Since my previous review of version 4.1 of APPDNA’s AppTitude a lot has changed. You can read my previous review: Here
Since that review APPDNA has been bought by Citrix. Great move on the part of Citrix in my point of view, it compliments their solutions very well and having used the tool for a few years now I can speak for it’s huge benefits to the application migration effort. With this acquisition has come a complete overhaul of the look and navigation in the tool. If you didn’t use any previous version you won’t notice, if you did use a previous version it will take a little getting use to but ultimately once you’ve got it down you should fly through it. I like the ability to use a drop down box from the report page to change the application report you want to see, it use to be a bit counter productive to have to go back a couple of screens to get to a different application. The orange and black UI is no more…I actually like the orange and black, I thought it made the product standout but I guess Citrix tend to go for a more slick, professional look. But it works anyways and the Dashboard feel works. You’ll notice the change right away, everything has been rebranded. Also no more AppTitude as you can see below. The application itself is now called AppDNA.
For the sake of those that may not be familiar with the product I’ll give a very brief description. This tool can be used to do a static analysis of your applications. So if you’ve used tools such as SysTrack or ACT those tools do a dynamic check of your applications and those tools are useful for rationalization purposes in that they can give you an idea of application usage and what exactly is out in your environment. AppDNA does not do that, AppDNA allows you to import in all of your installers e.g. MSI, SFT, .Exe or other legacy installers and it will analyze the contents of the application and generate a series of reports telling you if your application should work on your desired platform be it Windows 7 x64 or x86, Citrix XenApp, Server 2008 R2, APP-V etc. Currently it does not analyze for VMWare ThinApp but hopefully this will be coming in the future. The detail of the reports is amazing. The tool can tell you exactly what file might cause an issue without you requiring to test and then try to figure out where the problem is. The cost saving in time alone makes purchasing the use of this tool a no brainer.
Now I don’t want to over sell the product. Note that the reports generated use an Red, Amber, Green status for issues reported e.g. Green: Should work without issue, Amber: Should work with some changes, Red: Requires change or rework. The detail of the report is great and all but you still require a bit of sense yourself when using the tool. You should know what your plan of action for the certain issues which might crop up will be. I would suggest running through 30 or 40 apps through it and seeing the common issues and then doing up your own decision matrix. You can then use this matrix to change the rules of the tool. So for example if you decide you don’t want to virtualize Office Add-ins you can change that rule to Red so you’ll know right away that application should not be virtualized for your environment. Thus the tool streamlines your entire application migration project. Oh, also did I mention that you can use the tool to automatically virtualize your applications!?!? I won’t go into too much about this but if you are interested in that piece you suggest trying the Citrix site.
So back to what I like about this new version. The tool now integrates with several different technologies such Active Directory, SCCM and SysTrack! You can feed your data directly from these tools to further streamline the process. Further to this, if you’ve got something unique like a different distribution method in use, you could use the AppDNA Production Manager to leverage a virtual machine to carry out the import of these applications. E.g. You might use something like Enteo or Managesoft, you could have a VM with connectivity to these and customize a setup so AppDNA connects to the VM and does a snapshot of the installations from those tools. Ensuring any customizations you may have made as part of your OSD or EScript is captured, eliminating the need for you to wade through scripts to figure out exactly what needs to be monitored. The SysTrack information can be useful for determining which applications to import in and perhaps allow you to group your reports accordingly e.g. Core Applications, Middleware, IT, Finance etc. SCCM allows you to tie in with SCCM to import directly from there. The tool is really maturing!
Below you can see an example of the options with SysTrack not there as it’s on a different screen:
Another pretty cool feature is the inclusion of the Forward Path reporting. If you are going to a VDI solution this could be very useful. It allows you to basically take the information that’s already been generated e.g. complexity of applications etc. and inject in some of your own variables. A report gets generated giving you a break down of the effort and cost of the move. It’s pretty cool stuff and is a nice addition to the old Effort Calculator which still appears.
I also like the simplified setup for Production Manager. Setting up the VM to connect with AppDNA and do the reporting has never been easier. In older versions you would have to setup Loopback adapters on your VM and base machine, add a common user etc. Now the tool integrates nicely with VMWare Workstation and requires an agent setup on the VM and the AppDNA client pointed to it. It works great!
I continue to like this product. I had said in my previous review that some feel threatened by the tool and that they should view it as an aide rather than a replacement. As time goes by I see that to be more and more true. The tool can be used to help Project Managers, Desktop support teams and even application developers alike. It enables you to do the jobs to the best of your abilities and eases the concerns of an application not working because you couldn’t do a full test due to being unfamiliar with the app or not having full access. Go get this, you won’t regret it.