TT.

*Pricing figures were updated with new information from Ericom after publication.

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