Hosted services profit is made when implementing and supporting multi-tenant environments is straightforward, elegant and efficient.

Service providers that joined the July Citrix Service Provider Program webinar–detailing the new releases of CloudPortal Services Manager and App Orchestration–had great questions themed around reacting quickly to disaster scenarios, balancing implementations of new services with management of existing hosting environments, and more.

Q&A for July 23 Webinar: "Available Today - New Technologies and Updates for Citrix Service Providers"

Released July 14, 2015, the latest CloudPortal Services Manager Hosted Apps and Desktops Service release and App Orchestration 2.6 further help Citrix Service Providers accelerate their hosted desktop business.

New features reduce management costs and complexity, increase operating efficiency and scalability – all while empowering customers with self-service control and flexibility. View the webinar recording that takes a deep dive into what’s new in these technologies and check out the top questions asked during the Q&A.

What’s new in CloudPortal Services Manager and App Orchestration 2.6 … in a nutshell

With the latest Hosted Apps and Desktops Service release, CloudPortal Services Manager now includes even more support for provisioning app and desktop offerings at scale, building highly available and fault tolerant deployments, support for XenDesktop 7.6 features and increased quality and resilience – read details on what’s new

App Orchestration 2.6 further automates the delivery of Desktops-as-a-Service environments with new support for XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 and StoreFront 3.0, in-place upgrades and validated guidance for business continuity and disaster planning (read details on what’s new).

Thank you to all of those who submitted questions during the webinar. Please note that some questions have been combined. We apologize that we are not able to answer any questions about roadmap in a public forum like the Citrix blogs.

High Availability & Disaster Recovery (HA/DR): Key For Service Provider SLAs

Does Citrix Service Provider HA/DR work with public IaaS clouds?

Yes, the Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture, which includes CloudPortal Services Manager and App Orchestration can be deployed in public clouds such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS).  Specific to disaster recovery, service providers can configure a backup datacenter to reside in a public cloud while the primary datacenter is located in a different location, such as a service provider operated cloud.

Where can I find links to the CloudPortal Services Manager/App Orchestration high availability and disaster recovery documents?  Is the upgrade guide available for this new release?

Yes. Related documents are available on the CloudPortal Services Manager and App Orchestration product documentation pages:

CloudPortal Services Manager product documentation
App Orchestration product documentation

Drive Brand Recognition: New Site Customization Features with StoreFront 3.0

Is there StoreFront 3.0 re-branding document/blog available?

Service providers can make basic customizations right from the StoreFront 3.0 management console, so be sure to check that out first before you try hacking any CSS.

  • Web login page logo
  • Logo for header
  • Color for header / links etc.
  • Featured app groups

Here are some key resources/links to StoreFront 3.0 blogs and customization information

Isn’t the StoreFront branding going to be hidden behind Netscaler Gateway (that only has the green bubbles doesn’t it)?

Default look of the NetScaler Access Gateway login page.

As a Citrix Service Provider, you can brand the end-to-end experience for each customer and their end users accessing apps and desktops.  Yes, when using NetScaler Access Gateway in front of StoreFront, end-users authenticate at NetScaler and are passed-through via single-sign-on to the StoreFront site.  In that configuration, a user would bypass the ‘login page branding’ of StoreFront. However, they would still see all the other branding that applies after login, such as the look-n-feel of the page where apps and desktops are launched.

If your goal is to provide a unique look and feel for each of your customers (often aligning with their existing brand and color scheme), you’ll want to customize both the StoreFront site hosted for that customer, as well as provide a unique NetScaler Access Gateway login page using the same visual schema.  Using NetScaler Enterprise, this is achieved using vServers along with a unique URL for each customer landing page.  Learn more:

For StoreFront, App Orchestration will quickly deploy and automatically configure a unique site for each customer.  Site creation and configuration is fully automated, allowing for a new tenant to be on-boarded and a dedicated StoreFront site to be created in about 15 minutes.

By selecting private site isolation, multiple StoreFront sites are hosted on the same set of shared hardware, reducing costs for the service provider while still enabling a fully customized and branded StoreFront experience for each customer.

Integrating CloudPortal Services Manager: Key to Scaling a Service Provider Business

Does the CloudPortal Services Manager API support the new multi-user provisioning functionality that was added in Hosted Apps and Desktop 11.5.3 release?

Yes, multiple users (and the specific app and desktop offerings to provision for each) can be included in the same XML payload presented in a single API call.

