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App Provisioning and Deprovisioning

Application provisioning revolves around mobile app lifecycle management: Preparing, configuring, delivering, and managing mobile apps within a XenMobile environment. In some instances, developing or modifying application code might also be part of the provisioning process. XenMobile is equipped with various tools and processes that you can use for app provisioning.

Before you read this article on app provisioning, we recommend that you read the following articles:

After you finalize the type of apps your organization plans to deliver to users, you can outline the process for managing the apps throughout their lifecycle.

Consider the following points when defining your app provisioning process:

  • App profiling: Your organization can start with a limited number of apps. However, the number of apps you manage can rapidly increase as user adoption rates increase and your environment grows. Define specific app profiles from the beginning to make app provisioning easy to manage. App profiling helps you categorize apps into logical groups from a nontechnical perspective. For example, you can create app profiles based on the following factors:
    • Version: App version for tracking
    • Instances: Multiple instances that are deployed for different set of users, for example, with different levels of access
    • Platform: iOS, Android, or Windows
    • Target Audience: Standard users, departments, C-level executives
    • Ownership: Department that owns the app
    • Type: MDX, Public, Web and SaaS, or Web links
    • Upgrade Cycle: How often the app is upgraded
    • Licensing: Licensing requirements and ownership
    • MAM SDK or MDX policies: To apply MDX capabilities to your mobile apps
    • Network Access: Type of access, such as Secure Browse or full VPN

      Note:

      Tunneled Web SSO is the name for the Secure Browse in the MDX settings. The behavior is the same.

Example:

Factor Secure Mail Mail In-House Epic Rover
Version 10.1 10.1 X.x X.x
Instance VIP Physicians Clinical Clinical
Platform iOS iOS iOS iOS
Target Users VIP Users Physicians Clinical Users Clinical Users
Ownership IT IT IT IT
Type MDX MDX Native Public
Upgrade Cycle Quarterly Quarterly Yearly N/A
Licensing N/A N/A N/A Volume purchase
MDX Policies Yes Yes Yes No
Network Access VPN VPN VPN Public
  • App versioning: Maintaining and tracking app versions is a critical part of the provisioning process. Versioning is transparent to users. They only receive notifications when a new version of the app is available for download. From your perspective, reviewing and testing each app version in a non-production capacity is also critical to avoid production impact.

    It is also important to evaluate if a specific upgrade is required. App upgrades are usually of two types: One is a minor upgrade, such as a fix to a specific bug. The second is a major release, which introduces significant changes and improvements to the app. In either case, carefully review the release notes of the app to evaluate if the upgrade is necessary.

  • App development: When you integrate the MAM SDK in the mobile apps that you develop, you apply MDX capabilities to those apps. See MAM SDK Overview.

    The MAM SDK replaces the MDX Service and MDX Toolkit, which is scheduled for deprecation in September 2021. For information about app wrapping, see Endpoint Management MDX Service. The app provisioning process for a wrapped app differs from the provisioning process for a standard non-wrapped app.

  • App security: You define the security requirements of individual apps or app profiles as part of the provisioning process. You can map security requirements to specific MDM or MAM policies before deploying the apps. That planning simplifies and expedites app deployment. For example:

    • You might deploy certain apps differently.
    • You might want to make architectural changes to your XenMobile environment. The changes depend on the type of security compliance that the apps require. For example, you might want the device to be encrypted to allow the use of a critical business intelligence app. Or a certain app might require end-to-end SSL encryption or geofencing.
  • App delivery: XenMobile allows you to deliver apps as MDM apps or as MAM apps. The MDM apps appear in the XenMobile Store. This store allows you to conveniently deliver public or native apps to users. The only MDM app control you manage is to enforce device level restrictions. However, delivering apps by using MAM allows full control over app delivery and over the app itself. Delivering the apps through MAM is more suitable usually.
  • Application maintenance:
    • Perform an initial audit: Track the app version in your production environment, and the last upgrade cycle. Make note of specific features or bug fixes that required the upgrade to take place.
    • Establish baselines: Maintain a list of the latest stable release of each app. This app version is the fall-back in case an unexpected issue occurs after the upgrade. Also develop a rollback plan. Test app upgrades in a test environment before your production deployment. If possible, deploy the upgrade to a subset of production users first and then to the entire user base.
    • Subscribe to Citrix software update notifications and any third-party software vendor notifications: Keeping up to date with the latest release of the apps is critical. An early access release (EAR) build might be available for testing.
    • Devise a strategy to notify users: Define a strategy to notify users when app upgrades are available. Prepare users with training before deployment. You can send multiple notifications before updating the apps. Depending on the app, the best notification method might be email notifications or websites.

App lifecycle management represents the completed lifecycle of an app from its initial deployment through retirement. The lifecycle of an app has these phases:

  1. Requirements for specifications: Start with business case and user requirements.
  2. Development: Validate that the app meets business needs.
  3. Testing: Identify test users, issues, and bugs.
  4. Deployment: Deploy the app to production users.
  5. Maintenance: Update app version. Deploy the app in a test environment before updating the app in a production environment.

Application lifecycle Example using Secure Mail

  1. Requirements for specifications: As a security requirement, you require a mail app that is containerized and supports MDX security policies.
  2. Development: Validate that the app meets business needs. You must be able to apply MDX policy controls to the app.
  3. Testing: Assign Secure Mail to a test users group and deploy the corresponding MDX file from the XenMobile Server. The test users validate that they can successfully send and receive email, and have calendar and contact access. The test users also report issues and identify bugs. Based on the test users’ feedback you optimize the Secure Mail configuration for production use.
  4. Deployment: When the testing phase is complete, you assign Secure Mail to production users and deploy the corresponding MDX file from XenMobile.
  5. Maintenance: A new update to Secure Mail is available. You download the new MDX file from Citrix downloads and replace the existing MDX file on the XenMobile Server. Instruct the users to perform the update. Note: Citrix recommends that you complete and test this process in a test environment. Then, upload the app to a XenMobile production environment and deploy the app to users.

For more information, see Wrapping iOS Mobile Apps and Wrapping Android Mobile Apps.

App Provisioning and Deprovisioning