Ecosystems in Orca are the fundamental management tool in Orca. Think of ecosystems as a logical tree with nodes used to segment and group the components of your application into something that's visually intuitive. Ecosystems can be constructed at any number of levels deep and wide, depending on how you want to represent your application. The top and intermediate nodes of the tree represent management divisions, and the leaf nodes at the end of each branch represent the application endpoints, where a piece of the application lives.

As an example of an application ecosystem in Orca, this ecommerce application is an ASP.NET application that lives in three environments (Dev, QA, and Production). Orca is managing the IIS and SQL Server configurations for this application in each environment.

Ecosystems are segmented into global and template ecosystems. Global ecosystems are visible to all Orca users and are managed by team membership. Users with access to specific global ecosystems can browse the structure, make changes, and populate the ecosystem with configuration data. Template ecosystems are used as starting points for ecosystem implementation by users of the system. Orca comes with common application ecosystem templates, and users may design their own to be promoted at a later time.

Orca provides three different mechanisms for modeling, managing, and viewing your ecosystems. Users can toggle between these three views at any time depending on their needs.

The ecosystem builder view (shown above) is a visual box diagram where users can drag-and-drop components to model their ecosystem, see how components are related to one another, and add, reorder, or delete nodes.

The ecosystem explorer view is a file/folder representation of all nodes and their structure as shown here:

The ecosystem heat map view shows at-a-glance which nodes are in and out of compliance. This circle diagram shows “heat” no matter how many levels deep your ecosystem goes.

Creating Ecosystems and Nodes

Now that your servers are added to Orca (part 1), go to the Ecosystem slide out to begin building your ecosystem structure.

On the left side of the Console, click the menu toggle. This shows you the existing ecosystems in your environment and allows you to create a new ecosystem. To create a new ecosystem, click the + button.

Provide a name for your ecosystem. It’s okay if you’re unsure of the naming structure you’d like to use; you can always change the name of the ecosystem at a later time. Click Save.

You can now add Orca nodes to your newly created ecosystem. To do so, right click on the name of the ecosystem in the Explorer View. Click Insert Node.

Type the name for the node and click Save.

From here, you can build an even deeper structure. For example, you can right click on your newly created node in the Explorer View to create sub-nodes. Below is an example of a simple ecosystem structure.

Always add at least one Orca node to your ecosystem. Do not attach servers, and subsequently, configuration data, to the top level of the ecosystem.