Want to know how to scale your hosted services business? Want to provide additional speed and convenience to your customers? How about drive additional margins?

CloudPortal Services Manager (CPSM) is a powerful multi-tenant management platform for managing your organization’s efficiency. This comprehensive control panel will increase your business operational capacity by providing consistent and automated central management of customers, users and services.

As a critical Citrix Service Provider technology, CPSM allows you to build a complete portfolio of hosted workspace offerings using built-in services, and/or to explore new and differentiating offerings by customizing or authoring a custom service.

If you missed it, I invite you to watch last week’s technical webinar: Streamline and simplify your hosting service business with Cloud Portal Services Manager where you will learn:

  • Why you should include CloudPortal Services Manager in your technical arsenal
  • How to drive additional margin from the efficiency gains of this technology
  • How to implement and take advantage of the new Office 365 integration with CloudPortal Services Manager

For those who attended the live webinar, thank you for submitting questions. Without further ado, here are the answers:

Questions Related to Migrating to CloudPortal Services Manager

We currently use another control panel, from ExtendASP. Is there a migration option to move to CloudPortal Services Manager?  

Yes, Citrix Professional Services has done data migration from ExtendASP into CloudPortal Services Manager for a number of partners. We just released new Fix-fee Technical Enablement Services for CloudPortal Services Manager. Please contact your sales representative to ask about these services.

Questions Related to Office 365 and/or Azure AD

Is O365 Lync available to be provisioned with CloudPortal Services Manager?

Yes, you can provision Skype-for-Business using the Office 365 service for CPSM.  Skype is included as a service within many of the available Office 365 plans.  Additionally, CPSM supports delivering Lync 2013 multi-tenant on-premises for service providers that choose to host the Lync server infrastructure in their datacenter instead of Office 365.

If I’m using CPSM to deliver Exchange to a user, can I also deliver that user O365 based mail services?

Yes, if you are using two different email addresses for that user.  When migrating mail services from exchange on-premises to Office 365, first migrate the mailbox to Office 365, then activate an Office 365 license for the user to access to that mailbox.

Is there a way to migrate Hosted Exchange to Office 365 inside CloudPortal Services Manager?

At this time, exchange-to-365 mailbox migration is achieved using guidance and tools from Microsoft.

It is allowed to deliver hosted Office 365 on hosted XenApp?

Yes.  Citrix enables service providers to delivering virtual desktops that include office productivity apps alongside customer specific line of business applications.  Using Citrix, these apps can be delivered as seamless applications that blend into an existing users desktop, or as a complete desktop that includes the applications on the desktop image itself.

Office 365 is a great way deliver mailboxes (exchange online) and collaboration (Skype and SharePoint). In the spirit of Office 365, it’s important to understand the Microsoft licensing considerations for this use case. Read more about it here.

Microsoft CSP providers can login with their account credentials to their customers’ portals. So it makes sense that CloudPortal Services Manager uses that CSP account to synch all customer’s with just one VM. Is that in the pipeline, if not, why?

Yes, better integration with Microsoft CSP partner credentials and the Office 365 reseller model is on our roadmap.  For example, when provisioning Office 365 to a CPSM customer we would create that new account in addition to supporting the “bring your own account” model used today.

Consolidating Azure AD Connect identity sync requirements to a single or fewer VMs is something we will continue to evaluate.  While exploring that optimization, we must also remain conscious of Microsoft best practices and supported use cases for that toolkit.

Because the CloudPortal Services Manager AD is synced to Azure AD, all Outlook setup should have been transparent to the user – why was it not?

During the webinar demo, I showed a feature called Exchange Autodiscover, which showcased the “first time experience” for a new user logging into a hosted service for the very first time. This showed that the same Outlook and Lync/Skype auto-discover techniques that service providers are familiar with can still be used with Office 365 based mailboxes and Skype.

CPSM + Autodiscover enables service providers to onboard new customers and equip users with services quickly with minimal intervention from the service provider.  CPSM helps with that – and by adding the Exchange Autodiscover feature to that equation – the user experience is simple to connect to their mailbox for the first time. This is a onetime experience – moving forward outlook will be already configured when the user accesses their virtual desktop or a hosted version of outlook.

