Onboarding and Publishing

Onboarding an application for your users registers the application with the Frame backend and prepares it for sharing via a browser. In order to make applications available to your users via an Application Launchpad, you will need to onboard and publish your app to your production workloads. If you are planning to only deliver virtual desktops to your users, then onboarding applications is not required – simply install your desired applications to the Sandbox and publish. This guide will show Frame administrators the basics of onboarding, publishing, and deleting applications for their users.

If you would like to skip ahead to a certain section of this document, you can use the links below:

Onboard Applications

As a best practice, Nutanix Frame recommends manually backing up your Sandbox before installing your applications. This backup allows you to quickly revert to a base OS image in the case of catastrophic image corruption. With AHV, you can reset the Sandbox image to a previously registered template image using the “Reset master image” feature.

Note

The onboarding process only applies to executables (.exe files), scripts which launch executables, and shortcuts that point to executable files.

  1. Go to the “Sandbox” page of your Dashboard. Click “Power On” to boot your Sandbox if needed (this takes about 2-3 minutes). When the Sandbox is available, click “Start Session.”

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  1. If your installer is available online, you can download it directly using the browser in your Sandbox (Chrome) – this will be the fastest method for large installers since your Sandbox typically has a network bandwidth of over 500 Mbps. If your installer is not available online, and you have it on your local machine, you can upload it to your Frame session from your local machine. Additionally, you can opt to connect your cloud storage account to your Frame account, which would enable you to see the files in a virtual drive in your Sandbox. You can connect your cloud storage accounts from the admin menu in the upper right corner (to the right of the Sandbox image) or from within your Sandbox session by clicking on the icons at the bottom right corner of your desktop session.

  2. If you downloaded your installer using the browser in the Sandbox, simply launch the setup file from the “Downloads” folder. If you used a cloud storage account, navigate to “Computer” and open the appropriate drive (e.g., X: drive for Box). If you uploaded your installer from your local machine, you can access it by going into the “Uploads” folder.

    Important

    Copy your setup file(s) from the original drive to the C: drive, and then run the installation of your app as you would on a PC from the C: drive.

Note

If you are only going to deliver desktops to your users, you may skip ahead to step 5.

See also

If you’re interested in scripting and automating app onboarding, see Onboard applications via CLI.

  1. Accept the Frame prompts to onboard your application. Frame automatically imports the application’s icon during the onboarding process.

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Note

If you did not see the onboarding dialog, have skipped this step earlier, or wish to onboard an existing application, simply right-click on the application in the program menu or directly on the application’s .exe file in its install folder (e.g. in the “Program Files (x86)” or “Program Files” folder) and select “Onboard to Frame.”

  1. Test your application from within the Sandbox to make sure everything is functioning as expected (for instance, if you need to enter a license code/load a license file, do so now). Now disconnect from your Sandbox by selecting “Disconnect” from the gear menu. The application icon will appear on your Dashboard next to your other apps. Set custom application properties by hovering over your icon and selecting the gear icon.

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Before publishing your application, you will need to set your production capacity. Setting your production capacity specifies the amount of VMs you would like to publish your Sandbox image to. If you are not familiar with this, you can read more about system capacity and elastic instance management in our documentation here.

Warning

If there are no instance types with a max set to at least 1, publishing will not proceed.

Delete Applications

If your application has been installed on the Sandbox and on-boarded to Frame, deleting it is easy!

  1. Navigate to the Dashboard. On the “Systems” page, look for the “Applications” section near your Sandbox. Hover over the application you would like to get rid of – you should see a gear symbol and trash can symbol, like this:

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  1. Click on the trash symbol to schedule the deletion of the application on the next publish. This means that your users will still see the application until the next time you publish.

Uninstall an application from your Sandbox

  1. While this step is not essential, it is best to uninstall applications that you do not intend to use anymore from your Sandbox. Launch your Sandbox, click on the Windows Start button at the bottom left corner, and select “Computer” from the menu as shown below:

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  1. Once in the “Computer” window, find and click the “Uninstall or change a program” button at the top center of the window, per the screenshot below. Then simply select the application you wish to uninstall from the list and follow the prompts to uninstall.

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Publishing

Once you have installed one or more applications (or set up a Desktop Launchpad), tested them in the Sandbox, and defined your production capacity, you’re ready to publish.

There are three ways to publish on your Frame account:

  1. Publishing: A regular publish will always create the max number of instances specified in the capacity settings. Follow the instructions below to enable quick publishing or skip ahead to the “Initiate a Publish” section to start a regular publish.

