At the beginning of the year, Citrix quietly released a 1.0 version of its automation orchestration framework known as Citrix Workflow Studio. Workflow Studio has become a key component in the company's vision, as it delivers the automation and intelligence needed to transform the datacenter into a dynamic delivery center. Automation products like Workflow Studio will play a key role in the future success of virtualization and the cloud.
Unfortunately, Workflow Studio 1.0 did not get the recognition it deserved, and it didn't jump out of the gate on product launch. Was it too early? Was there not enough education around the product? Or did it not reach the right audience? Rewind the clock a few years and you might remember an orchestration product from a company called Dunes Technologies that had similar problems reaching an audience. But VMware, like Citrix, had a vision and a few bucks in its pocket, so the company scooped up Dunes about two years ago and has been building its own orchestration product. Again, that product received very little fanfare.
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With Workflow Studio 2.0, Citrix may have figured out part of the adoption problem. Orchestration and workflow are typically associated with scripting and programming, and that can sound complex and keep administrators away. This stuff doesn't sound like the cup of tea that most IT operations folks are comfortable with or, quite frankly, interested in doing. Also, the product hasn't been explained very well or even sold to the right audience. But let's face it, orchestration really goes beyond scripting, and even though it's still a relatively new technology, things may be shifting with this 2.0 release.
Citrix realized that while the IT operation guys may not be that interested in scripting or programming, they're usually interested in consuming the outcome of these things in order to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Server administrators and software developers, on the other hand, are interested in these types of tools and will create solutions with them that they can consume or that can be consumed by other audiences.
Workflow Studio simplifies matters by providing an easy-to-use graphical user interface to help with workflow composition. To broaden its appeal, Citrix has created activity libraries that help facilitate building workflows from existing VBScripts and PowerShell scripts. Workflows can also be extended through C# with its code-beside feature. When you throw all these things together and combine them with example templates and activities available for download in a community, you just may see the adoption rates go up on this type of technology. With the 2.0 release, Citrix includes 143 activities, such as libraries for its NetScaler, XenDesktop, XenServer, and XenApp products.
Workflow Studio 2.0 is a seamless upgrade from version 1.x, and it offers a number of new features such as:
- Remote runtimes
- A simplified management interface
- Enhanced security features
- Simplified installation and configuration
- Sn improved SDK
- Simplified workflow designer
- Globalization support
For additional resources and to share your own workflow activities, check out the Citrix Workflow Studio Developer Network. With a MyCitrix account, you can log in and download Citrix Workflow Studio 2.0 and get started today.