Fare the well, XenApp 6.5. Talk about an amazing run! But alas, the product is no more… I'll break this all down in a moment and what it means for you if you still find yourself running any XenApp version except 7.6 LTSR, 7.15 LTSR or 7.14 to 7.18. June 30th was a big day for Citrix, yet it passed with barely any fanfare. I thought maybe I'd do something about that!
(information current as of July 9th, 2018)
I feel like Randy Quaid's character in Independence Day sometimes… because “Ain't I been sayin it?”
I have a special affinity for XenApp 6.5. It really was the best release Citrix had for applications. Not to say 7.15 isn't good and handles everything 6.5 did for the most part. But just like wanting to play StarCraft II pretty much until the day I die; it's sad for me to see a legacy pass. XenApp 6.5 was something special when it came to making administration easier and, well- for the most part it just worked! Database down? No worries, get it back when you can. Need to take some servers down for maintenance? No problem, just unpublish from the group… life was more simple than we thought it was in 2011 when 6.5 came out.
Now- XenApp 6.5 also holds a special place in my heart because it was the first I did a design for with Citrix Consulting. And wow… did I do a lot of 6.5 designs after that! In a way, that makes me feel really old… but it also makes me realize that good design can really stick around and stand the test of time! So when it comes to thoughts about migration- my advice is to keep that in mind. That all said- let's get into the basics of what you need to know about XenApp 6.5 going EOL and also about 7.0-7.13 CR going EOL all on the same day!
What Do You Need To Know about XenApp 6.5 EOL
Okay. The reality here is that a shocking amount of you running XenApp 6.5 have actually been EOL (End of Life) for quite some time now.
Citrix can be cryptic at times but the reality is the Lifecycle Matrix has been published for some time now. If you scroll down, expand XenApp & XenDesktop at the bottom of that list you'll see an interesting table that looks like this:
XenApp 6.x Lifecycle Dates
|XenApp for Windows Server 2008R2||6.5||EN, DE, FR, ES, JA||12-May-2015|
|N/A||***31-Dec-17 or 24-Feb-16||***30-Jun-18 or 24-Aug-16||14-Jan-20|
|XenApp Fundamentals for Windows Server 2008R2||6.0||EN, DE, FR, ES, JA||27-Oct-16|
So- End of Maintenance was some time ago now, but note the 24-Aug-16 date for EOL. Why is there two dates? Because if you had any interruptions of the Subscription Advantage – you found yourself at that date for End of Life. Rough, but true. I am always shocked how many people realized EOL was coming (or here) and quickly renewed an SA that had been dormant for a few years. Sorry folks; that little trick didn't work this time around.
Oh, but it gets better… the date for EOES (End of Extended Support) is tripping a lot of folks up too and I want to make sure this is very clear:
Just because you have an active Subscription Advantage or CSS with Citrix does NOT give you Extended Support!Just because you have an active Subscription Advantage or CSS with #Citrix does NOT give you Extended Support for #XenApp 6.5! Click To Tweet
Extended Support for XenApp 6.5 is not cheap. Quotes depend on how many servers you have, users, etc. But the last time I went thru this with XenApp 5.0, the company I was with spent close to a million for the Extended Support. You'd have to contact Citrix to get a quote but here's the thing… there's very few reasons you would ever want to do that!
Your Options if You Are Still Running XenApp 6.5
Hey- there are a lot of you out there so don't feel bad. Let's not focus on the reasons; let's focus on your options, and hopefully I can help you get on the right track.
- Pay Extended Support… it's an option- sort of like contributing money to certain political parties that NEVER win. You'll certainly help Citrix out… you may even feel good supporting them; but I can't say there would be a lot of value there.
- Upgrade to 7.15 LTSR
- It is actually somewhat straightforward to do this for smaller farms… but if you have a larger farm or aren't prepared for doing it on your own… I would fully advise you to contact me for a consultation on this. I don't say this often, but this is one of those cases where I'd rather spend 15-20 min talking to you to guide you down the right path (consulting, partner enablement, etc) than have you stumble with this.
- Server 2008 R2 is supported on 7.15 LTSR… but NOT on the CR paths. So the quick win here is to stand up a 7.15 LTSR Site, uninstall the XenApp 6.5 components from your servers and install the 7.15 LTSR VDA.
