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Server Configuration Utility – Power to the IT Administrator

Posted by Jon Allsop on October 24, 2013  /   Posted in Desktop Management, DesktopNow, General  /  0 comments

The Server Configuration Utility has been part of the AppSense desktop suite since 2008, assisting IT Administrators in the setup and configuration of Management Server and Personalization Servers. However up until now it has only offered a graphical user interface to configure or monitor an individual server. As larger and larger customers deploy DesktopNow servers in greater numbers across multiple data centers, we decided to look at how we could empower them with automation.

Here at AppSense we understand that logging onto a Windows Server to carry out administrative tasks is getting less and less acceptable. Enterprise operations strive for the following goals:

  1. Consistency and repeatability to avoid issues introduced by human error
  2. Elastic scalability allowing capacity to be increased or decreased to best fit the demand
  3. The need to monitor the health of the 24×7 data center so that corrective measures can be taken as soon as issues arise

We are very pleased to announce that in the new release of the AppSense Management Center 8.5 we have introduced support for Windows PowerShell 3.0 scripting into the Server Configuration Utility. Tasks such as the setup or configuration of the server, or the creation or upgrade of the database can now be automated for multiple servers. Customers who are expanding their use of a Management Server due to an increased number of endpoints can now clone an existing server, add it to the server farm and connect it to a database. This brings a huge amount of power to the IT Administrator.

To better fit with enterprise requirements for intelligence and insight into server state, we’ve introduced a new server status field including states such as:

  • Started and Stopped
  • An Unconfigured state when the server has not been setup
  • A Warning state when one of the components is not running as expected.

PowerShell Cmdlets such as Start-ApsServer and Stop-ApsServer allow transitions between these states, and the HTTP error codes have been reviewed to ensure they represent the state of the server.

PowerShell’s remoting functionality also makes it extremely easy to query the health of multiple servers. A single script can determine the state of all Management Servers, in different sites, or determine if any server differs in configuration from when it was first setup.

powershell, server configuration management

Make sure you check out the AppSense Server Configuration Scripting Guide, which is packed full of examples, and is available within the Guides folder of the DesktopNow software.

And that’s not all that’s new in AppSense Management Center 8.5. There is also support for the latest Microsoft desktop and server operating systems such as Windows 8 & 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 & 2012 R2. To complement the new PowerShell scripting, support for Minimal Server Interface for Windows Server 2012 is also included. To learn more about this release, please read the document What’s New in AppSense Management Center 8.5.

This new feature offers a sneak preview to customers using Personalization Server, which will see PowerShell scripting introduced in the AppSense Environment Manager 8.5 release.

About Jon Allsop

Jon has worked at AppSense for over 8 years and is the Technical Lead for Performance Manager and Management Center. He is responsible for the technical direction and quality of the product, ensuring technical consistency across the department, and assisting with Performance Manager and Management Center topics across the company.

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