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Flexera App Portal 2016

Flexera App Portal 2016 boxshot.

Flexera App Portal 2016

Published By:  Flexera Software Ltd.


The Universal Enterprise App Store for Desktop and Mobile Apps

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Description
Features
Benefits
System Req.

A universal enterprise app store for desktop, mobile, and cloud applications that enables IT to maintain the control necessary to ensure compliance with licensing agreements, product use rights, and corporate policy while reducing enterprise software costs and maximizing software usage. App Portal addresses the business need to control the distribution of approved and authorized software and the user’s expectations of a consumer-driven experience for accessing approved applications in the workplace. Automating one-time software requests and enabling self-service operating system deployments saves hours of valuable IT staff time.

Universal App Store for PC, Mac, Cloud, and Mobile

Ensure control and efficient self-service delivery of approved applications by enabling employees to request PC, Mac, cloud, and mobile apps from a single enterprise store.

Tailor the enterprise app store experience for employees so they see only items they are able to request and are provided alternative items and price allowing them to make informed decisions. In addition, they can search for apps and even get recommendations for installation to other devices, giving employees the ability to request an application once and have it deployed to a desktop, tablet and phone at the same time. With support for Apple iOS and Android public store and internal apps, as well as desktop and cloud applications, an express checkout process automates deployment. App Portal offers administrators extensive control over who can request items from the online store: software requests may come directly from the business user, requested by the user’s manager, or by a third party like the help desk.

Automates Software Approvals and Governance

Automated approvals are flexible and can use the turnkey App Portal approval process or be delegated to utilize established approval workflows in an existing ITSM implementation.

Make approvals conditional based on security groups, Organizational Units, Active Directory Properties, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager or Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite collection membership for both users and computers. App Portal leverages Active Directory data to identify the requester's business manager and route requests appropriately. Dynamically determine the appropriate approval process based on Active Directory attributes such as department, office, or organizational unit. App Portal supports a variety of approval routing structures.

Flexible Routing. Specify multiple levels of approval with multiple approvers per level. The solution supports both linear — that is, all approvers in a list, in order — and pool approvers — any single approver from a pool can approve the request. Administrators can also set a custom status for each approval level to support various functions within the enterprise, including security review, purchasing and compatibility.

Conditional Approvals. Make approval levels conditional based on such factors as cost, license availability, security groups, Organizational Units, Active Directory Properties and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager or Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite collection membership for both users and computers.

Email Approval Notification. Send email with direct links so approvers can get detailed information for making the right decision to : auto approve, approve, reject, or review each request.

Delegate Approvals to IT Service Management Systems. App Portal can leverage established workflows in existing ServiceNow or BMC Remedy ITSM implementations.

Reclaims Unused Software to Reduce Software Spending

Eliminate software waste by recycling unused licenses and returning them to the available license pool.

Installation evidence and usage data from FlexNet Manager Suite powers My Apps and notifies users with alerts and a list of unused applications installed on their device with the option to keep them or surrender applications so the license can be returned to the available license pool. Users have the option of keeping unused applications or surrendering the license. When the user surrenders the license, App Portal uninstalls the application and returns the license to the license pool. In addition App Portal supports a flexible software leasing model in which business users lease an application for a specified period of time. The application is reclaimed and returned to the license pool when the lease expires.

Keeps Employees Informed of Costs and Usage

Give employees one place to view license cost and usage information for applications installed on their devices and involve them in Software License Optimization. The Software Policy Score informs employees how well applications installed on their device comply with corporate policies.

App Portal leverages application installation and usage data from Flexera Software FlexNet Manager Platform to power My Apps. Business users increase their score by resolving policy alerts listed in the Current Alerts section, which include applications installed with no proof of purchase or applications that are unused. This unique capability assists IT in reclaiming software licenses and encourages business users to be good corporate citizens, making them part of the solution, not part of the problem.

  • Installed Software – This normalized list of software installed on the device includes information on app cost and usage as well as title, publisher and version.
  • Current Alerts – This list of unresolved software policy conflicts for apps on the device gives users information that helps them improve the Software Policy Score
  • Resolved Alerts – Each time an employee resolves an alert, the Software Policy Score improves for the device.

Automatically Checks for License Availability

Effectively maintains continual software license compliance each time an employee requests an application.

