A little over a week ago, Dan Feller and I hosted a webinar on XenApp 7.6 Upgrade Planning.
During that webinar we covered the latest information on migrating to XenApp 7.6 Feature Packs, as well as the XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 3. We walked through some of the latest migration tools, like Citrix AppDNA for application compatibility testing and Project Serenity for exporting XenApp 6/6.5 policies and app setting and importing them into XenApp 7.6.
If you missed the webinar, I highly recommend watching the live recording available on citrix.com.
If you are looking for the latest information to help get you started with your XenApp 7.6 Feature Pack 2 migration, so you can benefit from the latest improvements in app virtualization, start here www.citrix.com/xenapp/upgrade.
The only down side was that Dan and I only had 1 hour to cover this very popular topic and there were a lot of questions that we didn’t get a chance to answer, so I’ve extracted the Frequently Asked Questions from the webinar and outlined them here, so your excellent questions and associated answers are available for everyone’s benefit. If there is a question I didn’t answer or you just watched the recording and have a new one, please add it in the comments section below.
How are the XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 3 features broken down by edition?
All the features, by edition, are listed
on Citrix.com. You need to be active on Software Maintenance (SWM) or Subscription Advantage (SA) to have access, but to help clarify here’s the break down.
|XenApp 6.5 FP3 Feature||Edition entitlement|
|StoreFront 3.0||Advanced, Enterprise and Platinum(All editions)|
|New Desktop and Web Receiver||All editions|
|HDX RealTime Optimization Pack 1.8||Enterprise and Platinum|
|Director 7.6.300||All editions|
|AppDNA 7.6||Platinum only|
|Provisioning Services 7.6||Platinum (VM Hosted Apps in Enterprise)|
|VM Hosted Apps||Enterprise and Platinum|
|XenServer 6.5 SP1||XenServer Standard – All editionsXenServer Enterprise – Platinum|
|Universal Print server 7.6||All editions|
|Profile Management 5.2.1||All editions|
|License Server 11.12.1||All editions|
We are currently running XenApp 6.0. Will we need to upgrade to 6.5 then to 7.6?
No, you can upgrade directly to XenApp 7.6 and Project Serenity, the migration tool, supports XenApp 6.0.
Is XenApp Feature Pack 3 available for download now?
If we upgrade an existing XenApp 6.5 environment, does the upgrade move the existing XenApp 2008R2 server to FMA (FlexCast Management Architecture)?
Yes. That’s exactly what will happen. If you run the XenApp 7.6 installer on a XenApp 6.5 server, the 7.6 installation will remove the XenApp 6.5 server from the current 6.5 farm, remove the 6.5 software and then install the 7.6 Virtual Delivery Agent making it easy to move a 2008R2 server from 6.5 to 7.6 without requiring a Server OS upgrade.
Can I integrate my existing XenApp 6.5 (IMA) environment with a new XenDesktop 7.6 (FMA) and make one environment as the primary in StoreFront?
StoreFront will enable you to aggregate XenApp 6.5 apps and XenDesktop 7.6 desktops and apps in one app store. In addition to simply aggregating all those resources, StoreFront also lets you, the admin, identify which resources from all those environments you one to make available. For example, if you have Microsoft Word published on XenApp 6.5 and Word published in a XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 environment, you can actually pick one version of Word from the farm you want, so the users aren’t confused with two instances of Word appearing in StoreFront.
This configuration is documented here: http://docs.citrix.com/enus/storefront/3/sf-manage/sf-configure-resource-filtering.html
Will XenApp 7.6 still use the ICA file?
XenApp 7.6 uses an ICA file. You can actually see the ICA file in Web Interface and StoreFront per CTX115304. However, if you are asking about custom ICA files, those are currently not supported.
Is StoreFront necessary during an upgrade/migration?
No. You can still use Web Interface for both XenApp 6.5 and 7.6 environments; however, StoreFront has some new features, like application deduplication, that will make it easier on your users if you he both 6.5 and 7.6 running in parallel.
Can Citrix Receiver for Windows 4.3 be installed for ahead of time for XenApp 6.5 in prep for upgrade to XenApp 7.6?
Yes. Receiver for Windows 4.3 is backwards compatible with older versions of XenApp all the way to 4.5, so you can upgrade to Receiver for Windows 4.3 now as you are working through you XenApp upgrade.
With Receiver 4.2, we received ADM templates, but with Receiver 4.3 we received ADMX files. Why did this change and should we replace the ADM with ADMX?
Yes, you should replace ADM with ADMX. Only ADMX are used in Receiver 4.3 and higher, the ADMX files should make updating to 4.3 easier for the admins. The instructions for the ADMX are available here:
Is AppDNA specific for a Citrix implementation or can it be used for more general purposes?
The AppDNA licensing guidance on Citrix.com is ‘If you receive AppDNA as a component of the Platinum Edition of XenDesktop or XenApp, your AppDNA license covers only Applications as used within your Platinum Edition environment’.
What would you recommend for an in-place migration from Windows 2008 to 2012R2 where cloud is not available?
