Tag Archives: Public Cloud

Revised: Citrix Service Provider Automation Pack

On 8/24/2011, Citrix announced a revised Service Provider Automation Pack (v1.0.2) which is comprised of a bunch of PowerShell scripts that are designed for use by Service Providers and automate several actions including the deployment of shared multi-tenant XenApp 6 and XenApp 6.5 farms for session-based Desktop-as-a-Service Cloud offers.

Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture

A few days ago, Citrix released V2 of the Citrix Reference Architecture for Multi-Tenant Desktop-as-a-Service (download). According its Executive Summary the document…

guides partners in designing the new generation of Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) services. These services leverage the Microsoft® Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) and Citrix Service Provider (CSP) licensing programs to deliver Microsoft Windows® applications and desktops on a pay as you go basis to small and medium businesses. This reference architecture is for service providers that will manage a multi-tenant application and desktop delivery service rather than an outsourced “IT as a Service” datacenter where each end tenant manages their own resources.

The reference architecture targets Service Providers that plan to provide services to a subscriber base of max 50,000 active users (comprised of multiple small to medium Tenants with up to 250 users) and covers the following topics:

  • Multi-Tenancy Design Considerations
  • Network Boundaries and VLANs
  • Storage Configuration
  • Hypervisor Configuration
  • Securing the Networks
  • Active Directory and Organizational Unit Considerations
  • Desktop Provisioning
  • Application Provisioning
  • XenApp Farm Design (Worker Groups and Policies)

Citrix Service Provider Automation Pack

Today, Citrix has announced the release of the Citrix Service Provider Automation Pack for XenApp 6, made by the newly formed Cloud App Delivery group, available exclusively for Citrix partners. It automates some common, complex tasks for cloud service providers, and it makes delivering Desktops as a Service that much easier. There are three main aspects to the release:

1.) True Windows 7 Desktop Experience. (You can learn more about this feature from John Cattaneo in his blog)

2.) Desktop and Multi-tenant Lock down and Security.

3.) Farm Deployment.

If you’re a Citrix partner, log in to MyCitrix to get the Service Provider Automation Pack today.

And, yes, of course the Automation Pack is based on Windows PowerShell :-)

Cloud Computing – Evolutionary Step to Support Changing Business Needs

Hello, I’m back again :-)

with this post I start a blog series about Cloud computing with the objective of promoting the next evolutionary step in the history of Information Technology.

While the Cloud hype might be annoying at first sight, it indicates on the other hand the dimension and importance of the underlying fundamental challenge: IT is evolving in order to support the changing business needs. Cloud computing is agile computing. And agility of IT enables organizations to be leaders in global economy. From the very high level perspective, Cloud computing is nothing more than about sharing IT infrastructure and managing application workloads in a highly efficient manner.

Among the variety of Cloud computing definitions the National Institute of Standards definition is gaining more and more popularity:

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

This model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and 4 deployment models.

Cloud computing characteristics:

  • On-demand self-service
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Measured service
  • Broad network access

Cloud computing service models (XaaS):

  • Saas – Software-as-a-Service
  • PaaS – Platform-as-a-Service
  • IaaS – Infrastructure-as-a-Service

Cloud computing deployment models:

  • Public Cloud
  • Private Cloud
  • Community Cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud

I think, no, I hope that the Cloud hype will reach its zenith during this year. Before Cloud computing finally enters the stage of pure productivity we will, sad to say, experience prestages like the burst of the wishful-thinking-bubble, followed by the “Trail of Tears”, and then the “Age of Enlightenment”. At the end of day, when Cloud computing has passed all these stages, it will be no longer cool meaning that it will be a mature computing model that just simply works – just like virtualization nowadays. By the way, do you remember the virtualization hype a few years ago…?

So, there’s absolutely no rush to switch to Cloud computing as soon as possible. Many companies are building cloud services today and some are more successful than others. Do you know what I mean? While some companies just try to “go cloud” and fail, others evolve a Cloud computing vision for their business first – a vision that uses Cloud computing as an enabler.

That’s it for now. Next time, I will enter into this epilogue.

Cloud here, cloud there, cloud everywhere…

Maybe you attended my two presentations about cloud computing – first part was about “private” cloud (Live Mesh, SkyDrive, profiles stored on Internet, Ketarin…), second was about “business” cloud.

To summarize it, talking about private cloud, I don’t believe in “everything must go to web” scenarios, but I rather prefer hybrid cloud solutions – accessing online documents from your locally installed applications or using centrally stored configuration for your applications.

For business clouds, I again prefer hybrid solutions – even though I believe that small companies could already use virtual machine hosted on internet (like GoGrid of FlexiScale).

Core component of my private cloud is Live Mesh, but I was seeking for some time to alternative. My biggest complains are the fact that you cannot script Live Mesh and the fact that you cannot create special rules to handle conflicts (and for some folders, I got conflicts every few minutes). I was looking for alternative for some time, however I was not very successful.

Yesterday I installed again Gladinet – Gladinet approach is little bit different than other providers and I like that idea. Instead of building huge infrastructure, they simply provide “wrappers” around existing cloud storages.

If I should describe it to someone that doesn’t have any knowledge about cloud computing or storage, I would describe it as follows:

Gladinet allows you to map your internet-based storages as local folders

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Gladinet drive

Among the list of supported storage providers you can find Google, Microsoft (both Azure and SkyDrive) or Amazon (S3).

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List of supported providers is pretty impressive

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Access your SkyDrive as regular drive

What I find as disadvantages? First of all, some people (Michal “Altair” Valasek) complained about the fact that it is not fully reliable – sometimes files doesn’t display correctly or they are not uploaded – I cannot confirm this (yet) however.

Second complain I got is about the fact that these folders doesn’t support symbolic links – error message returned by mklink is “The device does not support symbolic links.”  If this drive could support symbolic links, it would be much more useful and automated backup and integration with your local computer would be much better.

Third complain is about “Task manager”. Whatever you do (upload\delete…) will be queued to task manager and processed on background, which makes complete sense. I was however not able to find any option to disable automatic popup of task manager whenever you do something.

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Task manager will popup whenever you perform any operation with mounted drive.

Just small hint, in case you would like to access Gladinet drive from elevated prompt. Your drive is mounted from \\127.0.0.1\Resources, so to remap it under elevated prompt, simply run Net Use X: \\127.0.0.1\Resources

Martin Zugec