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Today is a great day for XenApp deployments both new and old.

Feature Pack 2 has been released for XenApp 7.6–more information on that is available on Dan Cote’s blog post–and Feature Pack 3 has been released for XenApp 6.5! Feature Pack 3 for XenApp 6.5 was announced at Synergy last month along with news—that excited the audience—that Citrix was extending the End of Maintenance (EOM) of XenApp 6.5 for Windows Server 2008 R2 through the end of 2017 to give you more time to transition to the new XenApp 7 platform.

Feature Pack 3 for XenApp 6.5 includes:

  • Customizable app store that ensures each user gets the same access experience across any device with StoreFront 3.0.
  • Simple, unified client that aggregates access to Windows and mobile apps in new Citrix Receivers.
  • Enhanced user experience with Skype for Business, Microsoft Lync and Office 365 on Windows, Mac and Linux devices with the Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.8.
  • Powerful application compatibility tools that simplify migration with AppDNA 7.6.
  • Advanced image management enhances that slashes shared storage costs with Provisioning Services 7.6.
  • Accelerated user logons and intelligent management of user’s profile settings with an improved Profile management 5.2.1 service.
  • Real-time trend and diagnostic information on users, applications and desktops to aid helpdesk staff with troubleshooting from Director 7.6.3.
  • And more!

Citrix is releasing Feature Pack 3 for XenApp 6.5 to enable customers who are making plans to upgrade their XenApp 6.5 environment to XenApp 7.6 in the future, but are coordinating their XenApp 7.6 upgrade alongside other application, operating system, and hardware upgrade projects.  With Feature Pack 3, XenApp 6.5 customers can deploy enhanced, cross-platform components that will bring value to their XenApp 6.5 implementation while simplifying the transition to XenApp 7.6 given that the Feature Pack 3 components also integrate with a XenApp 7.6 environment in parallel.  Feature Pack 3 is available to any XenApp customer with active Software Maintenance or SA as of June 24, 2015.

Now that you have the information on what’s in Feature Pack 3, where do you go from here?  My recommendations are:

  • It’s still a great time to upgrade to XenApp 7.6, so full speed ahead!  Get all the resources you need to keep your project moving forward at Citrix.com/XenApp/Upgrade and remember, migrating to new XenApp 7.6 architecture is the last major upgrade you’ll ever have to do!
  • Trying to figure out where to start?  Start with StoreFront!  StoreFront is a great migration tool.  StoreFront can aggregate resources from both environments and then deliver a unique set of apps.  So get your users on StoreFront, and they’ll never know if their application is coming from XenApp 6.5 or 7.6, they just have access to the app they need.
  • Got StoreFront, now what?  Remember XenApp 7.6 can also run on Server 2008R2 just like XenApp 6.5, so use Project Serenity  to move your 6.5 settings and policies to 7.6.  Back up your 6.5 2008R2 server and install 7.6, the 7.6 seamlessly removes 6.5 and installs the 7.6 agent

There you have it! 6.5 server running on 7.6, and when the time is right, you can add in 2012 servers, maybe even try some new features like the Linux virtual desktops.

Just in case you still have more questions, here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers we have received regarding the Feature Pack 3 release:

  1. Does Feature Pack 3 add any enhancements to the core XenApp 6.5 architecture?
    1. No, Feature Pack 3 does not make any changes to the Independent Management Architecture (IMA) on which XenApp 6.5 is built.  Feature Pack 3 is a compilation of all the auxiliary XenApp 7.6 FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) components that bring performance improvements and feature enhancements to XenApp 6.5 as well.
    2. By extending the End of Maintenance for XenApp 6.5 to December 31, 2017 is Citrix also extending all XenApp 6.5 components End of Maintenance?
      1. Please reference Support KB article CTX201343 for more information on component support and extended maintenance.
      2. Should I delay my XenApp 7.6 upgrade project now that XenApp 6.5 End of Maintenance has been extended?
        1. No, the components available in Feature Pack 3 will also support XenApp 7.6, so the recommended migration approach is to upgrade mutual components such as StoreFront first, this way both the new 7.6 and existing 6.5 environments can utilize the new components and features side-by-side.  The new XenApp 7.6 Feature Pack 2 release includes additional features and enhancements not available in Feature Pack 3; therefore upgrading to XenApp 7.6 is still recommended.
        2. Is HDX with Framehawk enhancement included in Feature Pack 3 for XenApp 6.5?
          1. No, HDX with Framehawk technologies is specific to the XenApp 7.6 FlexCast Management Architecture therefore they are not included in XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 3 or applicable to a XenApp 6.5 environment.

Happy downloading and please post any additional questions regarding Feature Pack 3 for XenApp 6.5 below!