AirWatch performance and usability concerns with antivirus software

We have discovered instances where antivirus software may interfere with the performance of AirWatch, causing issues accessing and navigating the AirWatch Console as well as general performance issues across any AirWatch applications.

Symptoms

  • Issues logging into or remaining logged into the AirWatch Console.
  • Long load times for pages in the AirWatch Console.
  • Delays in receiving commands, profiles, apps, or policies on enrolled devices.
  • High performance utilization on any AirWatch application servers.
  • The AirWatch services may not start.

Resolution

We have seen in these cases that disabling the antivirus software temporarily, or adding exceptions to the scanning process, can restore functionality.  If these symptoms are experienced and the use of antivirus scanning during affected intervals is confirmed, the following steps can be taken to reduce the performance impact of antivirus software on AirWatch applications without completely disabling antivirus protection:

  • Lower the scanning interval (e.g. Full Scan only on weekends and scanning for new definitions only during the week). 
  • Disable scanning of incoming connections and other “real-time” scanning options.
  • Add exception directories to the antivirus software to never scan or only scan during off-hours.
    • For AirWatch, the typical path is E:\AirWatch. However, this may have changed during your deployment.
    • If excluding the entire AirWatch directory is not an option, exclude only the AirWatch Logs folder.
    • Follow Microsoft’s recommendations for antivirus exclusions.  Some recommendations can be found here and here.

When exceptions are made, it is important to ensure that any AirWatch application servers are only used for their intended purpose.  As an example, additional files should not be downloaded or used on the server unless they pertain directly to the AirWatch application use-case, and web browsers should not be used except for AirWatch-related purposes.

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