The goal of this webinar was to help our users master the Application Usage feature, which is, according to our yearly survey, the second most popular SysKit feature. During the demo, we showed the SysKit reports you should be auditing to find out which applications are being used and when across your servers. Also, we demonstrated how to track performance status and license compliance for all your published applications.
Table of contents
The webinar was led by Silvio Rahle, product marketing manager, and questions were answered by Frane Borozan, SysKit product owner.
Application usage - who, when and what
The problem starts with numerous users connecting to your servers on a daily basis. Each user creates one or more sessions and runs multiple applications in every session. Using that calculation, it is obvious that in the administration of large environments with an increasing number of users, the big problem is scalable monitoring.
To keep large or growing systems under control, you need a proper monitoring tool – SysKit. It enables you to get a complete overview of when and which applications are being used across your workstations, servers or XenApp environments, and you can track performance status and license compliance for each of those applications.
With the User Application Timeline report, you can track which user used a specific application and when. You can check start and end times, as well as the total usage time of an application during a specific session. To get a wider and more detailed overview of application usage in your system, you can use the Application Usage Summary report.
The Most Used Applications report allows you to determine the most frequently used applications. You can filter results depending on a specified user, specific server or specific time period. This report is important, as you should tweak your environment to accomodate the everyday habits of your users. And that means allocating resources to the most used applications.
Application Instances set of reports allow you to see how many instances of a specific application that a specific user is running. This helps you determine which applications and users are potentially using the most resources on your computers. The number of application instances is also important because some applications are licensed to run only one instance at a time. By tracking application instances, you can prevent potential violations of license agreements.
Application license compliance
Problem number one: overlicensing, a common occurance in large-scale systems. Simply put, when you have more application licenses than your users are actually consuming, you are throwing money away. Unfortunately, that is something almost 30% of enterprises do, according to 2016 IT business research.
Now, on the other hand, we have a second problem: underlicensing. If you don’t have enough licenses for the everyday needs of your users, you risk having multiple users on a single licence, and that is, in most cases, a license agreement violation followed by a fine.
But have no fear, SysKit allows you to easily detect overlicensing and underlicensing, analyze usage data and plan future license purchases! You can learn more about Software License Management in our blog.
Two of the most useful license reports are License Compliance report, which tells you the number of available, consumed and remaining licenses per application, and Client License Compliance report, which allows you to track client licenses and comes in handy in Citrix and RDS environments.
New monitored licenses can be added to SysKit, and existing licenses can be easily managed. Because software license management is an ongoing process, it is wise to schedule these license reports to be sent regularly to your email.
Application performance status
As already mentioned, each connected user runs various applications, and each application uses its fair share of system resources. And many users running many applications are bound to put a strain on your system's performance.
With the help of SysKit, you can easily track all the applications running and the resources they're spending and keep them in check.
The Application Performance reports enable you to track the performance values of all the applications run by remote users, in real time and historically.
In the Real-Time report, you can track CPU, memory, disk reads, disk writes and IOPS for each running application. The values shown in the Real-Time report are updated every 60 seconds and are grouped by computer as a default. Also, you can right-click any running application and stop it manually in case it's hogging too many resources.
In the History report, you can see the average performance values over the selected time frame, and for each performance counter, you can visualize detailed variations with the help of graphs.
Q: Can I monitor users per device CALs, and can I identify the users and devices?
A: For every application you have in your license management reports, you can drill down to detect the exact users who are consuming licenses for it in a selected time frame. The same goes for the devices because SysKit connects each user with the device he's using. You can see thatin more detailed under the Network Traffic->IP Addreses and Clients.
Q: Can I disable some applications in SysKit?
A:If you go to File->Manage->Applications, you can find any application SysKit detected and disable it. If you disable a specific application, it will no longer be visible in SysKit reports.
Q: What is the impact on the monitored servers?
A: This mostly depends on the number of servers, so if you have more than 20-30, we recommend using a dedicated server with a 4-core CPU and 8GB of RAM. It also depends on the number of users connecting to your servers because extracting the performance data from 100+ users requires dedicated resources.
Q: How can I get a list of all installed applications?
A: Go to Inventory->Software->Programs, and you will find the list of all applications installed on your servers with related data about version, publisher, install date and location. You can also take a log/snapshot of installed applications on a specific date and time and later compare it with installed applications at some point in the future. That way, you can easily detect changes in software configuration.
Q: Where is the SysKit data stored?
A: SysKit comes with an embedded database that is suited for trying the application, but if you have more than a few servers, we recommend the dedicated SQL server on which the database with SysKit data will be stored. Roughly, SysKit is able to generate 20-30 MBs of data per server per month.
If you’re interested in finding out more about SysKit, contact us and schedule a personalized demo. We’d be happy to provide more details about how your server environment can be easily monitored and audited with SysKit.