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AppSense Makes the Most of Windows Servers

U.K.-based AppSense firmly believes that enterprises could use its application performance management software. What makes it so confident? The software was originally developed for Dresdner Bank in London in the late 1990s, when AppSense served as a systems integrator and a development arm for an application service provider.

In 1999, AppSense commercialized the performance software, which has now grown into AppSense Performance Suite 2.0, a four part suite announced this week. And late last winter, AppSense was spun out by its parent as an independent company backed by $40 million in VC funding.

Now AppSense is hoping to capitalize on the move to consolidate servers. Its suite can be used to gauge overall server usage, and to maximize the use of a new or existing server infrastructure. AppSense claims it can increase either the users, or number of applications on each server. “You don’t have to throw more servers to get more performance, that approach is complex to manage,” said Anthony Bolland, CEO of AppSense.

The suite includes:

  • Application Manager, a tool that prevents users from downloading or installing unauthorized applications, scripts, and executables. This tool also features thread-based throttling, a patented technology that controls applications at the thread level.
  • Performance Manager, which controls how memory and processor power is allocated, right down to the thread level.
  • Optimizer, which optimizes each application to make most efficient use of server resources such as virtual memory, in contrast to the more granular optimization handled by Application Manager.
  • Server Based toolkit, which simplifies admin tasks such as managing log-ins, provides status reports, and can lock down certain functions.

    The apple of Bolland’s eye is clearly thread throttling. “You have to control apps at the thread level. One thread can consume all your CPU,” said Bolland, pointing out that even a large macro can cripple a CPU.

    While there is no special technical hook, AppSense sells mainly through Citrix resellers, and the vast majority of customers are server-taxing Citrix MetaFrame customers.

    AppSense offers a two-day course to authorized administrators. Once that is taken, admins can take a one day course that qualifies them to use AppSense to do an overall server performance audit.

    AppSense is looking to broaden into Linux and Web services markets.

    The entire suite is $3,295 per server. Independent server components range from $495 to $1,495 per server.

  • About the Author

    Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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