By: Sridhar Mullapudi and Vinny Sosa

Everyone is downsizing and in the middle of some pretty big cost cutting initiatives focused on “doing more with less”. Chances are you’re involved in this kind of project at your own company. Your team might have gotten smaller, your workload larger and to top it all off, your CTO has asked you to go back to your vendors and get some leverage, try to work out a way to reduce costs or even get more value for the same dollars. They might even be contemplating dropping yearly maintenance program renewals to help save cash. In keeping with the theme of large economic stimulus packages, Citrix is announcing a XenApp 5 Feature Pack which will be made available in mid-March. The primary goal of this release is basically to give you more value with much less in the way of resources, budget and time. Citrix XenApp 5 Feature Pack gives customers a huge chunk of value on top of what they already have. Plus, if you’re planning on buying XenApp soon, we just sweetened the deal for you. Here’s what’s included:

  • XenServer for XenApp… Free? -- Yup, you read that right. You may have seen our announcement earlier today and learned that we’re now giving you XenServer virtualization technology at no additional charge. You’ll be able to virtualize your entire XenApp deployment from web interface to IMA. No need to virtualize Citrix XenApp with those other guys (err… vMwhat?). Plus, you can virtualize anything in your data center. Have at it. You can use XenServer for free with all editions of XenApp so you save big.

  • Manage your whole farm from a single image with provisioning services -- as if server virtualization were not enough, we’ve also added in server provisioning which lets you manage all of your XenApp hosting servers using a single image. You can spin-up and repurpose physical or virtual XenApp servers on the fly. You can even reboot to get a squeaky-clean image – again, no need for third party software. Plus, you reduce your overall effort for managing your XenApp farm. This is included in XenApp Platinum edition.
  • Right-size your servers with load testing services -- Server provisioning and virtualization wouldn’t be complete without knowing exactly how much capacity you’re managing. Load testing services is a toolset for creating realistic simulation scripts that help you benchmark your XenApp hosting servers. You can create scripts easily (no coding, no kidding, unless that’s your thing) and then run those scripts as real sessions on XenApp servers. Since it’s included with XenApp Enterprise and Platinum editions, there’s no need for third party benchmarking software, or the additional 3rd party training, maintenance, and support. Plus, by knowing your true capacity, you have less idle capacity sitting around so you save money, not to mention, being able to address business requests faster.
  • Offline licensing for application streaming and single sign-on at no additional charge -- Application streaming for desktops and servers has been available for Enterprise and Platinum customers since our 4.5 release. However, customers had to buy licenses to help them support offline usage of applications. Not anymore. In XenApp 5 Feature Pack, we’ve made application streaming available to Advanced edition customers. Even better, there’s no need to buy separate licenses to enable offline application access. Now all XenApp users can take their applications offline. For Platinum edition customers, we’ve also added the offline/desktop use license for Single sign-on at no additional charge. This could save you a ton of money in help desk support costs. Plus, if you haven’t been using the self-service password reset feature then you’ve been missing out on additional costs savings. These licensing changes save a ton of cash and give you a complete application delivery solution for all of your users and all of your applications. Why pay separate maintenance and support fees or manage solutions from multiple vendors when it’s so easy with Citrix XenApp?
  • Eliminate profile reconciliation issues with profile management -- this is a pretty handy addition. Profile management maintains and consolidates a user’s roaming profile so that you don’t get any first write/overwrite issues. Additionally, it gives users a faster logon and seamless experience when accessing their applications from any device or location. This is going to reduce your support costs. Profile management is included in XenApp Enterprise and Platinum editions.
  • Reduce telco costs with EasyCall voice services and click-to-conference features -- You can reduce data center costs if you’re using EasyCall by migrating from the physical appliance to the new virtual appliance included with XenApp 5 Feature Pack. If you haven’t been using EasyCall, it’s a great way to reduce your telco costs by letting users leverage your low cost corporate long distance contract to make calls when they are working remotely or on-the road. Citrix has also added a click-to-conference feature that allows you to start a conference call from your computer with up to 50 people. That could help you save money from those conferencing services that you pay for by the minute. In XenApp 5 Feature Pack, it’ll be available in all editions of XenApp. Again, no additional charge.
  • Workflow studio orchestration – Citrix is also releasing Workflow Studio orchestration, an automation tool designed to help tie together multiple Citrix products and automate common IT tasks. It’s a v1 but keep your eyes on this one as it will simplify your life as the library of Citrix API’s grow with future versions.

Mind you, this list is in addition to all of the great technologies that are already a part of XenApp today like secure application access, application performance monitoring, SmartAuditor session recording, preferential load balancing, branch optimization, Citrix HDX and printer management. All of the new features will be available mid-march 2009 and can be accessed by anyone with active subscription advantage as of March 9, 2009 (this includes anyone who bought XenApp after March 9, 2008). As a quick reference, here’s a table of the new features that shows availability by edition:

Advanced Enterprise Platinum
Citrix XenServer virtualization platform
Application streaming
EasyCall voice services
Workflow Studio orchestration
Load testing services
Profile management
Provisioning services
Single sign-on

Compared to purchasing XenApp and all of these solutions separately, whether from Citrix or some 3rd party, you’d be paying upwards of $900 per user and over $100 per year in maintenance fees, not to mention support contracts, training and other costs. In addition, you still need to factor in the overall line of business cost savings you get from increased efficiency and the like. To top it all off, XenServer can be used for any number of servers you wish and we haven’t counted that ether. Obviously there’s substantial value that’s been added to XenApp in this feature pack – over $300 of value per license and over $40 of subscription advantage value per license per year.

Are you a loyal customer that renews subscription advantage like it’s an unshakable New Year’s resolution? Well, if you’ve been trying to justify subscription advantage, I think the justification is clear. If you’ve been waiting for a reason to move to XenApp 5 then wait no longer. And if you aren’t a Citrix customer yet, then take note of how important our customers are to us and let us be your partner in 2009 and beyond.

Learn more at Citrix.com/upgradetoxenapp5. Stay tuned for weekly blogs on XenApp 5 Feature Pack. As always, let us know your thoughts, questions and feedback below.

This post is part of a multi-part series on XenApp 5 Feature Pack: