If you are following Citrix closely, you may have noticed that since Q4 2015, we have released a new version of XenApp and XenDesktop every quarter. These releases are what we call a Current Releases (CR). Our fast-paced, current release schedule was designed with you, our customers, in mind. Current releases enable us to give you more features and functionality at a rapid pace while maintaining a very high quality set of release criteria. Here are some of the key benefits of a Current Release:
- By upgrading to the latest current release you are both maintaining your site with the latest fixes and enhancing your XenApp or XenDesktop site functionality with the latest features.
- Upgrading from one current release to the next has been radically simplified and we actually recommend you upgrade current releases at least every six months if not more frequently.
- Any issue you report on a new feature is investigated and fixed by the core engineering team. This means that the most knowledgeable engineer, whose core responsibility is to develop that feature, is creating and delivering the associated fix for the next current release.
- The feature list of a quarterly current release is determined based on the high-quality bar for each feature. If we identify late in a release cycle that a feature is not ready, we disable that feature in the current release. One of the big benefits for quarterly current releases has been an improved engineering discipline on product quality. Given that we are releasing every quarter, there is no inherent rush to ship a feature. We have the flexibility to determine if a feature meets our quality standards. If an issue is discovered, we simply move that feature to the next release, which is only a few months away. As an example, Local Host Cache was originally scheduled to ship with XenApp and XenDesktop 7.9. It was pushed out twice as we wanted to ensure it would achieve the necessary standards set by our rigorous scale release criteria. When Local Host Cache shipped in 7.12, it had been optimized to synchronize data from a 6,000-user site in less than 5 minutes, making it worth the wait. We all agree that there is no point in putting a feature in the product that isn’t ready.
Quarterly releases also mean the upgrade process needs to be smooth and flawless. We revamped our development process to ensure the in-place upgrade quality was the highest we could achieve. The system is fully automated and engineers test their changes continuously to avoid introducing regressions. We wrote about this earlier this year.
But I must admit that quarterly releases have created some anxiety with some of our customers, and that may have been because we never shared our release plans in 2016.
To make it easier to anticipate what is coming, I want to share our 2017 XenApp and XenDesktop release plan with you:
We plan to complete our releases in the middle of the quarter. That said, sometimes external forces cause us to move the releases out a few weeks. Therefore it is important to understand that the above schedule is subject to change. In that light, it is the best way we can help you plan for next year. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “When will Citrix release a new long term service release (LTSR)?”
We are pleased to share general guidance that we are targeting a new LTSR in 2017 Q3 to help you better plan your 2017. From the engineering perspective, the next LTSR will follow the same rigorous testing schedule associated with a quarterly current release; at the same time, an LTSR is intended to exclude any new features keeping the release targeted only on fixes.
If you choose to go with an LTSR, your feature set is fixed, as future updates will not include new features. More information and guidance on choosing an current release (CR) or long term service release (LTSR) is available here. We are pleased to share this release information and targeted timelines with you, our customers, and wish you a wonderful 2017.
Juan Rivera Follow @juancitrix
VP Cloud & Server Engineering