When an employee orders from the enterprise app store, App Portal displays asset data from Flexera Software FlexNet Manager Platform, including the number of licenses owned, how many copies are in use and how many licenses are currently available. App Portal starts by evaluating Product Use Rights to determine whether or not a license would be consumed by the request. If a license would be consumed, App Portal checks to see if a license is available it is reserved during the approval and fulfillment processes, ensuring that the software can be installed quickly on the user's computer once all approvals are obtained. App Portal displays an accurate count of available licenses at the time a user requests a new application from the enterprise app store by utilizing the Enterprise Group Assignment data defined in the FlexNet Manager Platform. This capability enables license reservation and consumption based on group ownership and permits the roll-up of license quantities for specific groups (cost centers, business units or locations). Enterprise Group Assignment helps enforce accurate license positions at a global level for compliance and at a group level to support cost assignment to lines of business.

Works Seamlessly with Deployment Systems

Present a single App store even when multiple software deployment systems are managing client devices across the enterprise.

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Integration
App Portal supports all deployment types providing fast delivery and real-time status monitoring of Applications, Packages, Task Sequences, OSD and App-V. App Portal supports both user centric and computer centric deployment models to meet all your deployment and use case scenarios.

Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite (CMS) Integration
App Portal supports both Managed Software Delivery and classic Advertisements. App Portal supports both Managed Software Delivery policies and classic Advertisements providing fast delivery and real-time status monitoring. App Portal supports both user centric and computer centric deployment models.

VMware AirWatch Mobile Application Management Integration
App Portal supports mobile apps including Apple iOS and Android public store & internally developed apps, and integrates out of the box with VMware AirWatch to deploy mobile apps. Use the same IT controls, such as approvals and workflow for mobile app requests and accelerate app delivery by using AdminStudio to simultaneously add mobile applications to AirWatch and App Portal.

JAMF Software Casper Suite
App Portal supports the deployment of software to managed Mac computers with out of the box integration. By providing a simple, flexible, and scalable framework to work within, adding the Casper Suite helps IT admins maintain, update, and ensure their fleet of Apple devices are running at optimal performance and employees can access software for PCs and Macs in a single universal app store.

Provision Cloud Applications

Employees request cloud applications, like Salesforce.com, Microsoft Office 365 and Box, from the same universal enterprise app store where they get desktop and mobile applications. Provide a single app store experience, simplify the user experience, automate approvals, and automatically provision cloud applications.

Cloud applications are provisioned with the same level of automation as desktop applications. Users are able to search and find the cloud application they need in the same way as they would for desktop and mobile applications.

Show Real Business Value

The App Portal Dashboard displays up-to-date metrics that show how much automating self-service application and OS requests can save an organization.

Maintain Control with Smart Uninstall

Automatically remove applications from devices even when the application has no uninstall program. Smart uninstall coordinates with FlexNet Manager to determine key metadata and creates uninstall commands for applications based on Windows Installer technology.

Works with Leading IT Service Management Systems

App Portal integrates with BMC, ServiceNow, Microsoft Service Manager, and other popular ITSM tools to improve service quality, application delivery, and end user satisfaction.

App Broker for ServiceNow extends the power of the ServiceNow Service Catalog, optimizes software license usage, and enables employees to request applications directly in the ServiceNow Service Portal.

Gain Control over Software License Compliance and Governance

  • Eliminate deploying unlicensed desktop software
  • Get accurate license positions for compliance and cost assignment
  • Measure success and make sound decisions regarding software licensing and usage

Gain Control over Software License Compliance and Governance

  • Eliminate deploying unlicensed desktop software
  • Get accurate license positions for compliance and cost assignment
  • Measure success and make sound decisions regarding software licensing and usage

Gain Control over Software License Compliance and Governance

  • Eliminate deploying unlicensed desktop software
  • Get accurate license positions for compliance and cost assignment
  • Measure success and make sound decisions regarding software licensing and usage

Works with Leading IT Service Management Solutions

App Portal provides an app store interface that works with BMC Remedy, ServiceNow, and other ITSM solutions to maintain control over licensing, and enable automated self-service access to authorized applications employees need to be productive.

Reclaims Unused Software to Reduce Software Spending

Eliminate software waste by recycling unused licenses and returning them to the available license pool.

Installation evidence and usage data from FlexNet Manager Suite powers My Apps and notifies users with alerts and a list of unused applications installed on their device with the option to keep them or surrender applications so the license can be returned to the available license pool. Users have the option of keeping unused applications or surrendering the license. When the user surrenders the license, App Portal uninstalls the application and returns the license to the license pool. In addition App Portal supports a flexible software leasing model in which business users lease an application for a specified period of time. The application is reclaimed and returned to the license pool when the lease expires.

