As many of you know (and may not yet realize), AppDNA is available as part of Platinum.
Many think AppDNA is just for “letting you know if your apps work with an OS.” AppDNA is for that, yes, and so much more.
Today, we will explore AppDNA and you will find AppDNA extends way beyond just OS compatibility validation. We will explore a few of the key capabilities and also what the different status indicators (green, amber and red) actually mean. After reading this blog post, you should have the basic understanding required to start using AppDNA and its core capabilities to the height of its advantages. At a minimum, you will understand how AppDNA would fit and facilitate your application lifecycle management processes.
First things first. Yes, AppDNA will analyze your apps and provide you guidance on OS compatibility. This is the part everyone is most familiar with. AppDNA provides you this guidance in the form of RAG status – Red, Amber and Green. Let’s start with understanding what these indicators mean.
As much as we would love to diagnose apps with basic ‘it will work’ or ‘it won’t work’ outputs, apps just will never make it that easy on us.
Today when we make any change in our environment (be it OS change, patch Tuesday, application being added or application being upgraded), we invariable end up testing almost everything. Why? Because we aren’t sure what might be affected by this change. Worse yet (from an efficiency and focus perspective), we usually allocate our test coverage and our time equally (or mostly equally) across all areas with respect to this change.
Why is this bad? Because we are just fishing in hopes we find the areas potentially broken. And we almost never find them all during UAT (user acceptance testing). Thus, some of the issues make it into production.
How great would it be if we knew what areas (aka what apps or what functions in an app) are the most likely candidates for a negative impact from any change (again OS, patches/upgrades, apps, etc)?
This knowledge would enable us to focus our attention and time more on the areas of likely impact and breakage and spend less time on the areas that are lower risk of breakage. Then we could smartly allocate our time and effort to the UAT process. Better yet, what if we not only knew when an app might be broken, but knew why and even the remediation? Before anyone had to spend a minute of testing effort, we’d already know what and why with regards to broken apps.
Sounds awesome, right?
That is exactly what AppDNA does for you. AppDNA’s RAG status and its reports provide just that. It provides you the likely areas impacted or broken by any change or any deployment model (aka OS and apps combinations). And it even goes on to provide a sense of how severe the issue is and what needs to be done to correct this issue.
Green means the likelihood of your apps being broken as a result of the OS and app combination or the result of the changes being implemented is fairly low. This means you have the choice of not spending as much time on that area with UAT. Amber and Red indicate growing severity and likelihood of potential issues or flat-out failures.
In fact, this is one area most commonly misunderstood about AppDNA. Just because it’s Green doesn’t mean all is perfect, it just means it is very likely to be fine. On the other end, Red doesn’t necessarily mean it’s guaranteed not to work, it just means there is something that can severely limit this application.
As you can see, what these RAG statuses really do for you is enable you to be predictive and focused on the areas in any given deployment for UAT testing. Now you can allocate more time and attention to the Red and Amber areas and less against the Green status apps. It’s all about taking the guesswork out of what and where to do testing.
This all enables you to focus more time and attention on the trickier apps. And yes, as mentioned, AppDNA does not just tell you what is wrong, but gives you the details about why the status is triggered. It might be just an MST that needs to be created (AppDNA does that for you) or perhaps a link to a Shim on Microsoft’s site.
The amount of detail provided about any failures in AppDNA is in-depth enough to even fix the app itself. For example, in the case of in-house developed apps, AppDNA gives enough technical detail for your developers to figure out the root issue such as an API call that’s been deprecated from an OS release.
Some other areas I wanted to cover a bit more in depth (some of which I alluded to earlier) is around what AppDNA is able to analyze and validate for you. I mentioned OS, patches (aka patch Tuesday), apps and upgrades for apps as a few of the key areas we analyze.
Yes, you can use AppDNA to analyze Patch Tuesday patches and determine which apps are impacted by these. You can also manage application dependencies such as when App A and App C depends on App B. AppDNA will guide you when you upgrade App B to determine any impacts on this relationship and dependencies.
Another area I will mention is app profiling, where AppDNA can capture details about the runtime behaviors for CPU, I/O reads, bytes used per second and memory footprints. This capability gives you a view of the basic metrics and resource impacts an application would have.
Next is our App-V integration.
AppDNA can not only validate an app’s compatibility with App-V, but could also sequence the apps with Microsoft’s sequencer in an automated fashion. And while we can’t promise it will sequence every app perfectly, it would certainly take care of the easier apps and let you focus on the apps that need more hand holding when sequencing.
Last but not least, let’s cover the ability to capture and create attributes with the apps in AppDNA. This allows you to add details to the properties of an app like business owner, license expiration or maintenance contract status. You may even attach documents such that you could store the document outlining install and configuration processes. In fact, this happens automatically when you use Install/Capture to import apps.
Hopefully this has piqued your interest in AppDNA and you are ready to start diving in.
Here are some additional links to help you build up your knowledge and understanding of AppDNA.
- Free Intro to AppDNA training course
- AppDNA 7.8 Docs
- Resources and case studies
- Video on importing apps and OS into AppDNA
This should get you going with AppDNA and to start realizing the value of AppDNA to improve your application lifecycle management processes.