  2. Quick publishing: Quick publishing allows administrators to specify how many production instances are created on publish before any existing instances are terminated. This results in a quicker publish that occurs in batches with fewer instances running at once.

  3. Test publishing Early Access: This feature allows you to test Launchpad/Sandbox functionality before committing your changes to your production environment.

Use the tabs below to learn more about how to enable quick publishing and test publishing.

Note

By default, all AHV-based accounts use the quick publish function. The default number of production instances created on publish is 10. If you wish to override this number, follow the instructions below.

  1. From your account Dashboard, navigate to the “Settings” page. Under the “General” tab, enable the quick publish toggle as shown below.

    ../../_images/testpub4.png
  2. Once enabled, you have the option to set the number of production instances you would like to be created on each publish. You can modify this value if you wish.

  3. Click the save button in the upper right corner of your Dashboard to apply your changes.

    ../../_images/quickpub3.png

Note

If the min value in your capacity settings is set to less than the quick publish value specified, the quick value publish settings are ignored and a regular publish is performed.

You have successfully enabled quick publish for your Frame account. See the section below to learn how to initiate a publish.

Test Publishing gives administrators the ability to test their updated Sandbox image in a “Test Instance Pool” which is separate from their production instances. This Early Access feature gives administrators the option to alter the instances in a isolated environment, completely identical to production, without the fear of interrupting access to the normal production instances. Test publishes can easily be rolled back via the restoration of a backup, or promoted to the active published configuration, depending on the results.

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  1. In your Frame Account Dashboard under the “Settings” tab, “Enable Test Publish.” Click the “Save” button to commit the change.

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  1. A prompt notifying you that the Test Publishing feature cannot be disabled once enabled on an account will appear. Click “Confirm.”

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  1. Next, navigate to the “Capacity” tab and select the “Add Instance Pool.”

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  1. At the prompt, create a Test Instance pool by selecting the desired Instance Type, providing a name, and ensuring you enable “Test Instance Pool.” Click the “Add” button to confirm your choices and create the test pool.

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  1. Configure the capacity of the new Test Pool by specifying Minimum, Maximum, and Buffer instances.

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Note

Any Test Launchpad instances count towards the total cumulative user count as dictated by the customer agreement.

  1. Next, navigate to the “Sandbox” tab, click the “Publish” button.

Warning

Frame strongly recommends creating a backup of your Sandbox before Test Publishing. In the event you wish to discard all changes to the test environment and return to the original Sandbox configuration, you will be able to restore your backup.

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  1. Ensure the blue button is set to “Test Publish”, you can change your choice by clicking the white down arrow. Click the blue “Test Publish” button to publish the test launchpad.

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  1. Lastly, you will want to create some Test Launchpads for your Test Instance Pools. Documentation for Test Launchpads can be found here

Initiate a Publish

  1. Click the “Publish” button in the top right corner of the Sandbox section (this typically takes about 10-15 minutes or more, depending on infrastructure availability). A prompt will appear asking you to select the publish method of your choice.

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  • Test Publish: Creates a test publish which is held in reserve, via a separate instance pool, for future use.

  • Promote: This option is displayed after after a Test Publish has been executed and will promote a previous test publish to a regular publish. This option also promotes all Test Launchpads to regular production Launchpads.

  • Publish: Publishes the Sandbox normally following any changes.

Warning

To protect active sandbox sessions, you will not be able to publish apps to production while a sandbox session is active.

  1. The status of the Sandbox will change to “Publishing”.

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  1. The Sandbox Status will return to “Stopped” once the publish is complete. You can also see the status of your publish by clicking on the Notification center icon in the upper right corner of your console or navigating to the Activity page in Dashboard.

Promoting a Test Publish

Once you have completed testing on your Test Launchpads you can promote your Test Publish to your production environment:

Warning

Promoting a test publish will replace all instances with the test environment sandbox.

  1. At the Frame Control Panel, under the “Sandbox” tab, click the “Publish” button.

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  1. Ensure the blue button is set to “Promote Publish”, you can change your choice by clicking the white down arrow. Click the blue “Promote Publish” button to publish the test launchpad.

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Resetting your Environment

If your testing environment does not yield the desired results and you wish to create a fresh test environment from production for a “fresh start”, you can do so by restoring from a backup. If you wish to simply revise your test environment, simply continue to edit your Sandbox and test publish until you have achieved your desired results.