App Portal enterprise app store software requires certain systems configurations in order to function properly. These requirements are exact and if they are not present, it will have negative effects on the installation, operation, and experience of App Portal.

Environment Requirements
Prior to beginning App Portal enterprise app portal software installation, make sure that your environment meets or is able to meet the following requirements:

Active Directory
Microsoft Active Directory is required for App Portal. It is fully supported under Windows Server 2008 R2 or later domains operating at all functional levels.

DNS
If you choose Reverse DNS as a computer discovery method during App Portal installation, a DNS service is required that supports and contains Reverse DNS Zones.

Active Directory User Discovery
Active Directory User Discovery must be enabled in System Center Configuration Manager and/or Altiris Client Management Suite for App Portal to function properly. Additional Active Directory user discovery extensions are also required.

Extend the attributes during the installation or manually using the Active Directory User Discovery method in the System Center Configuration Manager Console and/or Altiris Management Console. Include the following attributes in addition to the existing ones if performing manually:

  • mail
  • department
  • title
  • displayName
  • distinguishedName
  • manager
  • company
  • l (lower case L) (Only enter the letter l!)
  • postalCode
  • sn
  • givenName
  • physicalDeliveryOfficeName

Important: This is only required if you are using standard discovery from System Center Configuration Manager or Altiris. If you are providing a custom SQL script to perform user and computer discovery, these steps are not required.

Caution: The user discoverable attribute displayName is required to be extended in System Center Configuration Manager and/or Altiris Client Management Suite. This needs to be done before the running the App Portal upgrade, or else the user and computer sync process will fail.

Database Software
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 or later

SMTP Compatible Mail System
App Portal requires an SMTP-compatible mail system. App Portal supports local and remote SMTP servers.

Internet Information Server (IIS)
App Portal supports the versions of IIS that are installed with Windows Server 2008 R2 or higher. App Portal is installed into a virtual directory named ESD and accessible using http://alias/ ESD. A DNS A-RECORD must be created to access the site if you wish to use an alias.

Integrated Authentication
App Portal uses a user's current Active Directory credentials to authenticate to IIS/ App Portal.

High Speed Connection
The IIS server should be on the same physical network as the database server, and should be connected at a high speed (greater than or equal to 100 MBit).

Client Requirements
The following are the App Portal client requirements:

Desktop Operating Systems

  • Windows 7 or greater
  • Mac OS X 10.7.x or greater

Note: For deploying software using App Portal, App Portal requires that the device needs to be managed by Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, Symantec Altiris, or Casper.

Mobile Operating Systems

  • Google Android
  • iOS
  • Windows Phone

Note: To deploy mobile apps using App Portal, the device needs to be registered and managed by AirWatch.

Browser

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 or greater - App Portal requires that the client’s web browser be Internet Explorer 9.0 or greater; however Internet Explorer 10 or 11 are preferred for the best experience.
  • Firefox, Chrome - App Portal also supports Firefox and Chrome browsers; however these browsers do not support Active X and therefore will always discover the computer using the Reverse DNS discovery method.

Note: The fall back to ReverseDNS on these browsers is only done if ActiveX is the primary computer discovery method chosen. If the discovery method is set to SCCM, then App Portal will honor that for all browsers

Trusted Sites
The App Portal website must be added to the trusted sites list for Internet Explorer.
For example: http://APPPORTALSERVER
This is very important.

Server Requirements
The following are the server requirements for the App Portal Web Service and the software App Portal installation platform:

App Portal Web Service Installation
The following are the system requirements for the servers where the App Portal Web Service is installed:

Authentication
Windows Authentication

Microsoft .NET Framework
A minimum of Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 is required on all primary sites

IIS
App Portal supports the versions of IIS that are installed with Windows Server 2008 R2 or higher. The IIS Application Server and Web Server roles need to be installed.

ASP.NET
ASP.NET needs to be installed.

For System Center 2007 Configuration Manager, the App Portal Web Service must be installed on every primary site server in order to service the System Center Configuration Manager clients at that site. For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch), the App Portal Web Service is only needed at the CAS or Central site.

Therefore, you are required to run the AppPortalWebServiceSetup.exe on each primary site, confirming the local server name and System Center Configuration Manager SQL Database of the primary site server. A default System Center Configuration Manager Collection called App Portal Collection for Site XXX will be created on each primary site. This collection will be populated as necessary to service the clients that report to that site.

