As part of the XenApp & XenDesktop in 2014 blog series, our engineers recently published two blogs covering technologies we’re working on to simplify high availablility of XenApp and XenDesktop and improving session pre-launch/linger – both on the new Flexcast Management Architecture.  As promised, there is more information coming…

Today, I want to cover migration and upgrade of XenApp, specifically what Citrix is doing to help customers start planning their migration from XenApp 6.5 to this new XenApp on the Flexcast Management Architecture.

 Rolling out XenApp 7.5 today:

Let’s start with today with XenApp 7.5. For customers planning to move to XenApp 7.5 today or in the very near future… you will need to stand up XenApp 7.5, in parallel to your existing XenApp site. StoreFront or Web Interface 5.4 would be used to aggregate the apps from the two deployments and present them to your end users. This is really no different than what most customers do today: you have a XenApp 5 for Windows Server 2003 running in parallel to your XenApp 6.5 for Windows Server 2008R2, for example. AppDNA, a feature of XenApp & XenDesktop can be leveraged to expedite the application validation process, which typically is considered the more resource intensive part of any XenApp migration project.

Rolling out XenApp with migration tool:

While not currently available, but something our developers are working on, is a migration tool and upgrade utility to help you migrate from your XenApp 6.5 to your XenApp 7.NEXT release. This procedure is intended to simply bringing your existing XenApp 6.5 workloads into the new 7.NEXT site.

At a high-level, that will work something like this:

  1. you have your existing XenApp 6.5 farm
  2. you stand up a new XenApp 7.NEXT controller (with its database) and maybe some apps delivered from Windows Servers 2012
  3. you would use a PowerShell-based migration tool to export your IMA setting from your XenApp 6.5 database, then import the important settings into your new 7.NEXT database. You can watch the video (below) as our developer Fred demonstrates how the PowerShell tool works.
  4. Once that’s done, you would run the XenApp 7.NEXT installer on your XenApp 6.5 for Windows Server. The upgrade tool will uninstall your XenApp 6.5 instance and install in its place the VDA (delivery Agent). The VDA registers with the 7.NEXT controller and you’re done.

Why do you want to do this? We know a lot of you (our customers) have spent a lot of time and resources configuring application settings, defining policies, creating folder structure/layout and validating applications for your XenApp 6.5 on Windows Server 2008R2… and we want to make sure you don’t have to re-do all that work again going to the new version of XenApp.

I understand upgrade/migrate is never easy… many of you have done a lot of configuration/settings that are unique to your environments & business needs. We hear your pain and that’s why we’re investing to help make sure your migration/upgrade to the XenApp 7 is smoother than releases before it.

The great news is, once you get to XenApp 7, the VDA’s and Controllers are upgrade-able and backwards compatible… really give you (IT) the flexibility and agility going forward on the new Flexcast architecture.

As mentioned in my earlier blog, we’ll be showcasing this and other technologies covered this blog series (i.e., they’re not currently available) at Citrix Synergy. I’ll be there, along with engineers and architects working to solve these problems, and I welcome everyone to stop by and say hello! Look forward to meeting you there!

Video on migration:

Here is the 11min video by our developer, Fred Liu, walking through the migration tool: http://www.citrix.com/tv/#videos/11001. You will need to login to view this video.

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Cris