Since the last release notes, we have brought to you the following new features, changes and enhancements to existing functionality:
- Updated Applixure Agent for Apple Mac
We have improved the software detection and monitoring logic in the Mac Agent significantly and the Mac software information should now work more reliably than with the initial release of the Mac Agent. We have also improved and fixed various other parts of the the Agent's internal working, which should now result in significantly reduced the memory usage of the Agent's process over longer periods of continous usage time. Unfortunately due to some yet-unfixed memory leak issues in some of the Mac's official APIs there is extremly tiny but existing increasing memory use if the Agent's process has been continously running for extended periods of time with lot of software activity.
In addition to shaping up the existing codebase, Mac Agent now provides device crash (i.e. kernel panics), application crash and application hang detection for the Macs. This will give better insights into user experience of your Mac computers as now you are able to see if the devices or end-user software used on them are as reliable as expected.
We will continue on adding feature parity against our Windows Agent over time in future releases, where-ever applicable to the Mac environment.
- Software product specific version view now available in UI
In the Applixure data model, there is a hierarchy or taxonomy of software products (groups), their specific versions and the applications that links to the each product version (please see an article in our developer documentation to learn more).
Traditionally, on the basis of us wanting to give you the most clearest and understandable software estate picture we have concentrated on displaying only the highest level of this hierachy - version independent grouping of products - on the Applixure Web UI. The software product version specific information has been shown in aggregate in the individual software's page in the Product versions -list, but access more information about usage or issues specific to individual version our API has been the place to go to get that specific level of data.
We still continue to operate on this principle on giving the "big picture" or the highest level of the software infomation first in our UI as this is usually the level on where you most of the time want to inspect and understand your software assets. But we have now improved our Web UI to give you more insights to specific version(s) of the software product deployed to your devices, so for cases where you may have multiple versions of the same software for some reason, you are now able to more quickly understand the software usage and issue patterns that may be specific to certain version.
To do so, we have firstly improved the existing Product vesions -display to link to the version -specific page by the action of clicking on the name of the software version.
This will open up detail page for that specific version of the software product, with mostly all of the same data presented as for software product group as whole but now reflecting only the usage and issue history of that specific version.
This also makes it now possible to set software attributes/settings for that specific version only, such as in cases where you would not want to set some software unapproved as whole but would like to unapprove some specific version of that software found presently in your environment. Or on reverse, set some software as unapproved as whole but "whitelist" one approved version by setting it approved which would always make any other version to be included in Applixure alert specific to unapproved software still being found in the environment as the alerts for unapproved software and retired software now also recognizing product version -level approvals/lifecycle settings.
To futher enhance the cases where you might have multiple versions of the software, you can also now see some of the key indicators in the list of the product versions, telling you those versions that have:
- experiencing any issues in recent (30 days) history for that specific version with three different issue relevance/number of issue events coloring (yellow, orange, red)
- been set as retired when software product as group has not
- been set as unapproved when software product as group has not
This makes it fast to quickly find misbehaving versions among potentially others that are not without first haveing to look into details of individual issue "circles" in the Issues event history display and trying to connect individual applications' version to specific product version; or versions that should not be deployed anymore due to them being unapproved or retired.
- Device & driver problem display for agent devices
We now collect and display information about those device and drivers problems that Windows reports as being detected for devices in the computer's device tree (i.e. in the Device Manager). Typically these issues can range from some devices having no known drivers installed by the operating system (either so called out-of-the-box drivers that ships with the operatings system, or explicitly installed 3rd party drivers by the IT during computer or device setup) to wide variety of issues in starting or initializing the device or its associated driver in Windows.
You can now find in the Applixure if your computers are experiencing these kind of issues as they usually can affect the end-users usability of his or hers peripheral devices or some built-in functionality in the computer itself if Windows cannot bring the device into operating state.
As the specifically excepted case of device being reported as having problems that Applixure will now ignore are any network adapters having "VPN" in the name that has been set as "Disabled by the user". This is due to the default operating mode of the 3rd party VPN software whereby they create virtual network adapter device into system corresponding to the VPN tunneling, and set it explicitly into disabled state (hence, disabled "by the user" from Windows' standpoint) whenever the tunnel is not active. Applixure filters these types of devices having that error code as the condition as such is "as designed" and not really an error that should be surfaced.
- 3rd party device driver information in the API data
Along with the device & driver problem information, we have added list of 3rd party (non inboxed by OS) device drivers currently installed to the system into the Applixure Connect API data. This allows finding which devices in the Agent computers are using drivers that are not part of the operating system and/or are divergent in version specifically in cases where investigating issues related to certain devices (such as video adapters or network adapters) are behaving incorrectly only on some devices.
- TLS 1.2 communication now as default
Applixure Agents will now communicate securely using TLS 1.2 protocol against the Applixure platoform, previously the Agent relied on using the default TLS level provided by the .NET Framework which in most cases would fallback using either 1.0 or 1.1 as the Applixure Agent is targeting against .NET 2.0 runtime for backwards compatibility reasons, even if the newer 4.X Framework is available and executing the code. Now, operating system version and Framework availability permitting, Applixure Agent will force to use TLS 1.2.
- Device crash events now show OS-provided crash code
For the issue event history, we have added the information about the reported crash code (bugcheck id in Windows, kernel panic information in Mac) provided by the operating system.
This can help you to start investigating the reasons for crashing and seeing if the same underlying issue is potentially shared by multiple crashing computers without having to first go and dig out the code from the individual computers themselves.
For Windows Agents, there is also now an additional filtering being performed by the Applixure to not include any device crashes into Applixure alert that are caused by the well-known Microsoft's Driver Verifier crash codes (0x000000C4, 0x000000C9, 0x000000E6, 0x000001C4) as these codes are typically anticipated and intentional crashes triggered during problem investigation due to the use of Driver Verifier.
These filtered crash event will still, however, be shown in the specific agent computer issue event history.
- Warranty information for HP devices is now available
Applixure will now get warranty information for HP computers, if available, from the HP's warranty information API. This now complements the existing warranty retrieval for Dell and Lenovo computers and together these three vendors cover the vast majority of Windows devices that are using the Applixure service.
Please note that due to certain limitations set by the HP for the warranty lookup, there might be in some cases a slight delay in warranty information becoming shown in the Agent data in Applixure for new HP computers added to the Applixure service. In general, the warranty information, if found for the device, should be available within 24h on the agent's first appearance in the Applixure environment.
- Number of fixes for miscellaneous technical issues and minor functionality improvements.