Glossary of Frame terms

Frame products and services use a number of terms common in the cloud platform and virtualization space, but we have some terms that are specific to Frame. Review the terms below to help you get up to speed.

Instance

This is a commonly used industry term for a virtual machine which includes a complete operating system as well as installed applications.

Typically, multiple instances run simultaneously on a single physical server but are independent in every other way. An instance can come in a variety of types, with specifications that are like those for PCs and servers. For example, Frame instances are typically distinguished by the number of CPUs, amount of RAM, and the number of GPUs. The instance may also be referred to as the “VM” (virtual machine), the “system,” or the “workstation.” Frame has several instance types, including the “Air 4GB” system and the “Pro 16GB” system.

Sandbox

The Sandbox is a special instance on Frame accounts where the administrator of the account installs applications. The Sandbox serves as your “gold master image.” It is where you set up and configure your applications as well as anything else specific to your environment (e.g., Windows settings).

Note that your Sandbox is always set to power off automatically if not currently in use when the next hourly usage increment is about to be incurred. This prevents the organization from paying for unused server time.

Onboarding

Onboarding is the process of registering an application with the Frame backend so that it will appear to end users in a browser and become accessible to them.

When you install an application in the Sandbox, Frame prompts you to onboard the application. As an admin, you can also onboard previously installed applications by right clicking on the executable file and selecting “Onboard to Frame.”

Publish

A Publish pushes all the changes and configurations set up on the Sandbox image to go live for all end users.

Once apps are onboarded and the Sandbox is configured as desired, publishing copies the Sandbox image to a pool of “production instances,” which is what end users connect to in Frame to access their applications. This process of copying the Sandbox is called “publishing.”

Production instances

This is a pool of instances that are used to serve end users.

Users connect to production instances when they access their Launhpad and run an application. Administrators of Frame accounts set up parameters that govern the size of the production instance pool, which determines its capacity to support a number of users.

Elastic scaling (or elasticity)

Elasticity is a rule-engine that is used to automatically scale the availability of production instances to meet the changing demand of your end users.

Since one component of the cost of using Frame is hourly usage, elasticity is important as usage is calculated only when instances are powered on. Thus, you only want to power on instances when users actually need access. For example, (in most cases) you want the system to power off your production instances at night so that you are not consuming hours when no one is connected.

Stateless apps (or stateless sessions)

After a user is finished running an application, all the changes that the user has made to the instance running the app are deleted, and the instance is returned to a “known good state.”

This is the most common mode of using production instances on Frame. Since many different users may connect to the same instance over time, it is important that the instance does not keep any user data. With stateless sessions, any changes made during a session, including any data saved directly to the instance, are erased after the session ends. Stateless sessions allow every user to start a session with a “clean” instance.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage refers to services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box, which save your files on their public clouds as a service.

Frame can connect to these cloud storage services to allow your users to save their work. Therefore, there is no need to save any of your data directly on Frame.

Launchpad

Launchpad refers to the end-user-facing part of the Frame interface where users go to launch and manipulate applications. End users can be given access to multiple Launchpads depending on the needs of their organization. For instance, once Launchpad may contain applications for word editing while another Launchpad houses only billing-specific apps.

Administrators can configure multiple Launchpad interfaces to show what application sets specific end users see and what features are exposed to them. If enabled, end users can switch between Launchpads by clicking on the rectangular Launchpad list icon at the top of their screen. Here is an example of one Frame Launchpad:

_images/Launchpadexample.png

Dashboard

The Dashboard is the administrator-facing portion of the Frame platform interface that gives admins access to all aspects of the Frame service. This includes onboarding apps, setting app properties, managing capacity, and more. Here is an example of a Frame Dashboard:

_images/dashboardexample.png

Disconnect and Close Session

When an end user exits a session, generally, there are two options:

  • Disconnect from the session but keep it active, in which case the user can return to the session.
  • Close Session to completely end the session.

This distinction is important, so please read on:

  • “Disconnect”
    is like disconnecting your monitor cable from a running PC. In this case, if the system is set up with an “idle timeout” setting, the session will continue running and the user can connect back within the set time to resume their session.
  • “Close Session”
    is equal to what you do at the end of a day with a PC: you save all of your work and then power off the system. In Frame’s case, closing a production session will end the session completely and return the instance to the pool of production instances – making it available for someone else to use. The user will not be able to access a new session during the 2 minutes it takes to power off a running session.