At Citrix Synergy 2016, we announced that we are now adding Windows 10 to the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 Long Term Service Release (LTSR) Compatible Components list. There has been a lot of customer interest in LTSR; however, we know many of you are also eager to transition to Windows 10. Thus, adding Windows 10 as a Compatible Component gives you the flexibility of adding Windows 10 VDAs to your LTSR sites without breaking compliance rules. Many of you cheered for the announcement and we immediately got queries looking for more information and details on how to implement Windows 10 with 7.6 LTSR. This blog post aims to provide more context and clarity around the announcement.
Let me first begin by sharing some background information before explaining the changes we are making. When we first announced the general availability of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR in Jan 2016, we created three categories of components:
- Compliant Components: Components that are required to be at certain base version level for your site to be LTSR compliant and eligible for the full benefits such as a longer lifecycle and regular cadence of Cumulative Updates containing fixes. Some examples of compliant components are Delivery Controller, VDA, and Citrix Studio etc.
- Compatible Components: Components that you may want to have in your environment to enable capabilities you find compelling; however, it is in your best interest to keep these components more up to date. These are components such as AppDNA, Citrix License Server, etc. As for technical details, these components won’t be eligible for LTSR benefits, but you can use them with your LTSR site without impacting the LTSR benefits of your compliant components.
- Notable Exclusions: These are components or features that are just not well suited for the extended lifecycle typically because this is newer technology that we plan on making significant enhancements to over time. This is where Windows 10 fell when we originally launched 7.6 LTSR.
You can learn more about these categories at XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR Base release documentation. When we launched 7.6 LTSR earlier this year, we included 7.6.300 Server and Desktop VDA. The 7.6.300 VDA was the first ever XenDesktop release to support Windows 10 and it was too novel at the time to be added to the LTSR release; therefore, Windows 10 was excluded from the 7.6 LTSR release and added to the Notable Exclusions list
Since then we have continued adding new features and hardened our support for Windows 10 platform through XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 and 7.9 Current Releases. Citrix Provisioning Services 7.7 added Windows 10 support as well. The 7.9 Desktop OS VDAs has new features such as GPU acceleration for DirectX windowed applications and HDX 3D Pro support for Windows 10. These changes along with very positive customer feedback on the 7.9 VDA for Windows 10 has convinced us to add the 7.9 Desktop OS VDA and Provisioning Services 7.9 with Windows 10 support to the list of 7.6 LTSR Compatible Components enabling you to have the best of both worlds – use of Windows 10 VDA with your LTSR site and all the benefits of LTSR.
Windows 10 VDA is now officially moving from 7.6 LTSR Notable Exclusions list to the Compatible Components list as shown below. The minimum recommended VDA version for Windows 10 is 7.9 to ensure the 7.6 LTSR site continues to be compliant. Also, if Provisioning Services is being used in the LTSR site to provision Windows 10 virtual desktops, then we also recommend Provisioning Services version 7.9 at a minimum. The rest of the site needs to be compliant with the rules of the LTSR as defined in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 LTSR Base release documentation.
The 7.9 VDA and Provisioning will not get the full benefits of LTSR such as the extended lifecycle of 7.6 LTSR release and regular cadence of cumulative updates. The lifecycle of 7.9 will follow the lifecycle policy of 7.x Current release and the code level maintenance will be on Current release branch. The End of Life date for 7.x Current release is 30th June, 2018. This policy is similar to other compatible components. So in terms of fix delivery, the fixes for the 7.9 VDA and PVS will be provided on a Current Release branch. Again, this is ONLY for Windows 10 VDA use case. The fixes for rest of the LTSR compliant components will be available through LTSR Cumulative Updates.
Finally, we want to note that Citrix is targeting to announce a new LTSR version in 2017 adding full LTSR benefits for the Windows 10 platform. However, this current announcement makes it easier for you to jump on Windows 10 desktop virtualization today while still maintaining all the benefits of being LTSR compliant. We will update our LTSR documentation to reflect the above changes. We hope this makes it easier for you to adopt Windows 10 within your LTSR environments.