One new Citrix App Layering feature has been released with little fanfare, and it’s worth calling out, since customers have requested this feature quite often: the ability to export layers from one virtual appliance and import them into another.
Generally, the larger the organization I was dealing with, the more likely I was to hear this request. Once in a proof of concept, the admins would begin to understand layer creation and storage and start to look at how to integrate it into their Dev>Test>Prod flow of app packaging. Sometimes, these three environments were completely (or mostly) isolated from each other and the policies within the organization dictated this separation down to the infrastructure level.
Prior to this feature, there was no easy way to a take layers created on one system and just “move them” to the next environment. Now, with Layer Import/Export, you can do just that: export layers from one appliance and import them into another. If additional layers are created on the source system, you can export/import again and only the new/updated layers are moved.
With this new feature, you simply select “Layers → Export All” in the App Layering management console. The wizard will ask you to specify a file share and credentials to access the share. You should ensure that the share has enough space for all of the layers, including metadata and icons.
Once the layers are exported (you can track the task under active tasks) you can then begin the layer import on the target system. The import process will copy all the layers from the share, to the target environment along with “registering” in the appliance for use.
Once the target system is populated, you can continue to make new layers and versions on the source. When it’s time to move those new layers over, you simply initiate the Export/Import process again and the system will only move any new or updated layers allowing you to keep the two environments in sync.
To try this new feature (or get a trial version of Citrix App Layering) you can download the software via Citrix Cloud under Citrix App Layering → Get Started.