How do the new XenDesktop 7.6 session pre-launch and session linger features integrate into App Orchestration?  Does App Orchestration provide automated configuration of these settings across delivery sites?

Well, that’s a great enhancement request – right now service providers can take advantage of the pre-launch and session linger features ­– which are amazing and described by the XenDesktop team here – by enabling and configuring the feature in studio, outside of App Orchestration. Citrix Service Providers are always eligible for the latest releases of Citrix technologies in line with the program guidelines. We’ll take this one to our roadmap discussions, thanks!

Is Citrix planning to integrate a billing module on CloudPortal Services Manager?

Not at this time.  Due to the variety of billing systems already in place across our service provider partners, we believe the best approach to take with CloudPortal Services Manager is to provide easily accessible and exportable reporting information that can drive downstream billing.  Thanks for this request, we’ll take it back to the roadmap discussions.

App Orchestration 2.6: Automated Configuration, Provisioning, Scaling and Management

Does App Orchestration 2.6 include automated configuration of NetScaler for multi-tenancy?

NetScaler configuration is an out-of-band configuration that must be done by service providers.  When using a shared design, NetScaler configuration is a one-time setup and does not need to be performed when onboarding new tenants.  Refer to the App Orchestration documentation for guidance on configuring NetScaler for use with App Orchestration 2.6.

How is App Orchestration licensed?

App Orchestration is included in the Citrix Service Provider Premium Desktops-as-a-Service offering.  Learn more about the value of Premium Desktops-as-a-Service in this blog post by Kurt Moody: Available Today: New DaaS Capabilities & Opportunities for Citrix Service Providers!

Order the Premium SKU (zero dollar order) through your Citrix Service Provider distributor.

Does App Orchestration 2.6 support XenApp 6.5 ?

Yes, App Orchestration 2.6 continues support XenApp 6.5 along with XenApp 7.6.

Understanding Service Provider Multi-Location and Multi-Datacenter Designs

Does CloudPortal Services Manager have the ability to deploy and manage an environment in our datacenter/cloud or the client’s datacenter?

Yes, using the CloudPortal Services Manager location design, you can manage and deliver services from multiple datacenters or clouds using a single management system – lowering operating costs and increasing average revenue per user.

How does a multi-domain design fit into CloudPortal Services Manager?

CloudPortal Services Manager uses a multi-location design to handle provisioning and management of customers, users and services across multiple domains.  For each domain, a CloudPortal Services Manager location is created.  When delivering Hosted Apps and Desktops Service from multiple domains (multiple CloudPortal Services Manager Locations), XenApp or XenDesktop delivery infrastructure exists within each CloudPortal Services Manager location or domain.  A single App Orchestration deployment (residing in the primary CloudPortal Services Manager Location/domain) can orchestrate management and provisioning across each location/domain. Service Providers using this model find that repeatable, automated deployment using App Orchestration saves time standing up new tenants, drives a consistent management experience across deployments, and reduces manual error and configuration drift – decreasing time to revenue and operational costs for service providers.

How to best leverage the new features of XenDesktop 7.6

How do you analyze usage for the best setting with session pre-launch and linger?

Gain insight into subscriber app and desktop usage patterns using the new App Usage Reporting feature now available with XenDesktop 7.6 Feature Pack 2.  Using time-of-day and peak load information, service providers can determine when to schedule session pre-launch and what capacity would be appropriate.

Pre-launch ensures a consistently great experience for subscribers accessing hosted apps and desktops, even during the morning rush and peak usage periods.  Using app usage reports for capacity planning allows service provider to be data-driven when allocating capacity.  Service providers save money through smart capacity management by shutting down active capacity that isn’t actually required to provide the best possible user experience.  Without insight into real subscriber usage data, service providers tend to over-allocate in fear of overloading their delivery sites and negatively impact end-user experience. Learn more in this blog post: New and improved session pre-launch and lingering coming to XenApp and XenDesktop

Products required to start provisioning app and desktop offerings at scale

What other products are required to deploy CloudPortal Services Manager?  Do I have to deploy App Orchestration?

Please refer to the CloudPortal Services Manager system requirements documentation for deployment requirements and pre-requisites.  App Orchestration is not required to deploy CloudPortal Services Manager, but is highly advised when delivering Apps and Desktops using the CloudPortal Services Manager Hosted Apps and Desktop Service – App Orchestration is key when it comes to managing, orchestrating and automating the configuration of the underlying XenApp and XenDesktop infrastructure.