For System Center 2007 Configuration Manager, an advertisement folder called App Portal Advertisements for Site XXX will be created to contain the advertisements created by App Portal.

For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch), folders will be created called App Portal Users For Site XXX and App Portal Computers for site XXX.

App Portal Installation Platform
The App Portal enterprise app store software installation platform must meet the following requirements:

Authentication
Windows Authentication

IIS
App Portal supports the versions of IIS that are installed with Windows Server 2008 R2 or higher. The IIS Application Server and Web Server roles need to be installed.

Operating System
Windows Server 2008 R2 or later

Microsoft .NET Framework
Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.1 is required for App Portal.

ASP.NET
ASP.NET needs to be installed.

Setting Permissions: App Portal Service Account

App Portal requires that you identify an account (App Portal service account) to use for the interaction with SQL and Active Directory. The App Portal service account will require administrative permissions on the client workstations if you wish App Portal to successfully run machine policy evaluation for accelerated software deployments and rerunning advertisements as necessary.

The service account must have Read permission on the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager or Altiris Client Management Suite database in SQL and Read/Write permission on the App Portal database that gets created during the installation process. The Installer Account will attempt to provision the Service Account with DB_DataReader permissions to the SCCM database and DBO permissions to the App Portal database.

Supported Deployment Technologies

App Portal supports the following deployment technologies for software distribution:

  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch)
  • Microsoft System Center 2007 Configuration Manager
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
  • Altiris Client Management Suite 7.1 or higher
  • AirWatch 8.4 (for mobile application deployment)
  • JAMF Casper Suite 9.6.4

The purpose of App Portal’s support for multiple deployment technologies is to enable you to:

  • Provide a seamless end user experience while you are upgrading from older versions of System Center Configuration Manager to System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch).
  • Present a single App Portal instance to your users even if your organization uses both System Center Configuration Manager and Altiris deployment technologies across your enterprise.
  • Provide your users with a universal app store containing both desktop and mobile applications.

You enter the deployment technology connection settings by opening the Deployment tab on the Site Management > Settings view, and then entering the settings on the ConfigMgr, SCCM 2012, SCCM 2007, Altiris, AirWatch, or Casper subtabs.

App Portal can only be connected to multiple servers of the same type if they are set up in a hierarchical relationship, with only the “main' site’s connection information entered on the Site Management >Settings > Deployment tab. The following list describes the acceptable hierarchical relationships for the three deployment technologies:

System Center 2007 Configuration Manager
Central Site > Child Primary Sites
App Portal supports multiple SCCM 2007 Child Primary Sites; however, they need to be in the same hierarchy of the Central Site that is configured in SCCM.

System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch) System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Single Primary Site OR Central Administration Site > Child Primary Sites
For System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch) or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, App Portal / App Broker only communicates with one site: either a Single Primary Site or a Central Administration Site (which in turn replicates data to all Child Primary Sites).

Altiris Client Management Suite 7.1 or higher
Single Primary Site OR Central Site > Child Primary Sites
For Altiris. App Portal only communicates with one site: either a Single Primary Site or a Central Site (which in turn replicates data to all Child Primary Sites).

Important: App Portal does not support connecting to multiple, disconnected deployment servers that are using the same deployment technology and version.

Note: When using System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.1 is required to be installed on the IIS server in order to run the App Portal service and web site. This is not required when using Altiris Client Management Suite.

Supported ITSM Systems
Both App Portal and App Broker include out-of-the-box support for integrating with ITSM systems.

App Portal

App Portal 2016 provides support for the following ITSM systems:

  • ServiceNow
  • BMC Remedy IT Service Management Suite

When App Portal’s ServiceNow or BMC integration is set up, whenever specified actions occur in App Portal (such as when a request is submitted), tickets in the attached ITSM system can be automatically opened or closed, or the status of a ticket can be reported on.

Note: If you would like to integrate with an ITSM system other than ServiceNow or BMC Remedy, you can use App Portal’s reusable framework to connect to and configure integration to that system.

App Broker

With App Broker for ServiceNow 2016, you can publish App Portal catalog items in the ServiceNow catalog. This enables ServiceNow users to request software directly in the ServiceNow self-service portal, with App Portal performing the license check and automated deployment.

Important: To use App Broker for ServiceNow, you must have a ServiceNow MID Server that has access to the App Portal / App Broker REST APIs.

Important: In order for the out-of-the-box App Broker workflow to function, you must have also purchased FlexNet Manager Suite and connected it to App Portal.

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