We would typically recommend building net new, just to minimize risk, but if you are looking to do an in-place migration from 2008 to 2012R2 on a production server, we would recommend making sure you have a good back up of the machine first and assess the current applications on your 2008 machine with AppDNA to ensure that they are compatible to 2012R2 first. If all the applications are compatible, uninstall XenApp 5 from the 2008 server, run the OS upgrade to 2012R2, then install XenApp 7.6.
Is AppDNA specific for a Citrix implementation or can it be used for more general purposes?
The AppDNA licensing guidance on Citrix.com is ‘If you receive AppDNA as a component of the Platinum Edition
Is it possible to put one server into multiple XenApp 7 Delivery Groups like in XenApp 6.5 where one server could be in multiple Worker Groups? Is there the possibility to publish 1 desktop with different names in the same Delivery Group?
In XenApp 7, you assign servers to Machine Catalogs, these are similar to Worker Groups (6.5) in that the machines are configured and managed together as a group and the same apps and desktops are available on all the machines in the catalog. A single server belongs to one Machine Catalog. However, multiple Machine Catalogs can be assigned to a single Delivery Group – a Delivery Group is where you assign users to Machine Catalogs. So, you can publish 1 desktop from one Machine Catalog and another desktop from another Machine Catalog and assign both Machine Catalogs to one Delivery Group (or group of users).
We have all 2008 R2 servers in our XenApp farm, do we need to upgrade all of them to 2012 R2 when upgrading to XenApp 7.6?
No, that’s the beauty of the new architecture; the XenApp version is no longer restricted to a single Operating System. You can actually uninstall XenApp 6.5 from your 2008R2 server and then install XenApp 7.6 on the same server without upgrading the OS. The XenApp 7.6 installer will actually do the leg work for you.
What infrastructure is required to set up AppDNA, is the XenApp 7.6 site a pre-requisite?
Just to help clarify, we made AppDNA available to Platinum customers with the release of XenApp 7.5; however, you do not need a XenApp 7.6 site to utilize AppDNA. You only need to be active on maintenance or subscription advantage to access the AppDNA download on Citrix.com, then you can setup AppDNA and simply point AppDNA to your license server that has a XenApp (or XenDesktop) Platinum license installed, here are the system requirements for setting up AppDNA 7.6.
I see that AppDNA can help with Server 2003 apps, but is there a way to look into Presentation Server 4.5 apps? AppDNA can tell you if the applications are compatible with the OS, but it can also tell if applications are compatible for XenApp Hosting, i.e. compatible with XenApp.
How long after the upgrade can we got strictly to a XenApp 7.6 site and retire the XenApp 6.5 farm?
You can retire the XenApp 6.5 farm as soon as you upgrade to XenApp 7.6 site if you’d like. We convey the benefits of running the 6.5 and 7.6 in parallel, simply because we have made and architecture change and running the environments in parallel enables you to transition to the new architecture over time.
How does Citrix suggest we implement secure access to XenApp 7.6? We have Subscription Advantage and have been sold that based on no-cost version upgrades, but without support for Secure Gateway we are being told that we need purchase a NetScaler Gateway.
Secure Gateway is limited as its only ICA proxy solution. Our customers were asking for more, especially from a security perspective. NetScaler Gateway is a more secure solution for secure access. NetScaler Gateway is a hardened appliance (virtual or physical), it is an ICA Proxy solution as well a much more like SmartAccess policies, StoreFront, and Receiver integration and more. So, the recommendation is NetScaler Gateway for secure remote access.
If you have already published an application through XenApp, when does it make sense to use App-V instead? Should App-V be considered as part of an upgrade?
A few things to consider here: if you already have an application published in XenApp, you can use AppDNA to see how compatible that application is for App-V. With App-V, you can stream applications to the user’s device and you can also stream them to the XenApp server, so you can have them in both places, depending on the use case. App-V would basically introduce another layer of isolation. I think if I was going to look at streaming technologies as part of an upgrade, with XenApp specifically in mind, I would look at Provisioning Services or Machine Creation Services where I could stream the whole XenApp server with operating system and applications, simply because it streamlines spinning up a test/disaster recovery environment and/or system/application patching.
How we can upgrade XenApp 6.5 Zones for different locations?
With XenApp 7.6 you’ll need to have a different site at each location. Depending on the size of those sites, this might be beneficial as this will allow you to build smaller failure domains, as each site is independent, a fatal error at one site will not bring down another site. However, for XenApp 6.5 deployments with many small zones of only a few servers each, if you are unable to consolidate into a single data center, you will want to remain on XenApp 6.5 for the time being.
We use multiple XenDesktop 5.6 farms, can we integrate with 7.6 or are we too far out of date & need to a complete changeover?
If you are running XenDesktop 5.6, you can integrate with XenApp 7.6 in that you can deliver XenApp 7.6 apps to your XenDesktop 5.6 desktops. However, you won’t get the integrated management benefits of
XenApp and XenDesktop on a single architecture until you are on the 7 platform.
Which version of StoreFront supports this coexistence of 6.5 and 7.6?
