About three weeks back, we released the App Orchestration technology as part of the Cloud Provider Pack.  App orchestration enables Citrix Service Providers to manage multi-tenant, multi-farm deployments of apps and desktops as a service efficiently. To get you jump-started with app orchestration, I am starting a 10-part blog series to which key engineers of the app orchestration team will be contributing over the next few weeks.

When you launch the App Studio web console, you’ll see a number of new concepts and terms. In the first blog of this series, I’d like to explain what these new concepts are.

Workload Catalog: A workload catalog is a collection of identical XenApp session hosts i.e., typically machines created from a single image (OS + XenApp + the apps to be delivered). The machines in a workload catalog are not joined to any farm – app orchestration uses the free machines from the catalog and joins them to a specific farm when needed. A workload catalog has an Active Directory organizational unit (OU) associated with it and machines placed in that OU become members of that catalog as long as they are identical.

Farm Catalog: A farm catalog is a collection of identical XenApp controller deployments. A controller deployment consists of one or more XenApp
controller servers configured to point to an IMA data store. For e.g., an app orchestration deployment could consist of 2 farm catalogs:

  • Silver Tier farm catalog: Each farm in this catalog has 2 XenApp controllers configured to point to a SQL IMA data store.
  • Gold Tier farm catalog: Each farm in this catalog has 3 XenApp controllers configured to point to a mirrored SQL IMA data store.

Like a workload catalog, a farm catalog has an Active Directory OU associated with it and controller deployments placed in that OU become members of that catalog as long as they are identical in configuration.

In order to deliver apps or desktops to a tenant, app orchestration picks a free (i.e., unallocated) controller deployment from a farm catalog and unallocated machine(s) from a workload catalog to create a farm.

Advertisement: An advertisement represents an app or desktop offering from a service provider. As part of creating an advertisement, a service provider can specify the level of multi-tenant isolation required for that app/desktop as well as associate it with a specific farm catalog.  These two parameters play an important role in determining the price at which app/desktop is offered as a service to tenants. For e.g.,

  • Microsoft Word 2010 with session-based isolation offered from a Silver tier farm
  • SAP with a server-based isolation offered from a Gold tier farm

A bundle of advertisements is represented as a user plan in CloudPortal Services Manager and offered to tenants for self-service purchase.

Tenant: A Tenant is a customer of a service provider and is typically on boarded into the CSP environment using a portal like CloudPortal Services Manager – which creates the appropriate objects in Active Directory (OUs, user/group accounts) as well as pushes the tenant info into the app orchestration system. App orchestration allows apps/desktops to be associated directly with tenants and it automatically tracks resources used by a tenant.

Subscription: A subscription is created when a tenant subscribes to an advertisement for an app/desktop. It is associated with a workload (defined below) and user accounts from a tenant. A subscription maps to a published app object in a XenApp farm.

Workload: A workload is a collection of servers (from a specific workload catalog) that are designated to host app/desktop subscriptions. A workload is associated with a specific XenApp farm and it may be shared between tenants or dedicated for a tenant – depending upon the multi-tenant isolation level of the subscriptions it is hosting. A workload maps to a Worker Group object in a XenApp farm and an Active Directory OU with which policies for the workload servers can be associated.

Hopefully, these new terms make a lot more sense now! Over the next few weeks, we will be posting a series of articles on app orchestration as shown below:

To learn more about app orchestration and the future enhancements we are working on, be sure to attend the SUM215 break-out session and please stop by the Citrix booth.