Over the past two and a half years, I’ve spent much of my time performing Desktop-as-a-Service implementations for Citrix service providers around world. A common issue that most CSPs—including some large, tier one providers—face, is the configuration and management of product offerings.
Effectively configuring and managing the offerings can help to improve service providers’ operational efficiency and speed-up their time-to-market.
Standardized and Customized Offerings
Customized offering catalogues are specifically built for individual customers based on their requirements. However, if all offerings are customized for each customer, then the cost of deployment and ongoing maintenance is going to be high and will have a negative impact on the pricing and return on investment, it is also difficult to scale.
Standardized offering catalogues on the other hand, include limited and prepackaged options of hosted desktops and common applications, and they ease the ongoing operational and maintenance cost, reduce the time to market for new customers, and make cloud hosted desktops and applications more affordable for SMBs which achieves the best economics for both the Service Provider and its hosted customers.
As the above diagram illustrates, instead of either completely customizing offerings for every customer or standardizing all offerings, a hybrid way of combining both may bring about a better outcome. Finding the balance between standardized offerings and customized offerings to suit your business and your customers is the key to maintaining customer satisfaction as well as the cost, and scale the business.
Multi-tenancy adds a layer of complexity. Consider the situation where some applications in one offering catalogue have the same names as the ones in another custom catalogue for a special tenant, how do you distinguish these applications with the same names once they are imported into CloudPortal Services Manager?
To assign the appropriate applications to the correct tenant, naming convention of these offerings is important in a multi-tenant environment.
Here is an example: we have a catalogue with Base Standard Apps (shared offering)—including Microsoft Office 2013—and have a separate custom catalogue specifically for an APAC Reseller that also includes Office 2013 applications. For the applications in the custom catalog to be easily identified when provisioning to the APAC Reseller and its customers, apart from the required prefix “_Offer_”, we also added prefix “APAC,” as shown below.
Keep the original application name in “Application name (for user)” field unchanged, so that from the end user’s perspective, he or she is not aware of the catalogue differences when selecting apps from the StoreFront site.
With this naming pattern, the offerings imported into CloudPortal Services Manager can easily be identified and provisioned to relevant customers.
Manage Offerings in CloudPortal Services Manager
Naming via Citrix Studio is more for Service Provider Administrators to effectively manage the offerings. Since CloudPortal Services Manager enables delegated administration and end user self-service, the portal interface allows the imported offerings to be further configured to achieve better end user experience.
The above example makes the name of the desktop offering more meaningful to the end users, and configures the offering to be dedicated (private) to the selected customer.
Non-Citrix Apps and Resources
Sometimes, not all custom applications can be managed through XenApp/XenDesktop due to specific third party system and licensing requirements. These applications are viewed as Non-Citrix Apps in Services Manager.
Users’ access to the Non-Citrix Apps and Resources can also be managed under the same Hosted Apps and Desktops service through their Active Directory group memberships.
Effective management of offerings is important to DaaS service providers’ operational efficiency and time-to-market, the key is to maintain the balance between standardization and customization. CloudPortal Services Manager is strategic in improving administration efficiency, self-service, end user experience and scaling of the business.