StoreFront has always supported enumerating multiple XenApp environments, however the ‘application deduplication’ feature has been perfected since StoreFront 2.5, StoreFront 2.6 added more support for some XenApp 6.5 functionality, and the ability to customize StoreFront is available in 3.0.
If you have XenApp 6.5 and XenDesktop 7.6 should you setup different StoreFront datastores?
StoreFront uses a built-in datastore and the architecture is designed to support multiple XenApp environments, so you don’t have to setup multiple instances, but you could if you wanted to.
Is it possible to run Web Interface and StoreFront at the same time to aid the migration process?
Yes. Web Interface supports XenApp 7.6 and StoreFront supports XenApp 4.5 and higher, so you can run them in parallel. However you’d have to direct users to the one you wanted them to use.
Can I use StoreFront 3.0 with XenApp 6.5 without FP3?
Yes. Web Interface supports XenApp 7.6 supports XenApp 4.5 and higher, so XenApp 6.5 Feature Pack 3 is not required.
With StoreFront, is there any major difference that end user will see in terms of using the environment and accessing application. Currently the employees are using Web URL to login and access the applications?
No, employees can continue to use the Web URL of StoreFront to login. In addition, if the employee does not have Citrix Receiver installed, the published applications and desktops will actually launch within an HTML5 web browser, so they have access under any circumstances.
What is the best, upgrading XenApp 6.5 FP2 to FP3 or upgrade to 7.6?
Feature Pack 3 for XenApp 6.5 is all the XenApp 7.x components that enhance a XenApp 6.5 farm. So, this is how I like to think about it, I can install the FP3 components (like StoreFront or Provisioning Services) now and they bring enhancements to my 6.5 environment immediately, while I’m building out my 7.6 environment for the future. Then after I have my 7.6 environment built, I’ll already have some of the ‘next-step’ items completed.
What is the difference with the Feature Pack 3 for XenApp 6.5 and the Rollup Packs for XenApp 6.5? Feature Pack 3 contains updated auxiliary components for XenApp 6.5, like StoreFront or Provisioning Services. Rollup Packs, also known as Hot Fix Rollup Packs, were a bundle of fixes to the core XenApp 6.5 code that you could apply to strengthen the XenApp 6.5 architecture.
Do you have any videos or training available for XenApp 7.x and migrating from an earlier version of XenApp?
Yes, all the resources available to help you get up-to-speed on XenApp 7.x are available on citrix.com/xenapp/upgrade.
Which version of Citrix Licensing Server supports 6.5, 7.5, 7.6, and when does License Server get upgraded??
The latest License Server 11.12.1 will support all versions of XenApp, the License Server gets updated regularly with major releases.
Are there any additional components needed or additional costs incurred to allow a company to enable/leverage HDX optimized routing?
HDX optimize routing available within the HDX RealTime Optimization Pack does not require any additional costs. The RealTime Optimization Pack is composed of 2 parts. The Citrix HDX RealTime Connector runs in the datacenter on the XenApp or XenDesktop environment, this is a separate component that needs to be downloaded and installed. The second part is the RealTime Media Engine, this is integrated into Citrix Receiver.
XenApp 7.5 has ‘Legacy Graphics Mode’. Is still available in XenApp 7.6?
Yes, Legacy Mode is still available.
Does the migration tool handle the Group Policy objects as well?
Serenity is designed to move policies that are configured within XenApp. If policies are configured as GPOs, you simply assign those GPOs to the new XenApp 7.6 OU and you don’t need to use the migration utility.
Is System Center Configuration Manager 2012 supported with XenApp 7.6?
Yes, there is even a connector for XenApp 7.6 available for download here:
Is there anything to consider with XenApp 7.6 regarding Framehawk integration?XenApp 7.6 available for download here: https://www.citrix.com/content/citrix/en_us/downloads/xendesktop/components/xendesktop-and-xenapp-75-connector-for-sccm.html
There are a few things to consider. The first is that Framehawk is only supported for corporate broadband wireless on the internal network; it’s not supported with NetScaler Gateway at this time. The other thing is that Framehawk falls back to Thinwire if any condition is not met: for example, Citrix Receiver 4.3 for Windows, the hotfix on the VDA, and UDP ports open on firewall, if any. Remember, Framehawk is just one more performance optimization tool available from the Citrix HDX stack. You must test which protocol optimization is right for your conditions, whether ThinWire Plus, Framehawk, H.264 compression, and so on.
Is Desktop Lock going packaged with Receiver or will companies have to script the installation?
Desktop Lock is included in Citrix Receiver install, however you need to include a flag in the install execution via command line, so scripting might be beneficial, more info here: http://docs.citrix.com/en-us/receiver/windows/4-3/receiver-windows-desktop-lock.html
In regards to Subscription Advantage (SA) expiration dates, if I have licenses with different SA expiration dates where half the licenses are eligible for upgrade and half are not, what would happen when I install XenApp 7.6 and point it at my license server? Would I be able to use half the licenses, all or none?
The older SA burn-in date on the licenses would be invalid with XenApp 7.6, the new licenses would be recognized. So you would have access to half the licenses (the one with the newer SA date), however there are multiple ‘get current’ options for SA that you could leverage to avoid running out of licenses.