In this release, we brought to you the following new features, changes and enhancements to existing functionality:
- New alert for detected device performance degradation.
New alert has been added for the devices. This new alert augments the previously available high memory -related alert by trying to find situations wherein the [perceived] performance of the device is degraded due to combination of high memory usage, high disk I/O (and hard-fault paging) and high processor utilization. Typically this indicates insufficient computing resources on the device for the workload that the user is running, and depending on the situation things like adding more RAM or replacing spinning disk hard-drives with SSDs or faster hard drives could help.
Generally, when this situation is triggered, users will perceive the responsiveness of the system as degraded and both system and/or applications running not responding to the input as expected ("system freezing" for a while). As this condition is not easily and 100% relialibly distinguishable in a technical sense, Applixure consideres only situations wherein this combination of technical symptoms lasts more than 1 minute at a time. And only if multiple occasions of these degraded performance incidents are happening per device, an alert is generated about it for the device.
In addition to generating alerts for performance degradation, you can see the performance degradation events in the alert event history for devices.
- Continued score calculation adjustments.
In addition to score re-calibration work we began in the summer, in the early August we further balanced scoring to better react on the number of affected assets for various alerts and warnings we generate. Previously, the more serious issues such as computers crashing could affect the scoring quite heavily even though the relative number of computers affected was low as compared to total number of computers in environment where Applixure Agent is installed.
This relative impact is now also accounted for in our score calculation, as is partially the timeframe of when those issues are last observed i.e. the longer it starts to be from the time of last incident, more positive effect on the scoring. Generally, after one month of now seeing the issue anymore, Applixure considers that issue as not affecting the device or software anymore (for those issues that cannot easily being detected either happening or not at all, such as full disks or laptop batteries being worn out) and asset is removed from the alert.
We believe that with the latest changes, the Applixure service scores even more accurately reflect the overall state of the environment.
- Better visualization of delta information for alerts and warnings.
For warnings and alerts generated by Applixure, change in the number of devices and software products (delta) was previously shown in the alert's description. We have now improved this information visually and show the change both in text (green is a positive change, meaning number of affected assets going down, and red for negative change) as well as with visual arrow indicator.
Generally put, when number of assets are decreasing in the alert or warning - indicating a positive trend - the scoring for that area will start getting better.
- Replaced last user with principal user for devices.
In the devices' information, one of the information that Applixure has displayed is which user (or user account) is the last user logged on to the device. While this information is in most cases helpful in establishing on who is the primary user for the computer and searching computers based on the user, the fact that it tracks the last logged on user could cause the information displayed to change occasionally if the last logon during the time of Applixure Agent reporting data happened to be some administrative account by the IT support, or similar case.
For these reasons, we now try to track who is the principal user on each device, concreately meaning the user account who has been for most of the time logged on to the device (while Applixure Agent has been installed and tracking this information). This principal user is now displayed in the Devices dashboard's mosaic, as well as in the listing of the devices, instead of the last logged on user. This change should make it more reliable to establish who is the actual user of the computer.
We still show the last logged on user along with the principal user in the individual device's details screen, as well as in the CSV export file that can be generated from the device listing screen.
Along with the change to user principal user instead of last logged on user, user account security readiness for the devices has also been updated to look for local administrator status for principal user account instead of last logged on user. This change, too, should now reflect better on the actual security readiness of the device when it comes to user account handling, as it will tell if the principal - or primary - user on the device operates with elevated rights.
This information is now displayed both in the device's details screen, as well as taken into account when calculating overall user account security readiness for specific device: presence of administrator rights for principal user now automatically sets user account security readiness to Poor for such devices.
- Updates to Applixure Agent.
We have made some recent changes to Applixure Agent to improve the memory and CPU usage of the user context process running in the users session, as well as the Agent's ability to restart its own service process when self-updating in Windows 8+ operating systems.
Unfortunately some of these changes cannot be applied through the self-update mechanism of the agent but require re-installation of the agent from the [most recently available] MSI package. Furthermore our data shows that there are still some occasional very old agent installations in our long-standing customers' environments that for some reason have not been able to update itself to the most current code for one reason or another.
For these reasons, we would urge all of our customers to check that the Applixure Agent installation MSI packages they have in active deployment either through ESD - such as Microsoft's SCCM, Active Directory or similar - or embedded in the workstation deployment image or process such as Microsoft MDT, are refreshed from time to time with the newest MSI package available through Applixure UI to ensure computers receive sufficiently recent code immediately on deployment and before auto-update has change to run. And if there are old MSI package currently in deployment, that they are now refreshed to the latest MSI package presently available to ensure new Windows 10 computers can keep updating Applixure Agent in timely manner (they still will, latest after reboot, take new Applixure Agent code in use but might not do so while computer is in use).
Newest Applixure Agent installation packages are always available from your environment's Agents tab.
Applixure Agent installation MSI packages can be run on the same machine where previous version is deployed and the installation procedure will update the existing installation. No explicit removal of previous version followed by re-install from new MSI package is required.
- The general speed of the UI has been improved.
- Fixes for miscellaneous found technical issues.