Of the compelling Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop product announcements in 2016, the Long Term Service Release (LTSR) as part of XenApp and XenDesktop Servicing Options has really resonated with you, our customers. We’ve received tremendous feedback on LTSR, including comments like:

Citrix LTSR – Excellent news for us”,We are going to stick with LTSR for the next few years” and “Citrix is taking some steps in the right direction with these new servicing options.

This blog post provides a the behind the scenes look into LTSR, and shares some of the key conversations I have had with the developers, engineers and product managers who helped frame our first 7.6 Long Term Service Release and the on-going business framework around these new Servicing Options.

First, I’d like to walk you through a conversation I had with Juan Rivera, VP of Cloud & Server Engineering), where we discussed how the shorter duration of the Current Release (CR) cycles improve product quality.

Juan shared that prior to the new Servicing Options model, we were on year-long release cycles. Citrix engineering would work on various different aspects of the product over an extended period of time, routinely checking in hundreds of different code changes while running a multitude of different testing combinations in parallel. The sheer number of code changes – even when evaluated through our extensive testing process – could result in an unexpected behavior at a customer implementation.

With the new Current Release cycle (remember 7.8 and 7.9 are Current Releases), Citrix engineering is able to focus on a specific limited number of components and extensively test smaller code changes, thereby improving the product quality of the components that are being delivered as part of this rapid current release cycle. This is also why you are seeing releases so frequently, as Citrix works harder to bring you more features faster with the highest level of product quality top of mind. But if you are still craving longer upgrade cycles, Long Term Service Releases combine the benefits of multiple Current Releases into one single release for easier upgrade cycles.

My conversation with Juan was so insightful that I thought it would be good to speak with Ed Zimny, Sr. Director of Product Development regarding LTSR Cumulative Updates and the associated release process.

With LTSR, there is an established base version for every component included in the LTSR. (Here’s where you can go learn more about the 7.6 LTSR Component List). What I wanted to understand from Ed was how this impacted the Cumulative Update release process. I learned that it’s important to understand that a Cumulative Update will be a single package that includes all the updates – remember a Cumulative Update targets fixes only.

This means that Ed’s team will be able to test a single Cumulative Update package that includes all the fixes. With a single Cumulative Update package to test, Ed’s team can narrow down the component test matrix and spend more cycles focused on testing a single collection of components together across common user scenarios. This translates into a few key benefits for you: you will be able to install all the updates in a single package (which by the way also means less time worrying about a bunch of one-off fixes); and it also means that the components contained in that single package have been tested together in a consistent manner before being released.

I extended my conversation to the Lifecycle Management (LCM) team and made a point to visit with Yi Ye, Sr. Director of Product Development for Lifecycle Management (LCM).

Yi’s team is responsible for many things one of which is identifying and producing post-ship product fixes. They have been one of the key driving forces behind the new Servicing Options, since having a baseline version of components will allow his team to create fixes faster.

Since Yi knows that any LTSR issue that reaches the LCM team will be based on a standard set of component versions, his team should be able to address any fix requests you might have at a more efficient pace. Through all the conversations I was fortunate to have with all the different engineering teams, it was apparent to me that the new Long Term Service Release will help Citrix better serve you and help you better serve your user community.

Last, but not least, I want to mention Kireeti Valicherla, senior product manager who has been my guiding force through all things LTSR related.

He led the first LTSR release and joined the Product Management team with an extensive LCM background, so I thought I would touch base with him regarding the latest updates regarding LTSR and the lessons we’ve learned from the first release. Kireeti spends a lot of time speaking with customers about LTSR and answering their questions, he mentioned how one of the key improvements for the next LTSR is going to be around the installation of both LTSR and the Cumulative Updates.

Kireeti was able to share that there will be a focus on a more simplified installation via a MetaInstaller which has been included in Cumulative Update 1 for 7.6 LTSR. He also highlighted that we have a new LTSR Compatible version of Citrix Receiver for Windows that you can download here, and he would like you to try out the new LTSR Compliance Tool, which will let you know if you are compliant and if you aren’t, what you need to update to become compliant. However, I think the most important item Kireeti highlighted is the LSTR update regarding Windows 10 and the 7.6 LTSR.  Kireeti is preparing a blog on this new announcement, so stay tuned for more information.

I hope you found my LTSR Behind the Scenes tour to be informational and a big thank you to everyone I mentioned for letting me dive into their area of expertise.  If you have not read the Servicing Options (LTSR) FAQ and you have questions about LTSR, I highly recommend you check it out.  The FAQ answers your questions regarding LTSR release schedules, understanding the Current Release (CR) versus the Long Term Service Release (LTSR) differences, the new Windows 10 LTSR updates and more. Hope this blog gave you a little more insights into helping you decide if LTSR is right for you.

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