Unlike regular, locally run applications deployed on your devices, Applixure cannot automatically monitor and show web -based applications and their usage in its software -related reports. This is because web applications are not in technical sense installed as local executable files that could be picked up by the Applixure Agent and seen in the list of running processes on operating system.
Web application in this case is being defined as a software, that is typically run inside your Internet browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc.) by visiting a particular web address and logging on to it, and using the software's [i.e. web application] interface solely within the browser's [i.e. the local application] interface. Or the client to the web application functionality could alternatively be some other locally installed application besides Internet browser, such as SAP Client accessing SAP backend servers - on local network or on the "cloud" - where part or even significant part of the software's functionality resides in.
To aid being able to monitor these web applications that cannot be automatically detected by Applixure's Agent, specific web application functionality exists in the Applixure by way of Web application profiles.
These profiles define the necessary technical parameters for Applixure Agent to be able to monitor if particular device and its user(s) are accessing the web application, and be able to account the usage much in the same way as normal Applixure's software usage level monitoring works. The difference here is that you will need to create this profile per each web application you want enable Applixure to monitor, with keeping in mind that certain [technical] limitations do exists what web applications Applixure Agent is able to monitor. These limitations mainly exists because Applixure Agent is not going inside any browser process or other application software to so the monitoring within, but rather has to do monitoring external to those client applications to web application.
As a end result however, when the profiles are created and enabled for your Applixure environment, is that those web applications will automatically appear in your software list in Applixure as they are being used by the users of the computers where Applixure Agent is installed, such as the Lucidchart in the example screenshot below:
Currently, web application monitoring is only supported for Windows devices.
Creating new web application profile
You can access the list of currently defined profiles in the Settings / Environment settings / Web application profiles -screen in the Applixure Web UI.
You can add new Web application profile from the bottom of the list by clicking on Add new web application profile -button. This will open a editing screen for settings necessary parameters for Applixure to monitor web application.
Name, version and vendor
Strictly speaking, only the name for the profile (and hence the web application shown in software list) is required, alongside with at least one address to monitor. The name, version and vendor information has the same purpose as for traditionally installed software products inventoried by Applixure from devices, but typically web applications do not have set version per se.
It should be noted however, since these three pieces of information are used to form the actual identifier for particular web application, they cannot be changed later on for the profile but if you need to change them, you will have to create new profile with updated name, version or vendor name.
This is comparable to traditionally installed software that gets inventoried by the Applixure; if any of these pieces change then it is new software product from Applixure's perspective and in the listings as well.
Next information that must be defined is that actual (web) addresses wherein the web application being created is accessed from by the browser or some other client software.
As Applixure Agent is not - like stated earlier - going inside any other software to try and monitor the access to the addresses within that software, you can only define those addresses at host, fully qualified domain name (FDQN) or IP addresses (IPv4 or IPv6) -level.
You can set any number of entries here for the profile, but typically web applications are being accessed only using certain one address - internal network or external such as Internet - such as app.applixure.com or myserver or what ever the address may be. As Agents are monitoring accesses from the devices themselves, using Intranet addresses here is perfectly acceptable as the names or IP addresses do not need to be resolvable for the world at large.
Note however that each entry needs to have the address and [TCP] port that the web application is listening on by using notation of:
For regular browser-accessed web application cases, the port is likely either 443 (HTTPS) or 80 (HTTP). For convenience, you can also paste an URL from your browser's address bar into here, which will automatically be parsed and required components detected.
Once necessary information is filled in, you can save the profile with Save and close -button.
Limitations for monitoring
As already referred to above there exists some technical limitations on what and when Applixure Agent can monitor for web applications since we operate outside the application doing the actual access.
- For regular web applications that are typically used from browser, web application must be uniquely be found from the defined address(es) and thus cannot only be able to be distinguished by path part part in the URL.
Concretely, this means that if there is a difference between what gets served to the user by https://app.example.com/path/to/app and https://app.example.com/another/path or even https://app.example.com/,Applixure web application monitoring is not able to tell these apart.
- Similarly, if the same exact IP address into which particular name-based address resolves to hosts different web sites/applications (so-called virtual hosting), such as www.example.com and app.example.com both resolving to IP 192.168.1.1, Applixure web application monitoring is not able to tell these apart.
- Public -facing large Internet services/apps typically use CDN (content delivery networks) as the front for their actual application services, which means that when Applixure Agent is resolving the FDQN names (such as app.example.com) to actual IP addresses to know when user is accessing that service, it might be that there are very large number of IP addresses resolved for that address, which are also constantly changing from client device's point-of-view as name to IP lookup (DNS) returns only subset of all possible addresses. This may result in a situation where either a) Applixure Agent fails to see usage of web application as the addresses resolved by the browser is different what Agent knows about, or b) access of some other totally different web service that is partially sharing the same set of IP addresses used by CDN results in "false positive" indication of web application usage.
- Additionally, sometimes some of the addresses used by large public -facing Internet services for their web application portion - one that you may want to monitor usage of - and addresses they use for their APIs or resources such as scripts embedded to 3rd party websites may overlap. In these circumstances, users visiting any sites or other web applications utilizing these resources may cause incorrectly detected usage for the web application while user was not directly using such web application.
- Applixure Agent is not able to differentiate between two different web application profiles if conflicting (i.e. identical) addresses are defined for both of them. This can cause misattribution of web application usage to wrong web application.
- Other than TCP -based services are not supported by the web application monitoring.
How long it takes to get web application usage information?
As web application monitoring is based on a pre-defined profiles manually created for each web application, creating such profile won't be immediately in effect for each device on your environment. This is because Applixure Agent must first have the knowledge of the list of profiles available before it can start monitoring for those web applications.
Each Applixure Agent refreshes this information twice per one day (in addition to immediately after start up the Agent's service) so expect a delay of 12-24 hours for information on new web applications in the reported data, provided of course that users are actually using those web applications in the first place.