While most of our competitors can only support either user or workstation associations, OpDesk application associations can be associated to both users and computers. Associations can be created for a wide variety of identities including the following:
- AD user account
- AD user group
- AD user container
- AD computer
- AD computer group
- AD computer container
- local computer group
- local dynamic computer group
When an agent comes online or refreshes its associations it goes about determining what identities it belongs to and then determines the unique identifier (GUID) for each identity. The agent then looks at its current distribution point to find any association (.assoc) files that are named the GUID name for each identity. Inside each matching association file the agent can find 0 to many associated applications. This makes our refresh cycle one of the fastest in the market. When an administrator associates an application to a new user, that user’s (GUID).assoc file will get updated with the new application and copied out to all of its assigned distribution points. The agents are then notified of the file change as they are changed on the distribution point telling them to add/refresh or remove the association on the agent. The agent relies on a couple mechanisms to determine when one or more association files have been changed:
- File system watcher – This Microsoft technology allows a process to monitor a folder (and subfolders) for changes. When a file changes the registered process receives a notification. We prefer this mechanism because it causes less network traffic over polling and we get notified immediately when one or more association file changes. The downside to this technology is that it doesn’t work 100% of the time on networks that are not 100% stable. We have added code to recover from these situations, but it’s still possible an agent may miss a change to an association file; this is why we also rely on Polling.
- Polling – While the File System Watcher technology is the preferred mechanism to use, the administrator can also turn on traditional polling to cause the agent to periodically go check the server to see if any association files have changed for its identities. Although polling may cause more network traffic it tends to be more reliable on networks that have high latency or other connectivity properties. Polling can be configured on the agent local policy page under Policies. Be careful to not configure your polling interval to be too frequent, several thousand agents all checking for file changes too frequently can cause a lot of network traffic!
- Manual refresh – An end user can right click on the “OpDesk Resource Manager” system tray icon and select “Refresh Associations” to cause the agent to immediately check its associations.