Still Running Citrix XenApp v6.5? The Clock Is Ticking

citrix xenapp deadlineCitrix XenApp v6.5 hit EOL June 30, 2018

Citrix XenApp v6.5 was a great, stable product release. XenApp v6.5 on Windows Server 2008R2 has been the workhorse for lots of organizations for a long time. But it’s time to move on. If you’re still running XenApp v6.5 you need to know a few things. First, it hit “End of Maintenance” a month ago (December 31, 2017). That means there will be no more product upgrades or updates released, and that means that it will be a security risk to continue running it, and that risk will increase every day. Second, it will hit “End of Life” on June 30, 2018, and that’s not very far away. At that point, you will be pretty much on your own. There may still be some support information available in the support forums or documentation library, but that information will no longer be updated. And there will be no product support from Citrix, unless you’re willing to pay a lot of money for it. So what are your options?

First, you can opt to pay for a Citrix “Extended Support” agreement. If you give them enough money, Citrix will agree to support you until January, 2020. But this option will probably be beyond the financial means of any but the largest enterprises.https://www.xiologix.com/citrix/You can upgrade your on-prem Citrix infrastructure to v7.x. At the time this was published, the current “Long Term Service Release” was v7.15. You should note, however, that the product architecture has changed. If you have also been running XenDesktop, the architecture won’t be new to you, because what’s happened is that Citrix has converged the architecture of XenApp and XenDesktop so that you manage them the same way. Desktop Studio is the tool you use to define your desktop and application “catalogs” and assign them to user groups, and Desktop Director is the tool you use to manage the infrastructure. The Desktop Delivery Controller performs the broker function. Citrix StoreFront Server replaces the old Web Interface. And if you’ve been using the old “CSG” (Citrix Secure Gateway) to provide secure access from the Internet, you’re going to need to move to some version of the NetScaler or NetScaler Gateway.

There are some migration tools available, but in most cases, the best approach is going to be to simply build a new infrastructure alongside the old one, test it, and then move your users over. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, particularly if your servers are virtualized (and if they’re not, this would be a fine time to virtualize them), but it will take something in the neighborhood of 80 – 100 hours of professional services if you have a Citrix partner like Xiologix do it for you.

You also have the option of moving to a Citrix Cloud based deployment. In this model, the Desktop Director, Desktop Studio, Desktop Delivery Controller(s), and Citrix StoreFront Server(s) are all in the Azure cloud, and are maintained and updated as necessary by Citrix, and you provide the virtualized hosts that will run the XenApp servers themselves and/or the XenDesktop virtual desktops. These hosts can be in your own data center, in the co-location facility of your choice, or in a public cloud facility such as Amazon or Azure. The NetScaler Gateway service can run either place, but it is usually preferable to run it wherever the XenApp/XenDesktop hosts are running.

The good news about moving to Citrix Cloud is that your migration costs will drop from 80 – 100 hours of professional services to something in the order of 24 hours. The other good news is that you’ll never have to upgrade the control plane components again – Citrix will take care of that, so it will be “evergreen.” The bad news is that, at present, there is an upgrade path only for customers who have 200 or more existing licenses. If you’re deployment is smaller than that, you would be abandoning your existing perpetual licenses and replacing them with Citrix Cloud subscription licenses. (This may change as time goes on – initially, upgrade licenses were only available for customers with 500+ existing licenses. This just dropped to 200+, and may drop further in the future.)

What you shouldn’t do is put things off any longer. If you don’t already have a plan for migrating off of XenApp v6.5, we’d be happy to help you put one together…but please don’t wait. The clock is ticking.

Related: Prominent Citrix Engineer joins Xiologix

 
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