An in-depth review of Citrix Workflow Studio

Citrix announced a new product, called "Citrix Workflow Studio," as part of their multi-product announcement last week. Based on Microsoft's Windows Workflow Foundation, Citrix Workflow Studio is a graphical environment where you can drag-and-drop configuration elements of your Citrix environment.

Citrix announced a new product, called "Citrix Workflow Studio," as part of their multi-product announcement last week. Based on Microsoft's Windows Workflow Foundation, Citrix Workflow Studio is a graphical environment where you can drag-and-drop configuration elements of your Citrix environment. Once you get everything set up how you want it, you can click "go" and the system will go out and build or configure your real environment just as you modeled it. It's kind of a "modeling" meets "GUI frontend for scripting" meets "automated system configuration tool."

I haven't actually seen Citrix Workflow Studio yet as it's only currently available in Tech Preview to Citrix partners. (A public preview should be available in a few months.) However, Rich Crusco over at Frameworkx.com has written a very detailed, six (!) part in-depth review / preview of Workflow Studio (with lots of pictures).

A few highlights:

  • Workflow studio will be 100% Powershell-based on the backend, so you can use it to configure and automate server deployments, administrative tasks, desktop creation, user actions, etc.
  • Anything you can do via any Citrix admin console, you'll be able to automate via Workflow Studio.
  • Anything you can do via any Microsoft admin console, you'll be able to automate via Workflow Studio.

It seems that while the Workflow Studio will be an amazing product, it will be even more valuable when people start to write and share their own workflow scripts. It doesn't really do much on its own.

I heard that Citrix bought some company to get Workflow Studio, although I don't know who that company is or how much they paid. Regardless it seems like this is something that requires the weight of Citrix to really catch on. In some ways it's a little like Login Consultants' Solution4 Framework or visionapp's Platform Management Suite, but both of those products are probably more valuable because of the IP that's built into the scripts. So maybe it's more accurate to say that Citrix Workflow Studio could be like one of those products.

From Rich's review, though, Citrix Workflow Studio looks very awesome. It seems from reading about the product that Citrix will probably charge for it, but I'm not 100% sure about that. 

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Many IT folks have theorized they picked up FullArmor Workflow Studio which was announced last year and then just kind of disappeared from FullArmor's website: http://www.fullarmor.com/pr_07232007/news-press-release-detail.htm

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Did'not you go to the plot for the demonstration ?

You will have seen the name of the company WFS come from from the badge holder of guy that were demonstrating WFS... Could I say it ? No, it is a NDA event ;-)

See previous post to get it. 

 

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But said person might have said it was being re-written from what was shown as we spoke.


Personally, I think it is a cool idea that looks so easy to use but requires a lot of complicated back end work.  People that do complicated stuff along that line (and learn/know powershell) will like it.  People that like pretty pictures and drag and drop will use it for an hour.

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Doesn't really matter to me if they got some IP from another company. It's a great idea and Citrix gets kudos in my book for pushing for better ways to manage (or as they say "orchestrate") different products together, including third party stuff.


If they did get something from the company you mentioned, it sounds like they wanted to do some work on it first to turn it into a more solid product. I'll give them kudos for that as well. Much better than just slapping a Citrix logo on it and throwing something out there that's not really ready for production usage.


Does anyone have any idea as to when the rest of us will be able to get our hands on the beta? Did they say anything about it at Summit, or is that under NDA as well? The examples on the frameworkx site look very cool.

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This seems liike a really smart move. Usually when companies get to this size, they start getting grandious plans about creating some master management console to manage everything. This is almost always a bad idea because it sucks up tons of their focus away from creating good products and typically results in some kind of half finished mess. If customers want a big systems management console to manage lots of stuff, they should use something like Microsoft, IBM, HP, BMC, etc.


Workflow Studio isn't a big management console or dashboard. It's a way to tie together processeses across different products (or within one product for that matter). This is much more aligned with where the market is going (note ITIL and other BPM type efforts that manage across silos).


Citrix did announce Citrix Delivery Center, but from the description on their website, that's really an overall branding thing for all their infrastructure products. The idea is to change datacenters into delivery centers, which is a good notion and very consistent with what our CIO is trying to do (he uses different terms, but it's the same idea).


They didn't say anything about creating a giant console for Citrix Delivery Center. In fact, they specifically said they are not trying to do this and are instead focusing on workflows.

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Workflow studio is expected soon to be released for public technical preview, hopefully before iForum (App Delivery Expo).

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go to the Citrix website and you can put your name on a waiting list to be notified when workflow studio ships
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Citrix created nice getting started with Workflow studio videos:


http://community.citrix.com/display/cdn/Getting+Started+with+Workflow+Studio

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Thanks, Ruben. Cool videos.


Do you and Brian have Workflow Studio yet? Would love to see you guys do a class or video series on this. Can you use it to tie Citrix products into non-Citrix products?

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Workflow Foundation is only included in .Net 3.0, whereas Workflow Studio requires 2.0 - so I don't think it's based on Foundation...
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