This is a question, and one I have been getting a lot lately, especially from our partners in Vegas this week at Citrix Summit.
And it’s a tough question. Should we build this new Citrix deployment on the awesome 7.6 FP3 release with Thinwire+ that came out 4 months ago? Or should we go with the new 7.7 release that shipped right before the New Year? Or should we wait for the 7.8 release that Calvin said is coming later in Q1?
Very fair questions, all of them, and it’s always been difficult for me to provide customers with general guidance in this area, but in my opinion, the answer just got a lot less “cloudy” thanks to something called LTSR.
Allow me to explain what LTSR is and why I think it’s a big deal.
LTSR stands for Long Term Service Release. And it’s something we announced this week at Summit, but it probably didn’t get the air time it deserved. A quick bit of history and then I’ll get to the point.
We (Citrix) have historically shipped major releases fairly frequently (which is one problem), but the bigger problem is we EOL releases after about 2-3 years from the initial ship date. So who cares?
Well, the majority of our large XenApp/XenDesktop customers perform migrations every 4-5 years, on average (i.e. upgrading from XenApp 4.5 in 2003 to XenApp 6.5 in 2008, 5 years later). So the “math” never added up and our customers were forced to upgrade their Citrix products before they really wanted to upgrade their underlying MSFT platforms. And trust me, we heard about this one from our larger customers who simply couldn’t keep up and stay current.
So, we listened and have acted on this customer feedback. I’m very proud of our Desktops & Apps Product team for stepping up to the plate and delivering (I’ve been lobbying for a program like LTSR for the last decade!)
You can read more about the details of LTSR here (and I encourage you to do so since some things are excluded from LTSR and there are more LTSR components than just XenApp and XenDesktop). And the LTSR FAQ will answer many of your questions. But the net-net is LTSR gives our customers who value supportability, predictability and stability something to stand on for 5 YEARS. And I mentioned stability there – we’re going to test these LTSR components a bit more than CR components, which is great. So you can expect fewer support cases if you stick with these LTSR components as well.
Lastly, I love LTSR because I’m constantly asked that question about which Citrix version to go with and what works “best” with 7.6 in terms of compatibility (Receiver 4.3 or 4.4, StoreFront 3.0.1 or 3.5, etc.). And now I can confidently recommend 7.6.3 with StoreFront 3.0.1 with Receiver 4.4, for example, which are part of the first LTSR release. I’m not saying you shouldn’t or can’t upgrade to 7.7 or 7.8 when it comes out; if you have a true business requirement for zones, PVS FIPS support or desperately need SSPR, then go for it.
But if you value long-term supportability and predictability, then you might want to stick with LTSRs moving forward. I’m certainly going to try and get most of my large customers on the LTSR track to make both of our lives easier in 2016 and beyond.
I hope you’re as excited about this program as I am. I think it’s a great win for our customers and options are always good things to have. And by the way – if you’re curious what other key announcements I thought were a “big deal” at Summit, check out my quick summary over on MYCUGC. The second item should look pretty familiar. 😉
Lead Architect, Director & LTSR Champion
Citrix Consulting Services (CCS)