Out-of-the-box Cortex provides comprehensive support for the most common Microsoft
Hosted applications, Citrix and other complementary applications. Realising that
a number of other applications and services are offered, Cortex was designed to
cope with future expansion and to provide a framework for additional services and
Cortex Service Framework
Cortex provides a comprehensive framework for:
- Defining services.
- Delegating and configuring the service for resellers to sell.
- Provisioning the service to customers.
- Provisioning the service to users.
Services are defined through the Cortex administration interface. A service definition
will determine the behaviour of the service; for instance, can the service only
be provisioned to customers or is it a user level service? Can the service be provisioned
to a customer multiple times? For the example of a web hosting service, a customer
could be granted more than one web site. have multiple websites.
Each service has a set of "Service properties" which defines the settings for the
service. These may be default configuration settings, customer specific settings
or user specific settings.
Delegating and configuring the service for resellers to sell
Once the service has been configured and enabled, service properties can be exposed
at various levels in the system. Some properties may be available for resellers
to change, others may be customer or user specific.
Service Properties are stored in a hierarchical structure.
- Root configuration - defines the service
- Location (forest) configuration - takes the root config and allows settings to be
overridden as required by the service provider.
- Service Provider instance - as a reseller, the service provider can override settings
- Reseller - The reseller instance will inherit properties from its parent reseller.
Depending on how the service provider has configured the service, the reseller may
be able to change some properties.
- Customer - when provisioning to a customer, properties will default from the reseller
but can be overridden if required.
- User - when the customer provisions a user, configuration can again be changed based
on the defined policy.
Provisioning - User Interface
Cortex provides a default user interface for provisioning a service both to a customer
and to users. If a more advanced interface is required a .NET user control (ASCX)
file can be created to provide a custom interface.
Cortex provides standard mechanisms for storing service information and for sending
the required provisioning requests.
The user interface provides all support for provisioning the service including handling
provisioning status changes, service level resource allocation and package assignment.
Configuring Provisioning Processes
Provisioning processes are easy to define using the Cortex Provisioning Manager.
A provisioning process is made up of a number of Provisioning rules; each rule can
have conditional execution logic. When a rule executes, a provisioning action is
called and parameters from the provisioning request are used as inputs to the provisioning
Cortex comes with a library of provisioning actions. When combined with the power
of provisioning rules almost any provisioning process can be created without the
need for writing any code.
A Platform for enabling Software as a Service (SaaS)
The tasks of provisioning and delegated administration are Key to the success of
delivering software as a service. Cortex gives forward thinking service providers
a single solution for delivering hosted services.