Deliver a smooth first-time use for new Office 365 subscribers using CloudPortal Services Manager and exchange auto-discover.
Deliver a smooth first-time use for new Office 365 subscribers using CloudPortal Services Manager and exchange auto-discover.

Learn more about Exchange Autodiscover.

Does CPSM support a synch of users from Azure AD to CPSM?

No. CPSM supports a one way sync from the CPSM managed active directory to Azure AD using the Azure AD Connect toolkit.

Is Azure AD Connect replacing Citrix AD Sync?

No, it is not.  Azure AD Connect helps sync identity from on-premises active directory to Azure AD.

CPSM AD Sync service enables service providers to sync customer identity from their active directory into a service provider hosted cloud (into a CPSM managed active directory).  In a CPSM AD Sync use case, Azure AD is not in the picture.

Do I only need Azure AD Connect when and if integrating Office 365?

Yes, Azure AD Connect is only required when delivering Office 365.

The Office 365 addition sounds like a great move, BUT is it allowed by Microsoft to deploy the Office 365 apps to XenApp Desktop?

This is a very common licensing question when Office 365, RDS, XenApp/XenDesktop and service providers are in the conversation. Please refer to the FAQ section of the Licensing Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Subscription Service in Volume Licensing PDF.

Questions Related to Onboarding or Removing Users

Can you limit a “tenant” to a set amount of users? Where they can add and remove users, but would only be limited to create a max of x users? Then have those users auto-provision to their services?

CPSM addresses the use case of enforcing “service subscription quotas” at a per-service level.  Simply put, you can configure a “max number of users per service plan” to ensure you’re not over subscribing a service based on the allocated infrastructure, storage capacity or available licenses.

Typically, service providers encourage new user creation without limitation – after all, that’s more subscribers for their service.  However, there are technical considerations such as overrunning storage and allocated infrastructure where limiting new service subscriptions (or at least throttling them until additional capacity can be added) does makes sense.  CPSM can help manage that.

Additionally, CPSM supports workflow approval where a service provider or customer administrator must approve provisioning requests before the automation proceeds.  This provides cost controls for customers and allows service providers to manage infrastructure and storage allocation without enforcing hard limits on the number of subscribers.

What steps are required to onboard a new customer who requires a dedicated desktop/VDA in a separate child domain? Is it possible to automate provisioning of machine catalogs and VDAs cross domain from shared delivery controllers located in forest root?

No.  This is a very specific question but it fits into a theme of ‘automated or autonomic VDA capacity management’.  Today, when delivering apps and desktops, App Orchestration provides capacity management features.  Bringing capacity management features to the CPSM Hosted Apps and Desktops service is something we’re looking at in our forward looking roadmap.

It’s not likely we’d automate catalog creation but instead focus on scaling delivery group capacity based on the number of users subscribed and/or admin intervention within CPSM.

Other Questions

Does CPSM support provisioning mailboxes to subscribers using traditional or an internal exchange server?

Yes, CPSM supports provisioning mailboxes to subscribers using traditional or “on-premises” exchange.  Additionally, CPSM helps manage multi-tenancy on top of Exchange, allowing for multiple tenants or customers to share a single exchange back-end hosted by the service provider.

Is the Storefront the standard server or specific to CloudPortal Services Manager?

It’s the standard Citrix Storefront used with XenApp or XenDesktop.

Where can we get the complete list of exact versions of exact Apps which are supported OOB by CloudPortal Services Manager?

Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop is the industry leader in virtual application delivery.  That means pretty much any line of business app can be delivered by Citrix XenApp, and thus also provisioned and managed using CPSM.

The exact service back-ends that CPSM supports (such as Exchange 2013, Lync 2013, etc..), can be found here.

What would this service be RTM?

Sorry, we’re not permitted to communicate roadmap dates in this forum.

Please take the time to watch the on-demand recording of the webinar if you missed it.