- Pay special attention to Cumulative Updates with XenApp 7.15 LTSR. These are basically the equivalent of the Cumulative Hotfix Rollup Packs- however.. pro tip here: In order to qualify for LTSR support, all in-scope components must be kept at the same LTSR CU level! Citrix has a tool to check if you are compliant at https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX209577
- Upgrade to CR (not really recommended- see below)
- Migrate to Cloud Control. This is a pretty decent option in some ways. I have used their migration tools on a few sites so far and they actually went pretty well. However; it is very important to note that not all policies and publishing are possible from the Cloud. You may not get feature parity, in other words. Also keep in mind your Session Hosts will still need to be updated, and support for 2008 R2 is sketchy at best when it comes to the Cloud. My recommendation is similar to above; validate the install with a 7.15 LTSR VDA.
- Abandon ship… I have customers that have done this; decided to go with Microsoft RDSH and their gateway…. but I'll be honest. 100% of the customers that went down that road or those that had tried VMware are now back to Citrix. It is just hard to cope with not having the full feature set. But hey- you can certainly try. All I ask is that you consider your users first if you go down this route. Test like crazy and make sure you know what you are doing.
Your Options if You Are Still Running XenApp / XenDesktop 7.0 to 7.13
Well- if you are still running these versions it tells me something right away: CURRENT RELEASE IS NOT FOR YOU! This is because XenApp and XenDesktop CR (Current Release) versions are meant to be updated EVERY 6 MONTHS. So unless you are updating that often I highly advise you do NOT use those versions.If you are still running #Citrix #XenApp 6.5 or 7.0 to 7.13 it is time to re-think your strategy away from Current Release and on to LTSR. Click To Tweet
Let me also call your attention to some additional fun facts about Current Release support:
|XenApp & XenDesktop||7.18||5-Dec-2018||5-Dec-2019||N/A|
|XenApp & XenDesktop||7.17||27-Aug-18||27-Aug-19||N/A|
|XenApp & XenDesktop||7.16||28-May-18||28-May-19||N/A|
|XenApp & XenDesktop||7.14||27-Dec-17||27-Dec-18||N/A|
|XenApp & XenDesktop||7.0 to 7.13||N/A||30-Jun-18||N/A||Maintenance for these releases is available on the latest Current Release.|
While they aren't yet EOL – 7.14 and 7.16 are ALREADY END OF MAINTENANCE! Let this also be a wake up call if you are running 7.14 – your end of life is December 27th. Of this year. That means that Citrix is only actually maintaining four releases right now. And I'll certainly remember EOM and EOL for 7.18… December 5th is my birthday!Fun Fact- #Citrix only has 4 currently maintained XenApp / XenDesktop releases today. LTSR 7.6 & 7.15 and CR 7.17 & 7.18. Click To Tweet
My Advice? Go XenApp / XenDesktop LTSR
The answer in almost every real world case is LTSR or Long Term Service Release. LTSR has a 5 year standard lifecycle and a 10 year Extended Cycle (note that this is different from XenApp 6.5). The time of always deploying the latest and greatest or ‘one gen behind' is a BAD IDEA when it comes to Citrix. So, why doesn't everyone do LTSR?
CR (Current Release) is shiny. It has new and innovative features that, if you are able to keep up with the 6 month lifecycle, can be really great for your users. Remember that LTSR locks you into a certain set of features; the same way that XenApp 6.5 has has the same features since the last Feature Release (not to be confused with Hotfix Rollup Packs). But you MUST KEEP CURRENT. If you don't have the ability to keep up with this pace, you are doing your company a disservice by staying on Current Release!
So how long do I have with LTSR?
Good news! if you are running 7.6 LTSR you have until January, 2021 until EOL and if you have Customer Success Services (note, this is NOT the same as Subscription Advantage- more here) you will be able to buy EOES (separately, of course) until January, 2026! NOW- a very important note here; there was a 7.6 release that was NOT LTSR; so make sure you are current by using the checker I linked above!
Even better news if you are running 7.15 LTSR you have until August 2022 for EOL and Extended Services available to buy until August 2027.
But my guess is given how many of you have already migrated from 7.6 to 7.15 that very few of you will make it to 2021 with it… however… I do predict that because 7.15 is the last to support 2008 R2 we'll see an abnormally long runway on that one. I guess we'll have to wait and see!
I hope this guide is useful to you- and I especially hope it was useful enough to share! I can't spread the word about this blog alone- I need your help! Click on one of the Tweet boxes, add your own or just share this article with some folks! Also don't forget to sign up for the newsletter, which will keep you up to date!