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 the Launchpad, you will need to onboard and publish your app to your production workload. If you are only planning on delivering 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

Note

Before you install applications in a Frame-provided image (for AWS, Azure, and GCP infrastructures), be sure to manually back up the Sandbox. 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.

  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.

  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 onboarded 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 the 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 two ways to publish on your Xi Frame account:

  1. Quick publishing and regular 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.

  2. 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.

Enable Quick Publishing

Note

By default, all AHV 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.

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  1. 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.

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

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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 Xi Frame account. See the section below to learn how to initiate a publish.

Initiate a Publish

  1. From your account Dashboard, navigate to your “Sandbox” page. Click the “Power On” button located in the heading of the “Sandbox” section to power on your Sandbox. If it is already running, proceed to step 2.

  2. 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 confirm your choice.

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Warning

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

  1. A “Pending requests” dialog will appear above your Sandbox console and provide you with status updates throughout the process.

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  1. The “Pending requests” dialog will disappear once the publish is complete. You can also see the status of your publish by navigating to the “Activity” page of your account Dashboard.

Cancel a Publish

If you wish to cancel a pending publish, simply click the cancel button in the “Pending requests” message box that appears above the Sandbox section.

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Why Does Publishing Consume Hours?

Every time you initiate a regular publish, all instances in your pool (determined by your “max” setting) are replaced with newly-provisioned instances and, in the process, are powered on (but only left on for a one hour increment). Having all of them fully provisioned during the publishing step is what allows them to be powered on via scaling within 2-3 minutes. Otherwise, users would have to wait for a full provisioning step (15+ minutes) when requesting a session on demand. This means that each publishing step has a minimum hourly usage cost equivalent to your max setting. For example, if your max is set to 20, each time you publish, you will incur 20 hours of usage.

Note

The publishing process will never interrupt a user who is in an active session. Frame will automatically wait to terminate an instance until the user has finished their session. As a result, publishing updates to your users is a “zero downtime” action.